I get sore throats pretty often. And I completely lose my voice once or twice a year, fairly consistently. Between leading worship on Sunday mornings and leading worship team practice on Wednesday nights, my vocal cords get a decent workout, so I figure it’s all part of the deal.
But not this time.
No, this time, I’ve become a victim of streptococcal pharyngitis, aka strep throat. I haven’t had this since I was a little kid, but I have it right now.
It started Friday night with a small tickle in my throat. No big deal, probably just need to drink more fluids in this cold, dry weather.
By mid-day on Saturday, my legs were aching, I was freezing cold, and my all of my skin was tender. And my throat was really beginning to hurt, but in a way that I’m not used to. Hot tea wasn’t helping. Lozenges weren’t helping very much. And Aleve wasn’t doing much at all. Oh well, I figured I’d feel better on Sunday.
Boy, was I wrong on that one. I woke up in a panic on Sunday because my throat was worse than ever. It hurt whether I swallowed or not. Doubting that I would be able to lead worship, I began to develop alternate plans in my mind as I packed my family and my gear into my car to get to church by 8:00 (I was late). Truth be told, I was partially hoping that the snow the weathermen were calling for would come early so that it wouldn’t be an issue.
But I got to church and told the team I probably wouldn’t be singing. We were down three people already between travel plans and tax season, so the others, while very forgiving and understanding, were justifiably concerned. We only had time run through one or two songs before the service, so re-arranging the whole service to rely on others’ strengths was out of the question. I decided I’d give it a try, even though my throat was still on fire and my legs felt like they wouldn’t hold me up.
To my astonishment, I could sing. We ran through two songs to warm up, and I made it through both. My pastor slipped me a couple lozenges and I kept sipping hot tea.
Usually our service has the bulk of the music at the beginning, followed by the sermon. Most of time, we’ll follow the sermon with one more song, typically a shortened version of a song we’ve done earlier in the service with just me on the guitar. By that song, my voice was starting to give out.
By Sunday evening, my temperature was well over 100, and I knew there was no way I was going to work on Monday. I wasn’t even going to try. So I emailed my boss and co-workers to let them know what was going on, took a hot bath, and went to bed.
On Monday, I didn’t feel any better. If anything, I felt worse. My fever was coming and going, but my throat was consistently sore. I made it to the doctor’s office to get checked out. The nurse swabbed my throat with that giant Q-Tip thingy and said she’d be back with the strep test results in six minutes. She was back in less than two with a positive result. The doctor put me on penicillin and sent me home.
Since then, I’ve been recoving and resting, but honestly, I still don’t feel that great. My throat is marginally better, and my fever seems to be gone, but I feel completely wiped out. I’m going to try to get to work tomorrow, but I don’t know if I’ll make it or not.
But it could be worse. A good friend of mine had brain surgery today, and another friend has had a really nasty sinus infection for more than two months, so I really shouldn’t complain about strep throat.
And yet I do.