Over the holidays, my technophobia relented enough that I actually embraced Facebook! One of Facebook’s pluses is that all you share is your soul — not your communicable diseases. You also narrow your options for future employment, make “friends” who are too far away to bring you chicken soup when you’re sick and who don’t want to listen to you nasal whine into cyberspace, but let’s focus on the good part. There was a whole lotta sharin’ goin’ on this holiday season — of the other kind.
I awoke on January 2 to a bleary eyed husband with a bright red nose. I caught sight of it as I grabbed for the Kleenex. I could tell his was not post celebratory, joyfully earned bleariness or a champagne induced red nose, but the kind that Mother Nature, with hurricane force, throws in your face and down your throat.
“How are you?” I asked, getting every other syllable out.
“No you’re not, I’m calling Dr. Wonderful.” I’m not yet the lady in The Three Swans who walked across China with pneumonia, but I can see it coming. And last year, Dr. W. said if we’d come in when we had the first round of this, we wouldn’t be there begging for pills then. I love my doctor. He’s been in the same tiny office for decades, doesn’t need upscale trappings to prove he’s the best doctor insurance can’t buy and brings his black Lab to work every day. I call his office.
“Hi, we’re seniors,” (I feel like I’m 100 today so that qualifies me, and by the time she pulls the file I’ll have scored the appointment and hung up), “and we’ve had this for four days,” (which it will become if I don’t call now) “and we need antibiotics.”
“Well it’s the first day after New Year’s and Doc’s double booked. He can see you in a week,” the receptionist sweetly replies.
“We’ll be dead by then.”
“He’s triple booked.”
“Dear, all he needs to do is look at us and he’ll hurl the prescription through the door. How about if we come in and wait until somebody doesn’t show up for his appointment?”
“It could be hours.”
“That’s OK — we’ll bring the iPad and teach your other patients how to practice ‘safe sharing.’” If everyone had confined himself to Facebook, none of us would be in this pickle.
John caught part of the interchange through his plugged ears, and asked, “What did you do?”
“Come on — we’re going to occupy the waiting room.”
Lucy, Dr. W’s black Lab, has a little lady in a madras headscarf pinned in a corner of the lobby. She’s resisting Lucy’s effort to impart her curative powers to her, which must be why Dr. W. brings her to work every day. Lucy hears the door open, turns to us, tail wagging, the lady slumps to the floor … Lucy has her next patient.
“We’re heeeeere,” I announce to the 20-something who knows she’s no match for me with a bad cold and directs us to take a seat. I chat up the gal next to me.
“Hi, I’m contagious but I’ll breathe away from you,” knowing that the germ count in the lobby is already ten times EPA standards, but let’s use mind over particulate matter. She recoils and explains to me that she had had “it” already and toughed it out without the benefit of drugs for three weeks. I explain to her that I’m a sissy and don’t believe in suffering needlessly.
In pops the good patient, a young fellow who had scheduled his appointment days in advance.
“It’s next Tuesday,” the receptionist tells him with her practiced cheeriness.
“I could swear it was today,” he whimpers. He leaves peaceably — he needed my course in guerilla appointment making.
Dr. W. comes in, trailing an intern, and sees John sitting on the table where I strategically placed him so he could give all our symptoms and I could save my energy. Sure enough, John needs drugs! They begin their retreat and John tells him that I am the real patient (because John is just there to humor me). I breathe for Doc, who calls the intern over; “Feel this! She vibrates!” Which assuages my guilt over having beaten out the good patient for this audience with the miracle worker.
We check out and the tattooed and pierced receptionist (who is hidden in the inner sanctum) “processes” us.
“How do you stay well, working here?” I inquire. (Other than good healthy living.)
“Cod liver oil!” she enthusiastically responds. “I used to look at a patient and get sick, but that hasn’t happened in three years since cod liver oil!” John knows what’s next. And he thought water boarding (my saline solution inhalation technique) was bad.
I’m willing to try anything (on John) and go buy some cod liver oil capsules. He won’t take them, so I do. Two days later I’m better but his left brain is still arguing with my right brain that cod liver oil is just the same as Omega 3 fatty acids, which he already takes. I say the proof is in the pudding — or the jar of little cod liver oil pills — not the generic ones John is clinging to!