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Steroids: Sinners or Saints?

20 December, 2016

Some elite netballers who train hard and long

At 9.55pm Friday night, I was in perfect health – quite stressed as I had finished work that day, had to pack for the holiday, gather the Xmas presents together etc etc. – you know the drill!- but felt physically fine. Come 10pm and  the awareness of a sore throat came rolling in and by morning I knew I was in trouble. We headed off to the beach and by the time the two-hour trip was over, I was incapable of helping Bob in any way to get everything up to the unit. (Now there are times when I’d wished I could feign illness to escape the torturous unloading of the car but I would never actually do it!)

I was moribund on the lounge, sore throat, glands up (Arnold Schwarzenegger like) and felt faint when I stood and attempted to be helpful.

By nightfall as it worsened, Bob suggested Noosa Hospital (probs at 9pm so it wouldn’t end up being 3am) and we fronted there and they were very helpful. Antibiotics, pain killers and a diagnosis of tonsillitis.

Monday arrives – things are worsening despite the antibiotics and it was the third day at the beach and we still hadn’t felt the slippery, white stuff between our toes. So back to the hospital and the magical Dr Ena takes control. She is the Emergency Director at Noosa Hospital and will soon be moving to the new University Hospital at Kawana – good for them, sad loss to Noosa. Blood tests (perfect) swab (“try not to vomit on me Sue”- Sue held it together) and then she orders two lots of IV antibiotics and IV steroids to help me swallow and get the swelling down.

As we said goodbye, even then I could feel the improvement. And here it is 12 hours later and the feeling of a complete turn around is truly spectacular! Now I hope I’m not jinxing this by writing about it (you know never mention the sleeping baby) but in the shower I had this thought – what if I was an elite athlete and out of the blue a couple of days out from the event I’d been training for – like for my whole life – I had an experience like I had – sudden catastrophic tonsillitis?

I mean the elite athlete possibly could have antibiotics but they definitely couldn’t have the steroids. And to me now that I have experienced their true wonder – that seems unfair. Steroids are used and abused. There is no doubt. But for the athlete who has trained his or her butt off for years and years a sudden dramatic illness IS catastrophic. Many have made huge sacrifices in their job, family life and social life for years and years. And to not be able to access the magic of steroids when an illness hits suddenly and ferociously – it seems unfair.

This is the second time in a very short while I have seen the magic of steroids. My gorgeous grandson got very unwell following a midge attack while hosing. Now you wouldn’t expect that midge bites could cause such a reaction but his rash and discomfort got worse and following three emergency department visits and a diagnosis of serum sickness, he finally experienced the magic of steroids. It’s like his rash melted and the swelling went down over just a few hours.

So the moral of this blog?

There are three.

1. It’s amazing how your body carries on until the second you finish work and then collapses.

2. Stress is a major provoker of body ailments and maintaining good control over your stress levels is important to sustaining good health. Examine toxic influences in your life and think about how you can change them.

3. Eat healthily, exercise regularly and safely and sleep well which may well mean less interaction on social media.

I’m going to really work hard on point number 3 for myself.

(Oh and point 4 could be – “Am I eligible for steroids Doc?”)

A rather imposing Santa 

  1. Janet Walter permalink

    Glad to hear you are on the mend Sue.

  2. jacqueline Munera permalink

    I’m curious about what kinds of steroids you received because most athletes want to take anabolic steroids which are different than the corticosteroids used for your type of issue. Although some cyclists and such have been caught using cortisone. Just curious.

    • Yes you are right it was IV dexamethasone – which I’m pretty sure would still be banned. And if it isn’t then that’s brilliant! And I’m talking through my hat 😍

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