Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Better Living Through Chemistry

My husband Terry can tell you I'm beyond stubborn when it comes to admitting I get sick. I coughed and snorted through a week of unpleasantness before I caved in. I kee\pt telling him that I know when I need to seek help, because I know my body better than any doctor ever will. I live in it, after all.

I gave up on Sunday. After two nights of sleeping in fifteen-minute increments, and not being able to walk across a room without holding on and stopping for breath and spiking a fever, it was time to seek DRUGS. After all, Terry said, if Big Pharma didn't want us to live better through chemistry, they wouldn't make the drugs.

Since I couldn't talk without going into a coughing jag that left lungs on the floor, Terry called our family doctor. When the receptionist stopped laughing, she said they were down two doctors on Monday and had reached overflow capacity in the waiting room. All patients were being shunted to the emergency room or to doc-in-the-box.

We chose the local doc-in-the-box. Terry drove, since I have so little lung capacity that driving was out of the question. We drove into an empty parking lot. IN FLU SEASON? Based on the hours painted on the door, you can only need urgent medical help between one and eight pm. Back home to sit upright and cough. We returned at 1:10 and were fourth in line. When we left at 4 pm, the waiting room was full and sounded like an outpatient clinic in a tuberculosis ward.

The doc popped out of his box, poked and prodded, asked me to cough (BIG mistake), looked at my electronic health record (all of my doctors are part of a single medical system, so he could pull up EVERYTHING). Then came the diagnoses. Plural.

"You have cute sinisitis." I've never heard of cute sinuses. Then he said, "You have cute bronchitis." Kinda thick accent. Took me a couple of coughs to realize he meant Acute, not cute. And contagious as hell.

Doc-in-the-box believes in throwing the kitchen sink at what's "going around." I left with four prescriptions, two over-the-counter recommendations, and instructions to rest and eat lots of chicken soup. It's good for the soul, he said. I understood got that. Even read the book years ago.

One good thing about not being able to sleep: I got a lot of reading done!

And, because my writing group meets in a retirement community, I'll skip Thursday's meeting. I do NOT infect people when I can avoid it.