Friday, February 1, 2013

It's Viral. Of Course it is.

 I learned something about myself today. I’m a little intimidated when I’m in a Doctor’s office.  I went in today, after two weeks of dealing with a cough that just won’t quit, and too many sleepless nights to count. At last week’s visit, Dr. L thought she detected some wheezing, so an inhaler and cough syrup with codeine was prescribed.  Less that a week later, when the coughing was getting worse, we tried a different inhaler along with some antibiotics, along with the instructions that if I’m not feeling relief by the end of the week, come back in.

My cough is so bad, I’ve been banished to my son’s room at the other end of the hallway, so Jon can sleep.  I can’t say I blame him for said banishment.  I’m coughing so hard my ribs hurt.  Whenever I laugh, or eat, or sleep, or breathe too deeply, I cough. I’ve tried every combination of cough and cold medicine there is.  I’m sure I’ve mixed things that should not be combined.  But I’m desperate. I think I’m the only person on the planet who is not knocked out by cough medicine with codeine.  I just cough all night. Yes I’m using 23 pillows. Yes I’m drinking lots of fluids. Yes I’m eating chicken soup and tea with honey. Yes I have a vaporizer going. Yes I’ve gone online and tried every remedy suggested when you Google “how to stop coughing,” (Vicks-vapor rub on the feet??  C’mon).

I went back in today, not sure what the Dr. would find, only hoping it was something less nebulous than something viral.  I hate viral. There’s little you can do with viral. Viral takes time.  I want this over now.  Of course I don’t want it to be anything serious. Just something that will go away with medicine.

Of course, the first thing they do is get your weight.  They weighed me one week ago. I know what I weigh, even though I’d prefer not to.  So right to the scale we went. When I told her we did this last week, she didn’t seem to care. Of course she didn’t.  She’s skinny.  I’ll show her, I thought, and I ripped off my sweatshirt and my watch (in the middle of the hallway, no less), as if those would add some 5 extra, unwanted pounds.  I wish I could convey the look of astonishment on her face when I did this.  Modesty was nothing to me when additional pounds were at stake. 

Next we went into the examining room, where I sat at the end of the table with my feet dangling.  I felt like a 10 year old.  I think that’s done on purpose. You will feel inferior with dangling feet.  After taking all the vitals, the Dr. comes in, and you have to explain for the 53rd time why you’re there.

I know all this is common, but I grew up in an extended family of doctors. It wasn’t unusual while hanging at one of their houses to ask for a look in your ears or in your throat.  Medicine simply appeared.  If you needed something, you went to the medicine cabinet, and there it was.  I remember during Rosh Hashanah dinner, lining up in Aunt Sue and Uncle Sey’s bedroom for our yearly flu shots.  My High Holiday memories are of matzoh ball soup, brisket and flu shots.  I remember before I went away to college I asked if I could have a real physical in a real Dr.’s office. I honestly thought I was missing something.

I breathed and hacked my way through the examination, and was told my lungs actually sounded really good!  Of course they did. I was given a prescription for some new medicines & more cough syrup, and the sage advice to keep doing what I’m doing and be patient.  It’s probably just viral and will take time. Of course. The only good that came from the visit is that I actually weighted 3 lbs less than my last visit.  I guess that’s what happens when all you eat is soup and tea.  The virus diagnosis shouldn’t be a total waste!


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