You may be aware—because I’ve been whining nonstop about it—that I am sick. About three weeks ago I got the flu. I was almost recovered and then ’round about Thanksgiving, I started coughing. And coughing. And coughing.
I tend to not go to doctors because…well, because I’m dumb, but also because it didn’t seem that something like a cough was a thing that a doctor can fix. (Listen, I already said I was dumb.) My theory on pretty much all afflictions except for strep throat and UTIs is that they will eventually go away.*
As my coughing entered my second week and every single person I encountered told me to go to a doctor, I continued to believe that my cough would disappear. Then the cough started keeping me up at night because every time I went horizontal I started to cough hysterically.
Yesterday I finally decided to go to the doctor.
Unfortunately everyone else had already decided to go to the doctor and the doctor was booked. They finally took pity on me and told me to come by their office at 1:30 and they would try to squeeze me in. “But remember that you’re a squeeze-in,” they said, “so you’ll have to wait. You should bring a book.”
“Oh, I don’t need a book,” I thought to myself, “because I’ll have a toddler with me.”
It’s fun to wait in a doctor’s office with a child.
It’s even more fun to combine the two.
Thank God for my friend L, who agreed to get my other kids off their buses at 3:15. I had a feeling about how long this would take. Thank you, friend L.
Quinn almost fell asleep on the way to the office. Almost. If we’d had five more minutes in the car, he would have been out. That would have been awesome. As it was, he didn’t stop talking for the first two hours we were there. I was smart and prepared. I brought trains, a Thomas the Tank Engine coloring book, and video games. I also brought a book for myself, but whatever. I don’t know why I wasted the space in my bag.
For the hour and a half we spent in the waiting room Quinn treated all of us to a steady stream of:
“This is Mavis. We have Mavis. What does this say? What is the number on Toby? Can we color this page? Will you color Murdoch? What number is this? Is this the nasty diesel? This is the nasty diesel. The nasty diesel has a flag. What number is on this train? Toby is going to fall in the water. The floor is the water. I have Percy. What number is on Percy? Percy fell in the water. What number is this?”
Because Quinn was so interested in numbers, I tried to get him to chant, “I’m number one! I’m number one!” Ever the three year old, he chanted, “I’m number three! I’m number three.”
So true, little dude. So true.
We finally went into the littler waiting room, a.k.a. the exam room, where the nurses began to probe me, while Quinn continued to educate the staff about the wonders of Sodor.
Then I gave him a video game to play with.
Because I had a cough, the nurse brought in a machine intended to measure my lung capacity. She gave me a lengthy list of instructions and I wheezed into it. Apparently I did it wrong because she repeated her instructions and made me do it again. Then she took the machine and left.
A couple of minutes later, she came back with the machine. The other nurses had looked at my printout, assumed the first nurse didn’t give proper instructions and came back to observe her retesting me. Evidently I failed Breathing 101: Remedial Breathing.
The nurse gave me the instructions for the third time and I wheezed into the machine for the third time. Then the second nurse gave me the instructions and I wheezed into the machine again.
“Oh, I guess it was right,” she said.
“Am I dying?” I joked.
“Ha, ha, no,” the first nurse said. “Are you going to pass out from blowing into the machine?”
“Oh, fuck. I am dying,” I thought.
At around 3:45 or so, the doctor finally made it into the room. Her first words as she closed the door behind her: “You’re not well.”
Then she asked if she could have one of the nurses take a photo for my chart. Because I looked so vibrant and hearty I agreed. But the fortunate thing is that the photo can double as my obituary photo. ‘Cause I’m “not well.”
Eventually she assuaged my fears by assuring me that all I had was bronchitis. She gave me three prescriptions and a list of two other meds to take. Then she had yet another nurse bring in a free sample of an inhaler to show me how to use it.
The nurse read the instructions out loud to me and then I took a hit. Thank God for professional advice.
I finally wandered back into my house at 4:30, shaky and loopy from the steroids in the inhaler.
Alex came home early to help, so I passed out on the couch.
You’ll excuse me now. I have to go take a bunch of pills.
* For me. I do take my kids to the doctor. Maybe I should put an addendum at the end of every post to not call the authorities on me, be it child services or the humane society or just the plain ol’ men in blue. Oooh, ooooh! Or the men with the straitjackets.