I have strep throat, which means I am on antibiotics. I have not been on antibiotics for five-and-a-half years.
Antibiotics are big in my story, though, probably one of the (many) reasons I value my family so deeply and one of the (many) reasons I have committed so deeply to parental leave and co-sleeping and time off with my wife.
Because I used to be on antibiotics all the time.
Starting in college, I developed chronic sinus infections. Three, four, five, six a year. Year after year. I had a year break once in Croatia. And a nine month break some other time. And I never caught any other illness. Just sinus infections, horrible draining low-level sinus infections. I spent countless hours with my head over steaming pots, wearing hats in the summer, trying any and all folk remedies from Bosnia to Boston.
In January, 2004 – a burned out newspaper reporter in Middletown, New York – I got the worst infection yet. I ended up at heart specialists and had yet more CT scans and ultrasounds.
Then in April, 2004, I moved to Sweden, in my with my then-girlfriend, now wife. I went on antibiotics once in that first month, though I didn’t really need to.
And that was it. No more infections. No more antibiotics. (Though I now get all sorts of sick, unlike before, hit by a Swedish-small children wave of colds, stomach bugs and, now, strep.)
See the pattern?
Home with my parents. No antibiotics.
Single and on my own. Many antibiotics.
Very happily married with kids. No antibiotics.
Think family is good for me?