so today . . . i went to the doctor. i did not get a high five.
i've been coughing for about a month. not a hacking, debillitating cough, just an annoying, intermittant cough. it wasn't keeping me awake at night. it wasn't keeping me from going to the gym. it wasn't even keeping me from singing on sundays (although maybe it was trying to, and i just didn't get the memo . . . ) so i did what i always do--i ignored it. for almost a month. and then, i don't know what happened, but sunday night rollie INSISTED that i call the doctor THE VERY NEXT DAY and go in and see what was going on with all the coughing.
i'm thinking maybe i was coughing more at night than i realized.
rollie and i have a love/hate relationship when it comes to going to the doctor. we both love that we have kaiser insurance and can go whenever we want to for the low, low price of only $5. but we both hate to go. we both love to tell each other when we think it is time for the other one to make an appointment. but we both hate to go. we both resist the nagging of the other one until those fateful words are uttered, "FINE! DON'T LISTEN TO WHAT I AM SAYING! JUST DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO! YOU'RE A GROWN UP!! BUT IF YOU END UP IN THE HOSPITAL . . . " or something to that effect. this pronouncement has different endings, depending on who is saying it. i threaten to leave him at the hospital and spend all his money while he is there. he just looks at me. but he could threaten to tell everyone where i am so they would all come visit me--that would make me RUN to the doctor . . .
so i got online and made an appointment. i haven't been to the doctor in a while and when i got to the office, i noticed a few changes. first of all, they were changing all the artwork on the walls. who even thinks about what is on the walls?!?!? usually when i am there, i am just trying to keep from either throwing up or passing out, and i don't care what i am looking at when either of those things happen! they have also installed these check-in "kiosks" that are kind of like an atm. i thought it was a cool idea and gave it a try. it didn't work for me. and they have gone paperless, which means that you can't see when they mysteriously slurp your paperwork through the slot into the back--my previous indicator that it was almost my turn. now i just have to wait until they call my name, with no warning . . .
so i sat in the waiting room and returned a phone call. as soon as it was answered (of course,) hector (my doctor's nurse) came for me. i love hector. at first i was a little afraid of him, but now i think he is great. he didn't care that i was on my phone, but my blood pressure did! we had to take it three times to get a reading that didn't cause widespread panic--and by widespread i mean hector, me, and my doctor.
when the doctor came in to the exam room, she started scrolling through my records on the computer. "i think you should have a flu shot," she said. "i would love to have a flu shot, but at the front desk they said you are out of them." "oh," she said, and continued scrolling. "what about pneumonia? you should probably have a pneumonia shot." "ok," i said, "i'll be glad to have one if you think i should. i had one several years ago, but it is probably time for another one." "no," she said. "if you already had one, you don't need another one until you are 65."
(ok, here is my question--does this mean that for some people the shot is good for 10 years and for some it is good for 20 years??? because i didn't tell her when i had had it. what if it was 15 years ago?? that shot would be good for 30 years????? i don't know, but anyway she decided i didn't need one today.)
"how about a tetanus shot? when did you last have a tetanus shot?" i was starting to wonder about her almost obsessive need to give me a shot. how long was this going to go on? were we going to continue down this road until i agreed to let hector puncture my arm and then slap a bandaid on it?
tetanus sounded good to me. "oh, i can't remember when i last had a tetanus shot," i said. "i think i should probably have one of those."
she finally peeled her eyes away from the computer screen, smiled, and said, "i'll send hector in when we are done here." good. if my doctor is happy, i am happy. now maybe she will see what she can do about this persistent cough. she listened to me breathe, and not breathe. she looked in my ears and up my nose (which is why she gets the big bucks.)
"everything seems normal," she said. "but i'm coughing!!!" i said. so she laid out my options--drugs or no drugs. i chose drugs--duh! steroids or tessalon pearls. hmmmm. this one was trickier . . .
i have a history with steroids. they help me, but i hate them. well actually, my body seems to love them--so much so, that it becomes dependent rather quickly and rebels when i try to stop taking them. and so i try to avoid them when i can. and yet, i am going to the gym . . . maybe it would jump start that whole muscle development thing . . . but no, i resist. besides, how can you not love a medicine called tessalon pearls?!? just say it out loud--it's fun! and pearls--come on--how could i resist? in fact, if you're not careful, you will be wishing you had a cough with no apparent cause so you too could have some.
my doctor clicked a few more keys on the computer and said my prescription would be waiting for me at the pharmacy when i was done--meaning after hector stabbed my arm. and then she left. and i am sure my blood pressure started climbing again, thinking about the impending injection.
hector came in and said, "which arm do you write with?" i obediently raised my right arm. "ok, we will put this in your other arm." not a good sign. not at all. but hector found the least scrawny part of my arm and artfully gave me my shot. and not a tear came to my eye. he is that good. i told you i loved him . . .
i proceeded on to the pharmacy, where i was told there would be a 25 minute wait. what happened to "it will be ready for you when you get to the pharmacy?" fortunately it was only about 10 minutes until my prescription was ready, but there were 17 people in line ahead of me to pay. seventeen!! the sick people were swarming . . .
when i got home, rollie said, "so, what did you find out at the doctor's office today."
"i have a cough."