Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Good Doctor

I've been sick.
This time it is a doozie. I started feeling under the weather last Wednesday when a new storm system was blowing through the state from the Pacific. I thought I was just having a allergic reaction to foreign pollen blowing in from the greener states of Washington and Idaho. To those of you who don't know, I am pretty much allergic to anything that grows out of the earth, and anything that has fur or hair. Joe tells everyone I am allergic to the air and everything in it. Yeah, that pretty much covers it. Good thing they have pharmaceuticals to help poor sots like me! But...I digress...
Thursday I was still stuffy and sneezy... and still believing allergies to be the culprit. Friday I woke more miserable and even called in a couple of hours late to work to catch a few more winks of sleep. I was SO tired. Hmmm... maybe I was coming down with something?
Friday night I drove home to Helena, looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday, with no plans to go anywhere all weekend. I could drug myself with copious amounts of Benadryl and NyQuil and spend my days off in a bit of a haze! It was a good fantasy.
I developed a new symptom... anytime I would lay down I would begin coughing. Not just a little spat, but a body wrenching, can't catch a breath, dry wheeze, from the soles of the feet kind of spasm. I tried NyQuil. Didn't help much. I tried more NyQuil. Still didn't help much. In desperation I pawed through my past medical history....meaning looking through all those half used prescription bottles that really should have been tossed. BINGO! I found a bottle of Tessalon Pearls (which is a prescription cough inhibitor). I checked the date... Hmmm, discard after 9/08. The logical (aka-smarter) side of my brain says "DON'T TAKE 'EM!!!" The very tired, desperate side of my brain countered with "They are only 6 months old."
Now kids... don't do this at home. I did a very bad thing. I took one.
I lived to tell the tale.
Guess what? It worked. In a little over a half an hour I was able to lay down and finally drift into some much needed sleep. In a little over four hours, I was rudely awakened by the damn cough again. Another Tessalon, a Benadryl to keep an asthma attack at bay, a Sudafed to clear the stuffy ear and sinus', and back to bed. I said a silent prayer that I would awaken feeling refreshed and ready to have a great Saturday.
Apparently, I have not been holding up to my end of the spiritual bargains, and one God or another had chosen to shower me with his (her?) displeasure. I woke up feeling worse.
I ended up staying in bed most of Saturday. I did have to clean out the fridge and take the garbage out. There just wasn't any getting around that. I wanted to wipe and disinfect the fridge, too, but by that time I was spent and just collapsed onto the couch. The cleaning would have to wait.
Sunday I fared much the same. That old prescription of Tessalon had only 6 pills in the bottle when I found it. I was down to two. My cough was not getting any better... possibly even worse, and now I was getting feverish, too. I had no energy to do anything except a little crocheting, a little reading, and a little zoning out staring into a TV screen. I don't remember what was on, just that it was making noise. By the time I fell asleep, all the muscles in my torso were feeling the effects of the near constant deep cough. OK.. to put it bluntly... I felt like shit. Worse, if that is possible.
Monday dawned after a very long fitful night. I had a fever of 1o1.4. I called off work, then showered and headed off to the Helena Urgent Care clinic. My cough must have been a bit of a worry to the nurses there, because I was ushered into the inner sanctums only minutes after arriving, pushed ahead of the others who were already waiting for care. Hmmmm....??
The doctor was awesome. I told him right up that I didn't have any insurance, so I didn't want a bunch of tests that may not really be necessary. He examined me, stethoscoped my insides, looked inside my ears and nose, I said Ahhh over the Popsicle stick. I coughed on him a few times while he patiently waited for the spasm to end.
He asked "Ever have pneumonia?" "Nope" said I. "I think you may. I am not going to order chest X-rays, and we are going to call this an acute case of asthmatic bronchitis. I am prescribing meds. IF this doesn't clear up by the end of the week, you will have to come in for those x-rays."
The meds he gave me were the same ones my oldest was given when she had pneumonia. Zithromax, Prednisone, Promethazine W/codeine, and an inhaler.
I didn't know there were any doctors still out there who actually paid attention to the monetary needs of the patient. I really respect him for his discretion.

NOW... it is Wednesday. Nearly 3 days on antibiotics, steroids, and etc. I am feeling much better! I still have quite the cough, but not like it was. I no longer wheeze. My lungs no longer sound like a bowl of rice crispy's when I breathe in. My ears and sinuses are clear and dry. Unfortunately, those torso muscles? Yep, still very sore and weakened. Know one of those muscle groups? The ones around the bladder. Those ones that all women who have seen an OB/GYN know how to strengthen by doing Keigles. Yeah... well, if this coughing doesn't end soon, I am going to have to get me a box of Depends. Nuff said.

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