medications and probiotic

Antibiotics, My Microbiome and Me

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I’m sick. Ugh. Like, more than a spring cold in Michigan sick, this is the full-on “knock you sideways for a while” kind of sickness. I mentioned in one of my recent posts “The Perils of Illness and Travel” that I was fighting something. It turned into a full-scale war – and I have to admit, the illness has won the first few battles.

being sick
The obligatory “Do I have pneumonia?” selfie.

I have this theory about flying when you are sick. I feel like the altitude changes you experience in a plane push all the germs and junk into your nooks and crannies and make the illnesses 10 times as bad. It certainly feels that way. I had called my doctors – both of them – from the road, though neither answered my messages. Then we hit the weekend and I knew wasn’t going to hear anything over Saturday or Sunday. When Monday rolled around, and I left even more messages without return calls, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands – and it was off to the Urgent Care for me.

I was pretty sure I had some kind of bronchitis thing. I’m also an asthmatic, so having lungs full of goop is less than pleasant. My doctor at the UC was considerably concerned. She awarded me the “junkiest lungs I’ve heard in awhile” award. So, there is that. After checking me out they rushed me over to the X-Ray lab to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia. Yeah, that’s how bad it was.

I have to quickly say: shout out to the Mercy Health Urgent Care folks. Those people were great! They were kind, efficient and took care of business. I really appreciated their help.

medications and probiotic
This is only a part of my “get back to normal” arsenal.

So, the good news is, I don’t have pneumonia. But I do have a pretty nasty sinus infection, that honestly, I hadn’t really noticed. (I chalked my slightly runny nose and headache up to spring allergies.) I had been completely focused on the cough. But the infection has drained into my lungs (lovely, right?) and that is setting my asthma off like a rocket. It’s my asthma that is giving me a cough (and the goop in my lungs) and it’s making it super hard to breathe. So, my oxygen levels are low and I’m really tired. To get things back to normal-ish, they gave me a breathing treatment. I haven’t had one of those since I was a wee little one. Then they gave me a couple of prescriptions and sent me on my way.

By that time, whatever residual energy levels I had were spent. All I wanted to do was lay down. God bless my friend Misty. We had been texting, and she ran and got my prescriptions, brought them to me and walked my dog for me. Now, that is a good friend! (And Duncan loves her.)

kombucha tea
Locally brewed kombucha. Cultured Ferments makes an “Apple Pie Chai” flavor that is great!

When giving me the prescription, the doctor also strongly suggested I get a probiotic. Apparently, the one they gave me was a pretty heavy duty antibiotic. While it works well at killing off the bad bugs, it also gets the good ones. Diarrhea and nausea are frequent side effects that can be mitigated to a degree with a probiotic. (Misty, the Angel of Mercy that she was, picked a probiotic up for me too.)

I got to admit, this made me a bit sad. I’ve been working so hard on feeding my little microbiome dudes! But what are you going to do? I have to get well.

As for my microbiome, I got proactive on my probiotic.

probiotic yogurt
This stuff is sooooooo good. It’s definitely got a tang. I like it with fruit or as a dip with veggies.

The OTC probiotic Misty got me is fine for the basics, but I’ve been doing enough reading to know that your microbiome is unique to you. It is created when you are born, and parts of it are descended from your ancestry. In addition, it is different depending on your location, what foods you eat, your environment, and so on. I had a decent general probiotic in me, but I wanted to get some of my local bug buddies. As soon as I felt well enough, I headed over to my local farm store, Rakowski Farms, for all the fermented goodness.

I got some fantastic local yogurt that I love, some kombucha (although the Cultured Ferments photographed above I had bought elsewhere,) local pickles, and some sauerkraut. Not all of it is super local, but it is all from Michigan. I have asked my Old Man to make me some of his great homemade kraut, which I love. That will be perfect. But what I bought will do until his is fermented and ready to go.

tart cherries and blueberries
Michigan goodness – blueberries and tart cherries from Omena.

In addition to the yogurt, I grabbed some blueberries (high in Vitamin C and fiber) and some canned tart cherries. Tart cherries are supposed to be good at reducing inflammation, which based on how my body has been aching, I have. I am sure fresh tart cherries are better than canned, but this is March in Michigan, I will take what I can find. Throw these in with the yogurt and a little drizzle of Michigan maple syrup, you have an amazingly great breakfast that feeds your gut.

I am all for allopathic medicine. We need doctors and medicines and antibiotics. I wasn’t curing this thing on my own, that’s for sure. But I also believe that we can help our body stay healthy and return to its normal state after sickness by helping it with a good, thoughtful diet.


  1. So glad you don’t have pneumonia. I met Misty the other day at Crossfit. She told me the two of you were friends.

  2. Sounds like you are making some very smart choices to get your gut healthy. That bad chest could end up being life changing. Hope you feel better soon!

    1. Oh! Thank you so much! Me too. This being sick thing is for the birds! I am over it already. But, as you say – hopefully there is a silver (gut) lining in all of this! 😀

  3. So sorry to hear you had such a struggle….sounds like you are taking smart and good care of yourself! I had a nasty sinus infection that lasted 2 months!!!! (December through Jan) miserable!!! Lucky for me, it didn’t settle in my lungs! Get well, my friend!

    1. I feel like everything is lasting so much longer these days. Remeber when a cold lasted 3-5 days and if you were hit *really* hard it would last maybe a week? Ugh. Glad to hear you are feeling better!

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