Friday, February 12, 2010

Sick Call

When last we convened, I was under the weather. What genius came up with that idiom? Aren't we all under the weather every day of our lives? Unless maybe we are fake moon landing astronauts, and are allegedly over the weather during the time we are fake walking on the fake moon. So maybe just the orbiting International Space Station astronauts are the only ones over the weather instead of under the weather. But I digress...

My elaborate ruse to get my birthday off from work yesterday went a little something like this. I had already started the day and endured most of 1st Hour by the time my sub arrived. At 9:00, I was able to leave, and sat in T-Hoe while I called my doctor's office in an attempt to be worked into the appointment schedule at a time I was really sick. You know how they hate to do that. They just want routine appointments made six months ahead. Seeing sick people while they are sick is not part of their equation. The phone answerer I reached took a description of my symptoms, and said she would pass the info on to the nurse, who would call me back if they could work me in. Which didn't sound very promising to me, but what could I do, I had already taken the day off, and I was too weak from lack of oxygen to get my granny panties in a wad, so I did the next best thing and drove to my mom's house to wait it out, only to find that she had a man there putting tile in her bathroom, so I could not collapse on her couch and let her cover me with the rough horse blanket blankie while making sure one foot stuck out.

I felt OH SO BAD. I could not even sob with misery, what with that using extra oxygen which I already lacked. The best I could do was a single garbage Indian tear sliding down my face. And another. And another. My mom said she was calling the doctor to see if they had forgotten to call with an appointment, even though I told her it had only been 35 minutes, and that I had given them her phone number as well as my cell number. Good thing she called. The phone answerer transferred her to the nurse. Of course, that could be because Mom asked if they had made my arrangements yet, which kind of fit with the way I was feeling, but might have frightened the office crew into action. I took over the phone and repeated my symptoms, and the nurse said, "I wonder about an X-ray." OK. Wonder all you want, but that's getting us nowhere. I took that bull by the horns and said, "I have two insurances, so it doesn't matter to me." Well. The nurse asked if I could be there by 10:00 for an X-ray, and then up to the doctor's office by 10:45. You betcha.

My mom drove me in her little B-Lazer, which was a good thing, because I was lightheaded and couldn't keep my eyes open in the snowy glare. She dropped me off at the door of the hospital, and I had finished giving my picture ID and cash cow cards to admitting by the time she came in from the parking lot. We proceeded to radiology, where I coughed enough that only two people sat by us. Then a radiology student came to get me. She quizzed me on my name and birthdate, which is kind of odd when your birthday is the current date. Then she took me into the radiology labyrinth and asked, "Are you wearing a bra?" Something tells me that my foundation garments might need a little shoring up, or else it's a standard question before X-rays.

After repeating the lateral view (no concern over excess radiation exposure here), my student had the hang of things and walked me out. Upstairs, I knew I was in for a wait to see the doctor, because that's how he rolls. No fewer than three other patients were sent down to X-ray while I waited. That must have been the special of the day, or else the student was needing a lot of practice. Those folks in the waiting room sure did gawk at me every time I coughed. You'd think they'd never seen a sick person in a doctor's waiting room before. I even coughed into my coat that's like a green berber carpet with arms, and still, they stared.

At 11:15 I was called into the inner sanctum, where the motor-mouth nurse tried to weigh me. Back off, sister! I'm sick. A bout of pitiful coughing changed her mind. Doc walked by, and said, "Are you feeling bad today?" That's why he's a doctor. When he came in for the exam, he mentioned that he had the results from my thyroid specialist, and thought that was the right decision. Then he proceeded to make me take deep breaths, which he didn't seem to understand was the reason I was there, because I couldn't take deep breaths. My temp was normal, and pulse-ox of 97, blood pressure of 120/66, no sore throat, clear snot and hacking unproductive cough must have rung a bell with Doc. I told him I normally didn't come in when I was sick, that I just called for a cough medicine prescription, but that I felt so bad I made an appointment. He said I was sicker than most people who came to his office, and that this could get out of hand, and wrote me out two prescriptions, and sat down to chat a minute about my antibiotic allergies when we were rudely interrupted by a knock on the door saying she hated to interrupt. It must have been the nurse, who butted in with some trivial question about a woman having suicidal thoughts, and could she just refer Miss Crazy to the State Hospital (which was right down the street) because she would have to come to town anyway if they gave her a doctor's appointment. He said, "Sure," and was waylaid by another nurse who wanted something else trivial, and thank the Gummi Mary that my nurse had moved on to the next patient and was taking out his stitches and going over his pathology from his cyst removal. Doc herded me to the front desk and said that if I didn't feel better in a few days to call back, because he also had plans C, D, and F. I didn't bother to ask about B and E, because I didn't want to be sent to the State Hospital.

So...I crept out to the parking lot so as not to make my little old mama drive up to the door for me. We took my prescriptions to the pharmacy and went to lunch next door at the Chinese place where we ditched Mabel one teacher workday many years ago, the site where Mabel was also ripped off for two dollars by the thrifty librarian. By the time we got back to my mom's house, the tile man was just leaving, and it was 2:00, and I didn't have time to take my medicine because I had to pick up The Pony at school.

But get this. Doc prescribed a Z-Pack, which I've had before with no ill effects, and when I got home I popped those first two pills. Within three hours, I coughed up a stringy green string of lung snot. HOORAH! I had been hacking for 24 hours with not so much as a drop of mucous, and now this. I was excited. The Pony said he would rather not hear about it. But that meant I was on the mend. I fell asleep in the recliner for two hours, and then slept another four in bed, and this morning I felt as normal as it gets for ol' Hillbilly Mom.

The only drawback is the severe pain upon coughing, but that's worth it because it's a productive cough, by cracky! The pain is all around the ribs and back, from so much coughing yesterday. If I could bottle a medicine that made people cough, I could sell it as an ab workout. I swear it would give you abs like Mike "The Situation" on Jersey Shore. Kind of a reverse cough medicine.

Oh, yes. Doc also prescribed me a gallon bottle of cough medicine. Alas, it was not my sweet, sweet Histinex. Only Cheratussin, that bitter elixir. But it did stop the hacking.

And now I feel like a thousand bucks. Tomorrow, I'm shooting for a million.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

Glad you are on the mend ..... green snot and all!

Chickadee said...

Woot! Thank goodness for those antibiotics. Just be sure to take all those pills, just to make sure all those little green mucus plugs like the ones you see on the Mucenex commercials get out of your system.

Hillbilly Mom said...

I knew somebody would appreciate my green lung snot!

I always take all of my antibiotics. Except when I break out in a full-body rash on the ninth day of a ten-day dose.

I used to take Mucinex. I don't know why I don't do it routinely. I suppose because I thought I was getting over my sickness.