Epiglottitis and swallowing problems

Therese

Well-known member
Hi All,

I would like to ask some advice from those of you experienced in medical astrology.

I was diagnosed with epiglottitis on 6th January. I'll skip the details unless you think they are useful. It was tough and quite scary, but we managed to avoid the intensive care unit and intubation with the help of my husband who was with me 24/7.

By 17th January, I could breathe almost normally, and even swallow liquids, but I still couldn't have normal food, so I went for a checkup, where I was told that my epiglottis was healed but I had a major tonsillitis, it would pass.

By 4th February, a month has passed since it all started, and I'm still on liquids only. My doctor thinks I might have suffered a mini stroke or maybe it's a problem with muscle tone. He seems to be at a loss.

I will have to have a brain scan (MRI), but the waiting list is at least a month long, and until then, I'm told to take aspirin. A month is a long time. There are days when even after drinking water, I feel like something is stuck in my throat and I will choke on it any moment. I try to keep calm when that happens and ride it out, but it consumes so much energy, and I am getting totally exhausted.

Please let me know if you'd like to see any other charts (solar return, secondary progressions, anything).

Thank you,

T.
 

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waybread

Well-known member
Therese, I am sorry that you are going through this.

Did your family doctor refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist? (otorhinolaryngologist)

Unfortunately I don't have the answers, but a couple of observations. The second house rules the throat, with the 6th house indicating your overall health; and your first house and the sun, your overall vitality.

Your 6th house is ruled by Saturn, which appears in the 2nd house. The moon rules liquids and foods of various sorts, so one interpretation of moon-Saturn would be restrictions (Saturn) regarding liquids and foods if they get triggered by a difficult transit like the transiting moon in opposition (check out also solar arcs.)

A good chart to post would be for the onset of severe symptoms.

Do you know what caused your epiglottitis? Infection or injury? They would show up differently.

I hope you are taking some liquid vitamins and able to handle a protein shake.
 

Therese

Well-known member
hi Waybread,

I've never tried protein shakes, I guess it's time I did.

The epiglottitis was caused by a bacterial infection, I was given some heavy weight antibiotics (Levofloxacin) and steroids.

It's difficult to pick an "onset" because it happened fast, but in waves or episodes. At first, on 4 January, I think, right after lunch, I felt tightness in my throat and had some problem swallowing and I was short of breath, which was unusual but lasted only a few minutes so I didn't make much of it. But it came back in the evening, and lasted a bit longer, which got me worried but not scared (yet). But anyway, I thought it best to see the doctor the day after, who said my tonsils were not swollen, but my thyroids were, so maybe I had a mild viral infection and he sent me home with some aspirin. He told me to go back if it got worse, and it did that night (can't tell the time), and it was scary.

By the time I went back to the doctor the next day, I was a total mess, I had a fever, could not swallow (I was drooling), and had to stand or sit straight or slightly bend forward, otherwise my throat "closed" and I could not breathe (during the next few days, I needed to be propped up in the armchair to be able to have a few hours' sleep).

so not sure what to pick as an onset chart.

thank you,

T.


ps: yes, I was seen by an ENT specialist.
 

waybread

Well-known member
Hi, Therese-- traditional medical astrology uses an event chart (decumbiture chart) which was cast for the moment the patient "took to his bed." In today's terms, I think we would use the moment when the patient recognized that there was a serious problem.
https://www.skyscript.co.uk/decumbiture1.html

Decumbiture charts are often read independently, but I think if you could post one as an independent chart and one as natal chart with transits, that would be helpful. I realize that fixing the time is problematical, but I think the chart will either be radical (have interpretive value) or it won't.

Were you checked out for any other growth or obstruction in your trachea or esophagus, such as polyps? I ask because Saturn rules obstructions, and it's in your second house which rules the neck.
 

Therese

Well-known member
hi Waybread,

No, the ENT specialist didn't look for anything else, he only checked the epiglottis. But I've had a fever again since yesterday, so I will try and get my family doctor to send me back for another checkup. (It's not very easy atm, France has lost about 20% of its health professionals over the last year (bad political decisions), so the waiting lists are becoming longer and longer everywhere.)

Thank you for the article, I will need some time with it.

Maybe I should choose 6 January 14:45 for the decumbiture chart, that's when I was ready to call an ambulance if we hadn't been able to get through to my doctor's office. (unless I pick the first call to the doctor, the day before, but at the time I didn't think it was really serious).

thanks,

T.
 

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waybread

Well-known member
Therese, thanks. Just a few more questions as I try to get my head around your epiglottis.

Did you have a throat scope (laryngoscopy,) blood test, Xray or CT scan? Anti-biotics?

Any lingering health conditions or a compromised immune system that might have made you especially susceptible to bacteria? Any medications with side effects similar to your symptoms?

Did you travel outside your country prior to the onset of your symptoms?

Please PM me if you prefer, but otherwise I hope that by staying with the public thread, you will get more helpful replies.
 
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waybread

Well-known member
Therese, I need to stress that I have no medical credentials. Whatever I might see in your horoscopes, posts, and on-line medical information are only by way of suggesting points that you might discuss with your doctor/s.

One thing I'm noticing with your event chart is that your natal 6th house of health is loaded with transits, and, in the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, there is a big Saturn involvement. Natally and in your event chart, Mercury rules the second house of the neck/throat.

Back in a bit.
 

Therese

Well-known member
Hi Waybread,

I haven't travelled outside France for years, and I don't have any chronic conditions (that I know of), so I am not on any kind of medication.

It was my family doctor who diagnosed the epiglottitis, the specialist came later. He sent me home with a prescription for steroids and these very strong, restricted use antibiotics (now I cannot do physical activity for half a year after having taken them for a week), wrote EPIGLOTTITIS on the prescription... He told me to immediately call the ambulance at the first sign that it was getting worse and read out "epiglottitis" to them. He also said that if I don't notice significant improvement with the meds in 2 days, I should go directly to the ER and tell them the same, and that they will probably have to do "an intervention" (when we got home, we found out that if you had symptoms like I did, they intubate right away, so as not to provoke respiratory disress and/or lose time with examinations - "better safe than sorry"). So we didn't go to the ER after two days, but waited it out, and I was better on the fourth day.

I've had lots of throat problems as a child and adolescent (tonsillitis, laryngits, vocal cord inflammation, strep throat, quinsy, throat ulcers), then I "grew out of it". But I've never had anything like this.

When the worst was over, about a week later, the ENT specialist looked into my throat with his mirror, he said he did this to decide whether to do anything more invasive. And then he said there was no need for any other examination, his view was clear and the epiglottis was fine now and I only had some tonsillitis left. He gave me some aspirin and sent me home.

That was almost a month ago. And for a while, I was getting better, could have some puree every now and then. But now my swallowing is getting worse again and I am back to liquids. And my family doctor seems to consider the throat issue closed, so he's moving on to "possible stroke" and brain scan. We asked for another ENT appointment, and the earliest we could get was 7 march.

Thank you,

T.
 

waybread

Well-known member
Therese, I am sorry you had to go through all of this.

Keeping in mind that I am not a medical specialist or a professional astrologer, the best I can do is a little chart interpretation and the recommendation that you put any questions I raise to your doctors....

I hope if you have another episode of breathing problems you will go to the hospital right away and let them know about your epiglottitis. The discomfort of intubation seems a reasonable price to pay for survival.

I think the natal chart can show a predisposition to difficulties in some area/s of your body. For issues involving the neck, we might start with the second house and Taurus. I was struck by your recollections of a lot of previous throat problems. Saturn rules your 6th house of illness. You have an undignified Saturn in your second house. It conjuncts your moon.

Saturn rules hard tissues like cartilage, bones, and ligaments, which would include the epiglottis.

You have Chiron, the planetoid that shows us "where it hurts" intercepted in Taurus

I am not a big fan of over-psychologizing a horoscope, except to say that there is an important school of medical astrology that sees the moon as a kind of portal into one's health. Because the moon rules the emotions and subconscious, there is the possibility that emotional stressors or a tough relationship with one's mother have triggered a physical response.

With moon together with Saturn in the second house, and Chiron in the 10th house of one's mother, it is worth considering whether your throat problems relate to emotional (moon) stress, possibly relating to feeling emotionally "smothered," or being pressured to eat food you didn't want, as a child. The theory is that if one can release emotional blockages, this should help with reduction of the physical symptoms. If this theory seems to resonate with you, a clinical psychologist may be helpful.

Then there is inflammation, ruled by Mars. Your natal Mars may be a bit wide and out-of-sign for an aspect to the moon, but your moon conjuncts Venus (ruler of Taurus) and Mercury (ruler of breathing.) Mars is extra strong in its own sign of Scorpio, but Venus is in detriment and Mercury has no essential dignity. So the throat infections you suffered over the years seem consistent with Mars (inflammation) beating up on Venus (throat) and Mercury (breathing and ruler of your second house.)

Then Neptune rules illnesses that are hard to diagnose, drugs, and bacteria. Which covers a lot, but....

On January 6, the transiting moon in the 8th house opposed your moon-Saturn, hitting their midpoint almost exactly. I don't mean to be alarmist, but I think you were very lucky to get through this period without intubation. Transiting Mars (inflammation) conjuncted your natal Neptune. Your 6th house of health was loaded with transiting planets, including Venus (throat) and Mercury (breathing.)

Mars is one of the rulers of doctors. With transiting Mars conjunct Neptune, your doctor may well have been mystified about the cause of your symptoms.

You mentioned the possibility of having had a mini-stroke. A stroke can cause difficulty in swallowing.

Diane Cramer (Dictionary of Medical Astrology) lists a dozen combinations associated with stroke. One is Saturn afflicting the Ascendant, which happened on January 6, with the close Saturn opposition to your ascendant. On January 6, the near midpoint of transiting moon and Jupiter closely opposed your moon (with the opposite midpoint conjunct it.)

Jupiter can be implicated in strokes because it is one of the rulers of the blood as well as cholesterol. As you know, strokes can be brought on by hardening of the arteries, a condition that builds up over time; astrologically with a Jupiter-Saturn connection. (Cf. Jupiter recently out of a long sojourn in Saturn-ruled Capricorn and Aquarius.)

My husband had an ischemic stroke last May, related to cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels leading to the cerebellum.

So getting a scan seems like a good idea.

And please learn about stroke symptoms if you have not done so already, as it is vitally important that a stroke be treated as quickly as possible.

Just one little nagging thought that isn't strongly indicated by your charts so far as I can make out, is whether you might have scarring in your throat from all of your earlier disorders.

Therese, please stay in touch, and do let us know what happens.
 
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Frisiangal

Well-known member
Hi Therese,
I look at medical astrology through another approach than physical complaints which one wants to see over as quickly as possible. The system through which I was taught is holistic of nature and implies that when spirit, feeling or mentality are ill at ease it can develop into a physical symptom through the body. Each sign and planet has rulership over specific parts of the body, so there is a sort of 'starting point' at which to look. Then natal and/or transiting aspects take over.

I am looking at the diagnosis chart, yet the onset of the bacterial infection would have been a few days earlier.
Bacterial infections and the rise in temps./ fevers that follow are influenced by Mars. Mars rules one's active assertivity and energy. If you look at the chart, you will see that transiting Mars has reached natal Neptune, a planet that adversely leaves one open to attack from outer 'a;ien' sources. Neptune rules the 9th house of 'physical health' rather than ' sickness'. Mars rules 10th house. Profession, yet also one's role in society, one's outer reputation, one's position/status in the world.
A first thought would be where were you and what was occuring in the days before the infection showed physical symptoms?

The epiglottis falls under the area of the neck and throat, ruled by Taurus and
functions through Venus (a reason for your throat issues of the past, too). The natal chart shows Venus abides in Scorpio and is conjunct Mars. Two sides of character that can be antagonistic; the one wanting commitment, the other desiring freeedom. Love versus lust also play their role between them. Although neither are associated with the house realms of life that apply to physical complaints, tr. Venus had been in the 6th house for a few weeks and had actually 'stopped short' in an aspect to natal Mars.
At the same time tr. Saturn, ruler 6th house of employment/physical complaints, was in a stress situation with its natal position in Virgo in the 2nd house (values, finances). Saturn is strongly associated with restrictions, limitations, blockages.
Mercury represents 'how we think' and is strongly attached to our communication abilities. As ruler of Gemini it has associations with the respiratory system; i.e. breathing. Gemini is on 11th house cusp of
open friendships. Yet it is in Scorpio ...not so open?

It is intriguing that Mercury, Venus and Mars form a close association in Scorpio. More might be kept unsaid than is ever outwardly spoken. Saturn in Virgo would want to give structure to Virgo's beady eye that sees all, yet may keep it inside. Mercury also rules Virgo!

Do you not find it coincidental that your epiglottis complaint 'fits' astro. symbolism for the current period? I might well ask, 'what is so stifling, sticking in, and blocking your throat, that you do not, or are fearful of mentally expressing? Could it be something will affect the Taurean physical versus emotional security that appears to be difficult to achieve for you? Something that can create an 'emotional' swelling.

You are approaching and will soon be experiencing the Uranus opposition, the astrological term for what is known as the mid-life crisis. Many things that have been accepted as 'normal' for so long are in need of a change of direction that will fit the future.

Perhaps you can read something here that would offer an explanation.... other than medical ... for your physical complaint, that may be in a position, through spirit, mind, and/or feeling, to actively do something about it?

Good luck to you.
 
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Therese

Well-known member
Hi Waybread,

Thank you for your replies.

Theoretically, there is very little chance that the epiglottitis comes back, it's quite rare a condition so its recurrence is even more rare. I think whatever is going on now, could probably be some kind of after-effect or something that I had at the same time but went unnoticed. But I'm just guessing.

Unfortunately there is nothing I can discuss with my doctors, I won't see the ENT specialist for a month, and my family doctor didn't take kindly to being contacted for another ENT referral when he had already decided that chapter was closed and I should just be waiting patiently for a month for my MRI. I am not saying he's wrong about it (how could I tell?), but there can be several factors at play at the same time. I have been hungry and sleep deprived and in constant discomfort for more than a month already, so I think it's understandable that I would like to try anything I can.

Intubation is more than discomfort. They don't only insert the tube, they also tie you down with wrist restraints to prevent self-extubation (out of confusion, panic, etc). About a third of intubated patients develop PTSD that takes them years to overcome, even if they have no history of serious psychological trauma. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/nightmares-after-the-i-c-u/

"What is it like to lose one’s voice, to lay flat on one’s back, and be unable to communicate needs? Consider that the patient’s hands are tied to her sides, and she is unable to speak due to the presence of the tube in her mouth. She cannot write notes or call for assistance. She is constantly exposed to the hissing sound of the ventilator and sounds from alarms on IV pumps, cardiac monitors, and ventilators. The suction catheter threaded through the endotracheal tube stimulates cough and gag reflexes, and leaves her gasping for air at times." https://www.medleague.com/knowledge-base/intubation-a-lesson-in-helplessness-pain-and-suffering/
I don't want to go into details, but because of my personal history, I would not be able to cope with being intubated.

thanks again, I will of course stay in touch and let you know how things go.

T.
 

Therese

Well-known member
hi Frisiangal,

thanks for your reply.

As far as I can tell, I didn't do anything or gone anywhere special the days before the onset. They were average weekdays. It was the first week of January, so back to normal routine after the holidays.

It's true that I am very much of an introvert. It's not always easy to decide what is absolutely essential to be communicated. I mean, people have their own lives, their own thoughts and feelings to deal with. I often don't consider it necessary to add my own, unless we are close, or it's something important or my intuition tells me to.

I cannot answer your question at the moment, and I don't know what to say about the coming Uranus opposition, I guess we will see. I know that there are people who transition gently from one thing to another, but I am more prone to sudden and radical transformations that tend to surprize even myself. I mean all kinds of change, from shifts of perspective through changing careers to moving to a different country half across the continent (I've done all those things and more).

thanks,

T.
 

waybread

Well-known member
Therese, I get that intubation is a pretty horrible procedure. On the other hand, if the patient is in danger of dying from lack of oxygen, it probably beats that alternative.

I hope you have a relatively trouble-free month and get some answers with your next procedures.
 

Therese

Well-known member
Hi Waybread and Frisiangal,

I promised an update.

To cut it short, because I had a fever almost ever day, my GP decided to drop the brain MRI and go for a neck and chest CT instead, the appointment was on Friday, 11 March. We are still waiting for the radiologist's report.

Just before the CT scan, I had a nasty misadventure with the ENT specialist at the local hospital. He got rid of me in two minutes, didn't even use a mirror to look into my throat and told me I had nothing, and women worry too much anyway. But he still prescribed 3 meds off the top of his head "just in case", he said it could be a yeast infection or maybe acid reflux (never had reflux problems so far). The drugs made me so ill that I had to visit my GP who was horrified by what I was given, he said they were brutal stuff, and all in the highest dose. I had to drop them immediately and it took me more than a week to get better with meds from my GP that counteracted the adverse effects of the ENT doc's drugs.

My GP got as frustrated as we were and got me a consultation at a clinic in a city nearby. That was yesterday. This time I got a fibroscopy, and the new doc told me I had lingual tonsil hypertrophy, I was given medication for two weeks and we will see what happens. In the meantime, she officially requested my CT scans with the report of the radiologist. We will see. Atm, I feel the same as a month ago, can only eat liquids, etc.

Thanks,

Therese
 

waybread

Well-known member
Therese, thanks for the updates. I'm sorry you are still suffering from this condition.

Are you able to eat ice cream or frozen yogurt? (or non-dairy versions?)

Is there a patient advocacy group near where you live? The ENT specialist should face a formal complaint procedure, IMO.
 

Therese

Well-known member
hi Waybread,

I can only eat lukewarm stuff, I don't react well to either cold or hot.

I would not have enough to file a complaint against the ENT doc, anyone can have an adverse reaction to drugs, I would bear the burden of proof that he didn't examine me properly, and/or that he actually said it himself that it was off the top of his head and not prompted by my state/symptoms at the time. it would be his word against mine.

Also, I cannot prove that the lingual tonsil hypertrophy was there when I went to see him more than 2 weeks ago, etc. And it would have very bad consequences for me, because people don't usually care about details, I would just be red flagged as a troublemaker, it would be impossible to get an appointment with any specialist in town. I know somebody to whom this happened, and nobody cared that she was right. It was a different town, a different country, but it does not matter. I've moved around quite a bit, and no matter how big a city is, there are certain communities that are always tightly knit and close ranks, medical circles are among them, and news travel fast.

thanks,

Therese
 
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