"On average, I kick back six rounds of antibiotics a year for sinus infections. If you've never had a sinus infection, it feels a lot like being held underwater and hit in the face with a rubber mallet at the same time, while somebody sucks out your life force.
One of the young girls who frequents the library these days is named Melani, and she noticed me snorting and sniffling the other day. "What's wrong with you, profe?" she asked, wrinkling her own nose.
"I've got gripe," I told her. Gripe, which is pronounced GREE-pay, can be applied to just about any mild sickness resembling a cold. It's a lot like the flu in Southern Africa. I didn't feel like explaining the intricacies of sinusitis to a nine year-old, so gripe worked just fine.
"You know what, profe? You should have tilo tea. We've got some at my house, you can come by and get it tonight. You put this much in water once it's boiling, let it sit, and it will cure you fast." At this, I asked Melani if she had ever considered being a doctor. Her eyes lit up, and she told me "Yes, profe! Since I was little!"
Melani and I spent the next thirty minutes in the health and wellness section of the library, she trying to explain pictures of hernias and scabies to me, I trying my best to be encouraging without actually having to look closely at any of them. Kind of reminded me of watching Animal Planet with my sister Minette growing up.
The tilo tea, which consisted of boiled flowers Melani pulled off of a bush in her front garden as she tried to set me up on a date with her shy older sister, didn't quite do the trick. I'm hoping the second round of antibiotics I got from a Chile-trained ENT in Quito will. Melani was disappointed that the tea didn't work, but agreed that antibiotics were a good next step.