Monday, September 28, 2015

"Tell It, Earlo, Tell The Story!"

The following, to the best of my recollection, which, when you’re unwell is not that reliable, is my report on my “Adventures in the Land of Afflicted Legionnaires.” 

And me. 

It would have been helpful at the time if there had been two “me’s” – the “me” going through it, and the me chronicling what was happening, as the “me” going through it was unable to chronicle what was happening because I was otherwise engaged, going through it. 

WARNING:  The following posts may not be interesting to you.

But when has that ever stopped me before?


Here we go. 

Dr. M had come down with the flu.  Recognizable symptoms.  She felt sluggish, thickheaded, and, generally, not herself. 

A typical “Summer Flu.”  It comes and it goes.  

Three days later, I come down with the same symptoms.  It’s the perfect marriage.  We magnanimously share everything.

Except this time, she got better, and I got worse.

In my generosity and kindness, I thought less about her blessed recovery than the unfairness of my contrasting deterioration.  (More on the specifics shortly.  And by “More on the specifics”, I am talking about the specifics of my symptoms, not of being a terrible person.  Cut me some slack here, okay?  I was entering unchartered territory.)

Having recently changed primary care doctors, I had fortuitously caught a break.  My new primary care doctor allowed me to e-mail him directly when I needed to connect with him, promising to e-mail me back the same day.  I had to pay extra for that – “that” being the immediate access I had grown up believing was an integral element of the doctor-patient relationship – but at least I had access.  (I think I am still under the weather; I can feel myself writing grumpy.  Okay, grumpi-er.)

I e-mailed my new doctor, entering “I’m sick” on the “Subject” line.  Without this cyber-conduit to my medical resource person, my previous history portends that I would probably not have contacted my doctor at all, thinking, “Let’s see how I’m feeling tomorrow.”  (A rationalization for, “If it’s bad news, it can wait.”  Which is the opposite of what mentally healthy people think, which is, “If it’s bad news, I need to get treatment as soon as possible.  I do not understand those people.  Don’t they know they are opening an unimaginable can of worms?)

My doctor e-mailed me back – Look at that!  It works if you pay extra – telling me to make an immediate appointment.  Which I did.  The next day, he examined me, and ordered a blood test.  (While in his office, I availed myself of the opportunity to have massive deposits of earwax – sorry – removed from my auditory canals.  The parking in that doctor’s building is, like, twelve dollars a minute.  I figured I might as well get my money’s worth.)

The following afternoon, as I lay close to immobilely in my bed, I heard the phone ring and heard Dr. M answer it.  It was my doctor, having received the results of my recent blood test.

Shortly thereafter, she came into the room and said, “I am taking you to the hospital.”

When I complied without resistance, I immediately understood the implication:

I needed to go to the hospital.

People dread hospital Emergency Rooms because of how long you have to wait to get seen. 

They saw me almost immediately.  And shortly thereafter, I was admitted to the hospital, and was wheel-chaired to my room.

Mentally healthy people think, “That was great.  I avoided the agonies of spending hours in the Waiting Room. 

What did I think?

If they moved me along that quickly,

I must be really in trouble.
Today is my mother's birthday.  She would have been ninety-nine years old.  Happy birthday, Gertie.  Wherever you are.


Rebecca said...

Oh good, I've been endlessly curious about the whole thing, but of course it's too rude to ask about it. Glad you're filling us in.

JED said...

I'm sorry I was rude enough to ask about this a week or so ago. I should have checked with Rebecca first :-) My wife usually saves me before I ask those kinds of questions but I just blurted out a comment without checking with anyone.

Like Rebecca, I am glad you are writing about this. In a perverse way, it makes me feel better. And, if any of us ever get Legionnaire's Disease, we'll know what to expect.