The words “kidney infection” instantly conjures imagery of opulence and luxury; mounds of truffled caviar and matsutake served on platinum trays by statuesque gentlemen wearing only bow ties and white gloves. Don’t be fooled by what Hollywood tells you, though – all those TV shows and movies glamorizing the kidney infection, making it seem romantic and desirable – it’s all a lie cooked up by Corporate America to sell Taylor Swift CDs and Summer’s Eve “feminine wash”. I’m here to introduce you to the cold, hard truth: kidney infections suck. They suck a whole lot. Yeah, sure, I was excited when I heard the diagnosis: a kidney infection! It’s like getting the consumption, but in my kidneys! I’ll get to do a big musical number, and Ewan McGregor will feel really bad for slut shaming me before declaring his love in anachronistic song. AWESOME! Let’s go!
Reality is never as pretty as the glossy media take on “reality”, and this kidney infection is no different. Since the diagnosis on Tuesday, I’ve had very little to feel pretty about: I’m sore, cranky, uncomfortable, and not a single big group dance number has broken out anywhere near me. I keep reading up on symptoms and side effects, but my search has taken me to some dark, uninformed corners of the internet – there doesn’t seem to be any one source of definite answers, so I’ve taken to filing every single new and interesting body hiccup as being caused by my stupid kidneys. Some of these go back several weeks – I thought they were part of the London Stomach Flu or even the nasty cold/flu thing I had last week, but it’s likely that my kidneys have been rotting for some time now and all these weird things aren’t just hauntings of my humours but signs I should have picked up on before I found myself in the ER.
A lot of what I’m experiencing makes sense, even if it’s no fun – pain, for example. Infected organs hurt, and while I was told to take Advil to dull the pain, my repeated accidental ibuprofen overdoses likely had the opposite effect on my insides (I learned too late that 3 x 400mg = 1200mg, not the 600mg I was supposed to take). The medication I’m on is introducing my urine to fabulous new forms of self expression; every trip to the bathroom is a surprise and delight. My insides make much more noise than normal, which is awkward at times. I’m a little sensitive to sunlight at the moment, so I can’t enjoy the the gorgeous fall days as robustly as I might like. All of these are annoying, but I can live with them easily enough – in fact, I’d sign up for an extended tour of duty of strange pee and noisy tummy times if only I could make the single worst kidney infection bonus gift go the fuck away:
My mouth is gross.
I have got a perpetual horrible taste in my mouth, and it will. Not. Go. Away. I am terrified to have conversations with people in close quarters for fear that my breath is as bad as the taste in my mouth; so terrible are the conditions in the dank face cave I call a word hole. This is apparently an uncommon side effect of a kidney infection, and had I not known about my ongoing kidney fun, would have been a drastic indicator that I required immediate medical attention .. but as it stands, everything is just disgusting. I don’t know how to make it stop. Nothing I do makes the taste go away – no amount of water or Diet Coke; no extended bouts with my toothbrush or mouthwash. It’s starting to worry me in addition to completely grossing me out: everything tastes awful! I am sad in my mouth hole! I’m afraid I smell bad and people are tutting me behind my back! I hate this kidney infection. I’ve basically had Something Wrong since my second week in London, and I’m pretty fed up with it all. I miss things that taste good, and not being utterly horrified at the state of emergency in my mouth.
How do I make this stop? I have more than week’s worth of antibiotics to take, but if this yuck continues much longer I may just go mad from rage and gross times. Help! My jaw is tired from chewing gum!