Thursday, January 31, 2013

On medicine

I went to the doctor and guess what he told me. Guess what he told me.

He said I have a cold. This was comforting because it meant that I wasn't just coughing and sniffling because I was bored. He said I have a cold. I have no bronchitis (which I thought was a kind of dinosaur) and no pneumonia. I also don't have tennis elbow. He ruled everything else out. I have a cold.

There is, apparently, no cure for the common cold. Or for the uncommon one. I can't believe that I would be so low brow as to contract a common cold, like the kind you'd catch, dare I say it, "on the street." My cold, I am assured, is of a rare breed which flourishes only in the most well heeled sort. But regardless, there is no cure. Usually I'm ok with that because I try to stay off medicine. To be clear, I have nothing against the western medical model of better living through chemistry. I grew up taking medicine and, even when it didn't work I still got to see pretty colored syrups and interestingly named pills. Bottom line, I trust medicine because even if it doesn't work at least I'm doing something. As long as it says on the label "do not take with excessive amounts of alcohol but moderate consumption is still cool with us."

I don't like going to doctors, though. My dad is a doctor and I like going to him, but he keeps saying I have gout and I should take a nap. Well, actually, he says I have gout and he wants to take a nap. But I know what he means. But he doesn't charge a co-pay, just a box of Goldenberg's Peanut chews. I can afford that. I even like hospitals. They are often brightly colored with lines on the walls and there is a sense of order and planning. So that's nice. But a doctor's visit usually means I get half naked, explain my symptoms 5 different times, then get told I'm overweight and I have to see a specialist. By the end of the process, I have seen 4 specialists and a therapist, paid thousands in co-pays, have prescription pads' worth of notes (never an actual prescription...does the PT really have to write my exercise reginmen on a prescription pad? I tried to get it filled once at the pharmacy and they refused) and look forward to the same aches and pains, and mail from my insurance people saying "this is not a bill" or "explanation of benefits" at the top of a blank sheet of paper.

I do take daily medicine to keep the migraines away. It has, they say, a variety of side effects but I don't care because I don't get that many headaches any more. So, in summary, doctor's visits bad, hospitals and medicine, good.

So when the doctor told me I had a cold, while it reassured me that I wouldn't be coughing up my own liver any time soon, it bothered me because it meant that there was no particular cure for what ails me. But then the doctor said that he was going to set me up with a couple of medicines. Yay, I thought. He prescribed some mondo pills to reduce inflamation in my insides and some heavy duty cough syrup to make me insensate to all the coughing. This was a prime example of shooting a mouse with an elephant gun. But I embraced it. I hate mice. And even though they usually go away on their own, and they really aren't causing any serious damage, how can I enjoy my cheese knowing that they are lurking around every corner. And so if you want to get rid of them, why not use an elephant gun. I might take out the family of dogs living next door, or blow a hole in the wall, but as long as the pesky mice are gone, I'm content that I have done right.

And now, 2 days later, I am constantly groggy from the syrup and have no idea if the big pills are doing anything. The coughing has abated a bit (though wouldn't it have over time?) and I think I might be getting somewhat better.

Now if only we could put a man on the moon.

1 comment:

Feel free to comment and understand that no matter what you type, I still think you are a robot.