By Friday I was feeling quite tired and congested as well. Thankfully the conference was over and I had the weekend back at my host home to recover. Or so I thought. Saturday the family went down to the beach, a 3 hour bus ride, and a change in elevation of about 7500 feet. While riding the bus in Peru is generally not a terribly pleasant experience, this trip was even more memorable. By the time the bus arrived at its final destination, I couldn't hear a blessed thing as my ears were plugged up tight and I was asking people if the ringing in my head bothered them. Thankfully after 8 hours of sleep and and an equal number of trips to the bathroom, I could hear again.
I have to segway here and say that I have learned Peruvians are very helpful. If there is a problem, they don't hesitate offering a solution. So here are some of the solutions that I was given to cure my cold:
Take flu medication.
Suck on candy.
Stick something inside your ear to "pop" your ears and relieve the pressure.
Sleep on the ear that is plugged up the most.
Rub menthol on your chest and feet before you go to bed.
Drink hot tea.
Drink hot water with honey mixed into it.
Take hot showers.
Take cold showers.
Wear a jacket.
Don't get wet when it rains.
Anyways, by Monday I had begun to have headaches during the day and I was talking through my nose as well. Naps in the afternoon did not seem to help and on Wednesday, Advil could not even touch the roaring headache I had. It hurt to put my head below my waist. It felt like someone had a bicycle pump inside of my brain and was attempting to inflate a 10-person life raft in record time. The only thing that helped was keeping a very low profile at home and not moving around a lot. Well, expect for the trips to the john (I was still drinking plenty of water).
Finally 2 beakthroughs. I received an e-mail from one of my supporters who is a nurse and she pointed out the color of a person's phlem can tell a lot. I knew this as I had been quite facinated by the kaleidoscope of colors I had seen emitting from the two holes of my personal FFF (far flem flinging) nose. My nurse friend (thanks Rachel) tipped me off to the idea of a bacterial infection but it was not until Friday morning that fellow SAM missionaries (thanks Tim and Hannah) at language school looked at me and sad quite plainly, You need antibiotics.
Suddenly the light when on and without hesitation we headed out to the pharmacy around the corner. After a 30 second "consultation" with the lady at the counter, she gave me a 5 day supply of antibiotics and a nasal decongestant. The price by the way was $7 total.
After 3 days I can happily say the "little drummer boy" inside my head has quite his double timed beat, and my FFF nose has resumed a somewhat normal production rate that only rivals the GDP of a small 3rd world country instead of the previous 1st world phlem which at its height was adequate for greasing tractor wheel bearings. However, the one constant still remains... retracing my well worn path to the head every few hours due to my continued affinity for water.