Privilege Blog

Do Mysterious Baltic Organisms Cause Sore Throats, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:36am

You all have asked me, “Are you glad to be home?” And the answer is, yes. Not glad to be done with vacationing in the Stockholm Archipelago. That was addictive, and one twitches a little on backing off from addiction. But certainly happy in my little ranch house, with the fading family fortune, a Pottery Barn sofa and my wildly growing herb garden. Happy with the little set of rituals I live by. I think almost everyone is glad to be home, when it happens. True home.

The only thing is that I have had a terrible sore throat. So bad I couldn’t even drink tea. I don’t do well in the absence of tea. I went to the doctor, twice, to make sure it wasn’t strep. High WASPs with a New England mother do not like to go to the doctor ever, much less twice in one week. It implies that we do not know how to Buck Up and Get On With Our Responsibilities.

But it wasn’t strep. At which point I started to wonder whether a wayward Baltic organism had made its way into my swallowing regions. The doctor looked at me like, “Oh dear god. Not another person who has watched too many episodes of ‘House.'”

He prescribed opiates. He even used the word, “Opiates.” At which point lauren reminded me of the opium trade and I couldn’t go there, even though I take Xanax to fly, but that’s psychology which is an entirely different matter. High WASPs believe in nerve tonics. Emily Dickinson told us they were all right.

Fortunately, after dizzying quantities of ibuprofen (in place of codeine), some chocolate, and a lot of ice water, I’m feeling much better. And feeling better reminds me of the good part of coming home. I think to myself, “Oh, that’s right. It’s a joy to be alive. Oh good.”

I always feel like I’ve gotten away with something unspecified when I recover from illness. You know the glee of a child who gets to stay up late because their parents have a party and everyone drinks too much?

Although I can’t say I’ve really given up on the Baltic organism. Have a wonderful weekend.

29 Responses

  1. Lisa, this might comfort you or it might trouble you: the truth is, this spring and early summer we had some really nasty viruses spreading like crazy. People who usually have 1 cold when winter turns into spring had at least 2. I myself had this terrible throat in June. The doctor gave me an antirheumatic agent which worked!
    So your poor immune system might have been confronted with those nasty viruses. I can't remember a single coworker who did NOT suffer from it in early summer.
    Good to know there are pills that help. You will be fine soon!

  2. Glad you're feeling better. But no, probably not a Baltic organism. My husband spoke at a conference in Greece a couple of weeks ago (sadly, I was unable to accompany him) and came home with symptoms much like yours…which were eventually transferred to me. I suspect he probably caught it on the return flight.

    Opiates…evokes visions of Elizabeth Barrett Browning languishing on the sofa with a bottle of laudanum…it must be a gift to feel something like glee at recovery; I'm afraid I only feel irritation at the lost time and concentration.

  3. Glad you're better. The sore throat seems a bit long after all that air travel but I would have blamed it on having been on a plane.

  4. My sympathy for the sore throat. The worst part is being constantly aware of it. Glad you are on the mend, and welcome back.

  5. I think you picked it up on the plane…
    Almost every time my sister flew..(she is incredibly fit and healthy) she picked something up from the recycled air on board. After arriving at exotic locales "under the weather" she decided to nip it in the bud as it were…
    Now she uses saline nasal spray and has lozenges of zinc and vitamin C…and her last trips have been healthy.

    Sorry to hear that you are ill…that's miserable stuff to bear.
    Hope that you are well and healed asap.

  6. Hope you continue to feel better at an accelerating pace. Sore throats are the worst, especially when you can't sleep or swallow.

  7. Too sore to drink tea? That seems doubly punishing or unfair or something. Tea is what makes me feel better when my throat is sore (well, actually, I count on tea to make me feel better in almost any situation) — being denied it would make me very tempted by the opiates, I must say . . .
    Glad to hear you're on the mend. May that continue.

  8. I also think that you got your sore throat during the long flight. Didn´t the doctor hint anything in that direction? Well, glad to hear that the worst is past. Enjoy the chocolate!

  9. I sometimes think of the truth in "home is where I want to be, but I guess I'm already there". It's good to go and come back.

    PS: try fudge

  10. Terribly sorry about your sore throat, but so glad your delightful sense of humor is perfectly fine!

  11. Welcome home,Are you sure it wasn't all the talk on twitter about the wine and pancakes. :)

    you were following that thread a …Little too close. :)

    Always Bumby

  12. I always enjoy getting home. I have a ritual before I travel of cleaning the house, making sure all things are in order, clean sheets. So when I walk in the door there is nothing to do except unpack and launder traveling clothes. I think it's wonderful to love "home". I have a friend who hates to be home. She travels like a nomad. Not for me.

    Glad you are feeling chipper again. I'm sure it's from those hours on the plane. Can't even think about all that "common" air on a plane ;-) xoxo

  13. I am laughing that opiates were prescribed (is it 1893 or something?) but sending wishes of a fast recovery your way!



  14. hi lpc,

    your little ranch, pottery barn sofa, herb garden – sounds like a slice of heaven to me. i didn't even notice the dwindling fortune.
    feel better soon.


  15. There isn't anything quite like returning home to one's bed and belongings, regardless of the journey. Complete with creepy organisms; we're just pleased you are better.

    Sending you a smile,

  16. I don't think it was the ibuprofen that helped, but the chocolate! Did you not know it has the most wondrous medicinal qualities??!! Your little ranch sounds like perfection to me!

  17. I think you probably got the sore throat from the long plane ride. Airplanes are like petrie dishes where bacteria and viruses multiply.

    Glad you're feeling better. Hope you can drink tea again soon.

  18. I'm really surprised his perscribing opiates for a sore throat. Honey usually does the trick for any sore throat I may succumb to. Opiates, on the other hand, have their place …just different circumstances.

  19. My (not super serious) sore throat remedy is hot, salt water gargling every couple of hours, and eating as much pineapple (a natural anti-inflamm/anti-bacterial) as I can stomach. Usually does the trick.

  20. By not super serious, I mean, not life-threatening evil tonsils, but the remedy is super serious. Super serious.

  21. Glad you are feeling better. Love your blog. My Brother is a Princeton Alum too.

  22. Ooh, hope you're feeling better, LPC. The trip looked incredible. I'd take a Baltic organism or too for that yacht trip!

  23. Paula – Actually that's very comforting. As long as it is just a garden variety virus, I'm fine.

    Staircase – Flights are almost always the cause, or airports. How annoying to catch something when you couldn't even do the the travel.

    Rose – I guess I like fanciful explanations:).

    Julia – Thank you.

    Hostess – If I traveled more I believe I would follow your sister's regimen.

    Deja – Thank you.

  24. Mater – I know! The doctor told me not to drink anything hot…

    Mette – I didn't ask him to speculate how I caught it, except the Baltic organism.

    Mise – David Byrne is one of my absolute favorites.

    Town – Thank you! But laughing hurt!

    Bumby – Yeah, well…

    Preppy 101 – I like to do that too, when I have time.

  25. Sorry to hear about your throat. I have a friend who leads tours to China. He swears by drinking TONS of water during the flight and washing his hands OFTEN. He says he is rarely sick. What about some warm tea with lemon and honey for a sore throat?

  26. A little frozen yogurt can be quite lovely on a sore throat. If one's not lactose intolerant of course. So glad your back and feeling better. xo,jools

  27. QBS – I know. It didn't occur to me how odd the wording was until I had left his ofice.

    Janet – THank you very much.

    TPP – Thank you. I will try to keep the organisms on this coast.

    EM – The chocolate certainly didn't hurt…

    Caroline – Yes. I agree.

    Jill – Who knows? Perhaps he thought I needed some artistic inspiration?

  28. Academic Hopeful – Pineapple? I had no idea. How wonderful. I will have to try that.

    Her Preppiness – Yes, I remember that about your brother. What year? I was 78.

    Kate – I don't regret the trip one bit, organisms be damned…

    Lindy – I used a lot of Purell, but maybe I didn't drink enough water:(.

    Anon – Frozen yogurt. Now that's a nice thought. Thank you.

Comments are closed.