“Seek medical attention immediately-you are seriously ill”

2 Jan

I have been fighting a bug that appeared to be some type of flu for about ten days now.  I thought I had licked it.  I even rode my bicycle to physical therapy finally on Thursday, certain that I was healthy enough for such activity and no longer sharing the bug.

Yesterday, I still felt under the weather though, and a raging headache had started.  Today, it’s worse, and I thought I’d check out one of those online tests that help you determine if you are sick with the flu and  if its serious.

Apparently, I’m about to croak.

Granted, I felt that bad last week, but we all go through that at one point or another, what I call the “shoot me now” phase of the flu.  Yeah, I only THOUGHT I was sick.  This afternoon, after waking up early this morning with enthusiasm bubbling all over, someone suddenly dropped a train load of bricks on my head and chest.  The faucet turned on in my head.  Not only does it hurt to breath now, my hair is hurting.

Just about that fast too.  I’d just gotten rained on, and my shirt was a bit damp.  I’d actually had to towel off my arms.  Fifteen minutes later, I’m crawling into bed with menthol ointment asking GM to put some on my back and going to sleep, where I dreamed I had a black widow spider living in my nose.

Yeah.  We’ll leave that nightmare alone, and stick with the story it was induced by OTC cold medicine.  I have NO idea what on earth provoked such a horrific vision, but it went beyond gross into the realms of not-even-hollywood-would-go-there.

I’m not going to the doctor, and definitely not going to the emergency room, like the website suggested.  I also don’t think I’m really going to die from the flu.  I’m just going to be pretty miserable again, and a relapse is worse than the original bout, according to folk wisdom.  In reality, going anywhere is just going to expose other people to whatever it is I have, and while I’m there, I’ll be at risk for being exposed to things I haven’t been exposed to before.  We’ll skip all that exposure before I start feeling like Kodak paper.

Emergency rooms, in my opinion, are for genuine emergencies that can’t wait for a doctor’s office.  That means I’m bleeding profusely, unconscious, have a gaping wound or broken bone, or excruciating pain.  If its something that can wait for a doctor’s office, it gets to wait.  As far as so-called “urgent care” goes, I’ll never use them again after negative experiences.  I was misguided into thinking that urgent care facilities worked like a low level of emergency care, where you wouldn’t need a hospital bed, but you did need prompt treatment.  Wrong.  I’m convinced now their sole purpose is to collect extra money from insurance companies and you could not drag me into one.  All they provide is over priced substandard care, in my opinion.

I’m sick, I’ll admit that.  I’m also pretty sure its a virus, and it does have the potential for “serious.”  However, it does not currently mean that I need emergency room care–I’m not having trouble breathing, chest pains, or anything else that qualifies, in my opinion, as an emergency.  By Monday, when I could see a regular doctor in his office, I’m expecting to be on the road to recovery, and if not, then I’ll have to re-evaluate my choice that medical attention is not necessary.  That’s further complicated by the fact that I have moved, and do not have a local general practitioner for such issues as catching a serious case of the flu.  If it works like it did in New Orleans the year after Katrina, it took me 5 weeks to get into a doctor, and I’d obviously recovered long before then.  I actually went to the appointment just so that the next time I needed a doctor, I was not a “new patient” who had to wait weeks to get in.  In one sense, it felt like the stupidest trip to a doctor’s office I’d ever made.  In another, it felt like extortion.  I had to pay a new patient office call fee so that I had the privilege of calling in the future for an appointment in the near future rather than waiting over a month to get in.  The joy of being a patient with no insurance, I suppose.

So, I’ll keep on taking OTC medications to treat the symptoms of my lovely visitor, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting plenty of rest.  I’ll avoid chills, and avoid getting rained on as well.  I’ll whine to GM, who is a great nurse in a pinch, and take a lot of naps.  I hope to not lose my voice with laryngitis, something that strikes me about every other year for a week or two.

All I can say is…this was not how I wanted to spend the afternoon of the first day of this year!



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