Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Saved from a Peritonsillar Abscess


I came down with an unrelenting sore throat about 15-20 years ago. For years I have tried to be discreet in prescribing antibiotics in most of my patients, for fear of causing resistance in bacteria to the antibiotics. I did for me what I did for most of my patients, which was to avoid the antibiotics. However, after a week the sore throat was getting worse, it was starting to keep me from opening my mouth normally and I was running a fever. I called my friend, an ears, nose and throat doctor who practiced at our local clinic with me. 

He squeezed me into his schedule and took a look at my throat. I noted his eyes got a little wide and then he got up and left the room, returning with a large syringe attached to a big bore needle. It was so quick I didn’t have time to resist and he placed that huge needle into my throat, stabbed the left tonsil, and came back with a syringe full of brown liquid. He smiled and said, “You have a peritonsillar abscess.” 

I had pain localized to the left side of my throat which was made worse with swallowing and which was suspicious for peritonsillar abscess. Other symptoms that could indicate such a diagnosis include swollen tonsil or tonsils, uvular deviation away from the abscess, a mouth that doesn’t open fully, purulence of one or both tonsils, drooling, swollen neck-lymph nodes and finally, a muffled voice.  

Usually there are two organisms growing which makes this condition a double threat. If the infection is allowed to spread, the invasion of many layers of neck tissue can occur which leads to a progressive extension of the infection into deep tissue and possibly a dismal death. The infection can also spread to the other tonsil, which, when swollen and pushed up against the opposite swollen tonsil, can block air flow and cause death from suffocation. 

My doctor immediately sent me down to an infusion room and started the daily intravenous dose of an antibiotic that would be repeated daily for a week. This was not the first time or the last that antibiotics saved my life. Following this experience, I looked much more carefully at every patient with a sore throat, and, although I was still careful about over-prescribing antibiotics, I prescribed antibiotics more often for swollen and ugly tonsils after that. 

Richard P. Holm, MD is founder of The Prairie Doc® and author of “Life’s Final Season, A Guide for Aging and Dying with Grace” available on Amazon. For free and easy access to the entire Prairie Doc® library, visit and follow Prairie Doc® on Facebook featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc®.



Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Stress and Anxiety Affect Us All

Standing in front of a group of De Smet Parent Teacher Association® (PTA®) members, I was to play a trumpet solo. My teacher thought I was prepared, but unfortunately, I was not. My fears brought my heart up into my throat, I became short of breath, my heart pounded and,... [More]


Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Your Guide for Prevention and Wellness

Primary care doctors do a lot of different things. We diagnose illnesses from the trivial, to the catastrophic. We treat maladies both chronic and acute. We confront, and we console.  Of course, these are common roles in medicine, filled by many different providers. One... [More]


Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Sunscreen…Don’t Leave Home Without It

It’s the dead of winter, and who among us isn’t craving the feeling of warm sunshine on our skin? I, for one, am dreaming of summer days spent outdoors, not a care in the world, basking in that delicious ultraviolet light. But alas, I must be my own physician buzzkill... [More]


Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Taking Our Last Breath

It’s a holy place when a patient is taking their last breath. For the most part, I’ve tried my best to give comfort at that time. There are many who have stated, “There are worse things than death.” One study in 2016, asked end-stage patients about dying... [More]


Prairie Doc® Perspectives - The Science Behind Understanding Epidemics

It was in London, England, 1854, when a severe diarrhea illness caused the deaths of 500 adults and children over a ten-day period and proved the value of scientific thinking. Physician-scientist John Snow mapped out the locations of those sick, and his work pointed to water... [More]


Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Shed Those Fears of Cancer Treatment

Mrs. B came into the emergency room one night, years ago, with some stress related issue. After taking her history, I began to suspect there was something else bothering her. As I was beginning her physical exam she blurted out, “I know there is a breast mass but you’re... [More]


Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Why Are Rural Nursing Homes Closing?

During one of our weekly hospice meetings, the discussion turned to the burden of finding an opening in a facility for one of our patients. Mr. A belongs to the working-poor segment of our society, just above official levels of poverty and yet he cannot afford health insurance... [More]


Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Opioids: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My patient was in severe pain, suffering from an obstruction in his gastrointestinal tract as a result of spreading cancer. I knew that morphine, one of the opioids, would provide immediate and merciful relief, and it did. We are thankful that we have something that can palliate... [More]

More Doc


Traffic Court September-December

Forman, David Scott, Miami Fla, driving 78 mph in a 50 mph zone. Fines $177 Court Cost $108. Hagan, Audrey Ann, Columbia Mo, driving 78 mph in a 65 mph zone. Deferred. Court Cost $108. Pfeffer, Samuel Tyler, Sharon Springs, Reckless Driving.  Bench Trial – Not... [More]

Traffic Court up to September 2019

Turner, Philip Russell II, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred adjudication, court costs $108. Patton, Amanda, driving 93 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred adjudication, court costs $108. Ramey, Tyler Ray, failure to stop or obey railroad crossing signal, fines $195, court... [More]

Wallace County District Court Sentencings

On May 15th, Vance Diamond Halsey appeared in the Wallace County District Court with court appointed attorney, Christopher Rohr, Colby for sentencing in the matter of case 2019-CR-03.  Halsey was charged with Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer on March 12, 2019, ... [More]

Traffic Court for May-June 2019

May Traffic Report Thomas, Dyami R, Bellingham, Wash, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $105, court cost $108. Araujo Pompa, Almedio, Coral Gables, Fla, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $105, court cost $108. Lennon, Jake Owen, Pittsburg, Penn, driving 93 mph... [More]

Traffic Court for April 2019

James Manuel Phillips, Gardner, Colo, driving 77 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $57 and court costs $108. Kenzie Marie Spreier, Colby, Kans, diving 80 in a 65 mph zone, fines $75 and court costs $108. Erick Edward Jarosz, Canon City, Colo, driving 84 mph in a 65 mph zone,... [More]

Brandon and Fugate Sentenced

Jonathan Brandon appeared in Wallace County District Court on April 10th, 2019, with his court appointed attorney, Steve Cott, Garden City, for sentencing in cases 17 CR 51 and 17 CR 58. Each case charged Brandon with Distribution of Methamphetamine within 1000 feet of a school,... [More]

Traffic Court reports Apr 11, 2019

Chandler, Garrett Scott, Pueblo, Colo, driving 75 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $69, court costs $108. Palmier, Joshua Quayshun, Birmingham, Ala, driving 84 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $99, court costs $108. Chavez, Brenda Icilice, Denver, Colo, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone,... [More]

March District Court

On March 13th, 2019 Charlene Valdez appeared in Wallace County District Court with court appointed attorney Leslie Beims, Goodland in the matter of case number 2017 CR 42. Valdez had been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, within 1,000’ of a school,... [More]

More Court



Weskan Community Building Starts To Take Shape

The Weskan Community Improvement Association is excited to introduce the Weskan Community Building: a place for community members to gather for events as small as a baby shower or as large as a wedding reception. This building will also come alongside the newly renovated Weskan... [More]


Quilts Of Valor Foundation

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. The foundation is a national organization founded in 2003 by “Blue Star” mom Catherine Roberts.  Thousands of... [More]


23rd Annual Heath Fair

The 23rd Annual Wallace County Health Fair was held last weekend at the WCHS Commons Area. Many area residents lined up for blood draws as early as 7 am.   Breakfast items including rolls and juice were available, which was particulary handy for those who had fasted... [More]


WPAA to feature “Laughing Matters: Juggling and other Nonsense”

Because laughing matters, Jay Cady and his wife Leslie Seifert-Cady of Mission, Kansas will perform their show “Laughing Matters: juggling and other nonsense” for Western Plains Arts Association at 3 p.m. CDT, Sunday, March 1 in Quinter. The venue is the Quinter High... [More]


Census Participation Part 1

Census Participation Important to Area Representation In March, mailboxes across the country will bring an opportunity that only comes around once in a decade – the chance to be counted during the U.S. Census. Getting a complete and accurate count of all the people... [More]


Kansas Bankers Windbreak Award

The Kansas Bankers Windbreak Award is given each year by the Kansas Bankers Association cooperating with NRCS, FSA, Extension Service, Kansas State University, State Conservation Commission and the Wallace County Conservation District. The award is presented each year to stimulate... [More]


Kansas Bankers Soil Conservation Award

The Kansas Bankers Soil Conservation Award is given each year by the Kansas Bankers Association cooperating with NRCS, FSA, Extension Service, Kansas State University, State Conservation Commission and the Wallace County Conservation District. The award is presented each year... [More]

Greetings from The Wallace County Cruisers

What a wonderful "ride" it has been these last 16 years. The support of this community and of neighboring communities has been such a blessing...the beautiful vehicles and their owners, delicious food vendors, craft vendors and most of all..YOU! You the car show enthusiast who... [More]

More News



Bugle Notes - Jan 30, 2020

One hundred and fifty-four years ago, the beginnings of what would become Fort Wallace had been established on the bluffs two miles east of Pond Creek Station and south of the Smoky Hill River. Established by order of General Grenville S. Dodge on October 26, 1865, Camp Pond... [More]


Bugle Notes - Jan 16, 2020

This Sunday, the Fort Wallace Museum is looking forward to hosting Greg and Cee Heller from Kannapolis for the screening of the new documentary film “Fort Harker: Gateway Post to the Frontier.” Please join us at 2:00 pm MT for the 45-minute film, followed by discussion... [More]


Bugle Notes - Jan 9, 2020

Happy New Year! The Fort Wallace Memorial Association is looking forward to a fun and full 2020; we invite everyone to join in and help make it our most successful year ever!  There are two ways to join our organization. “The Fort Wallace Memorial Association”... [More]


Bugle Notes - Dec 12, 2019

Christmas arrived at the Fort Wallace Museum this past Sunday, with the annual “Candlelight Christmas” service, followed by a festive gathering inside the main building. The 1888 Bethany Lutheran Church was filled to capacity for the traditional service. Worship was... [More]


Bugle Notes - Dec 5, 2019

In 1865, David Butterfield raised money from New York investors to create Butterfield’s Overland Despatch Stage Line along the Smoky Hill Trail - the shortest route from commerce centers near Atchison, Kansas to the gold fields near Denver Colorado. In 2019, Butterfield’s... [More]


Bugle Notes - Nov 7, 2019

On Saturday, the Fort Wallace Museum welcomed author Chuck Warner and his wife Karen to the Museum to discuss his new book “Birds, Bones and Beetles,” about his grandfather Charles “Bunk” Bunker, who was a KU Naturalist that explored Wallace County and... [More]


Bugle Notes - Oct 31, 2019

The 2019 Smoky Hill Trail Conference held at the Fort Wallace Museum is now in the rearview mirror! The event hosted 75 folks, including several national names in Western History research, as the role of Fort Wallace in Trail history was explored. Tours, lectures, networking,... [More]


Bugle Notes - Oct 17, 2019

The Smoky Hill Trail Conference weekend is here, and we are excited to host folks from all over Kansas, Colorado and beyond! The theme of the weekend is “Fort Wallace - the Fightin’est Fort on the Smoky Hill Trail,” and presentations will explore the events,... [More]

More Bugle Notes