The Sick that Wouldn’t Quit
When this whole sore-throat, sneezy, runny-nose mess started three weeks ago, I assumed it was my normal allergies acting up. I had a full-scale allergy test done a few years ago (mostly to prove to my disbelieving parents that I was, in fact, allergic to cats) and it turns out I’m also allergic to many types of tree pollen and dust. Fun times. As soon as things start blooming in the Spring, I’m out.
Currently, however, we are on Week Three of The World’s Most Horrible Sore Throat/Cough/Congestion. I would physically brace myself against the pain whenever I had to swallow. My cough was starting to draw the darting eyes of concerned coworkers in neighboring cubicles. Visions of a plague pandemic with yours truly as Patient Zero are dancing in my head. I’m a hypochondriac in the best of times, but this was starting to veer into the truly terrible. Time to seek professional help.
I will save my ranting about the inaccessibility of the health care system for another day and sum up this morning’s frustration with the following: sometimes, it’s frightfully hard to get a doctor’s appointment. As this was neither super-urgent (e.g, broken arm, head trauma) nor routine (e.g., flu shot, pap smear), wading through my health care provider’s website and trying to match up coverage with doctor availability was not fun.
I decided to check out the “Take Care Clinic” in my local Walgreens. Ever the skeptic, I was a little apprehensive. Who would see me? (Answer: A Nurse Practitioner). Could they prescribe necessary medicines? (Answer: Yes). Going to the wee clinic inside Walgreens is remarkably similar to going to your regular doctor’s office (minus the hassle of getting an appointment).
Turns out, somewhat to my surprise, that I do not have pneumonia, bronchitis, or bubonic plague. I have a cold. A very persistent cold, but a cold nonetheless. No antibiotics. No fancy treatment. The nurse was able to renew an elapsed prescription from my allergist. Armed with nasal spray and some behind-the-counter Advil Cold & Sinus, I was set forth to try not to infect my coworkers.
In addition to reassurance that I was not quite as near to death as I’d imagined, the nurse confirmed that getting a second opinion on a long-lived cold does not make one pathetic. I mean, some people actually do have bronchitis and pneumonia – I just haven’t joined their ranks quite yet.