i’m sick, so if i seem overly cranky, please understand that it’s because for the last few days, i have been unable to breathe properly, and that the lack of oxygen reaching my brain – as well as the low-level ache over most of my body and the constant drowziness (despite being completely unable to sleep comfortably) has a tendency to make me grumpy.
and why am i sick? most likely because one of the girls in my office had a similar sickness – a sinus infection – last week, and never saw a doctor. she came in sick one day, then was out the next two, in bed recovering. meanwhile, the spores of whatever brain-eating-fungus had taken root in her head were spreading around the office, some of them germinating in my overly stressed mucuous membranes.
and so upon realizing that it wasn’t simply a matter of too much saki and uncooked fish from my outing at the sushi bar the night before haunting me, but a much more sinister sinus infection, and seeing what this has done to my usually peppy coworker, i decide to arrange for a doctor’s appointment in order to get the prescription drugs i know will kill this thing off more quickly and readily than i could alone. i know antibiotics aren’t the best thing to go throwing around willy-nilly – what with resistant strains of bacteria popping up all over. that which does not kill us only makes us stronger. so goes the new motto of the bacterial infection
but, you see, i never get sick. sure, i occasionally (and especially lately) get allergies. an occasional sniffle or sneeze when one kind of pollen is prevalent or if the air is too laden with pollutants. but sick? common cold? flu? rarely. i haven’t been to a doctor in the last several years unless i was bleeding profusely from some extremity – and in those cases i went to an urgent care facility.
urgent care, emergency room, stripmall triage: if you’re bleeding too much to fill out the paperwork (or bleeding too much on the paperwork), they send you to the front of the line.
so, i saw this as an opportunity to create a relationship with a doctor in my area – now that i’m buying a house here, and will likely be here for a while, i might as well select a primary care physician. heck, i can wait a couple days before i see anybody. self-medicating with decongestants is fine by me.
i’ve had health insurance here since i started work almost a year ago, but my health insurance provider (United Health Care) doesn’t require the selection of a PCP at signup, so i never did. so, today, i looked through the big book of local doctors on the UHC dole, and found several that were nearby, and seemed reputable. based on the recollection and recommendation of my coworkers, i selected an an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, since that is the kind of doc i tend to need most often, mishaps with sharp instruments aside.
here’s a tip: if you’re like me, you look under E, for Ear. or ENT. in case you ever need to find one fast, they’re under “O” for otolaryngologists. silly me, i didn’t take latin.
anyhoo, i started calling.
the first couple were nice enough, but, since i am not an existing patient, their first appointments were weeks out. it seemed i was being penalized for not being sickly, not having visited the doctor already for some other minor ailment. of course, i don’t know that if i were an existing patient, i would have gotten any better service. i suppose i’ll find out the next time alien bacteria start growing on my frontal lobes
then there were a couple places that weren’t taking on new patients right now, sorry. one even asked me, with an air of “how did you get this number?” “when did you specify us as your PCP?” is this a doctor’s office or a country club? i didn’t know i had to apply to get in. i understand why they don’t want me on the roster, i don’t get sick often, so they’re not making much money off me.
but when i do get sick, i usually make it worth my while before i go to a doctor. this latest infection, for instance, will likely go from being a simple sinus infection to an ear infection any minute now. already, my ears are so clogged i can’t hear myself type and it feels like i’m in an airplane, i have to pop my ears so often.
eventually, i figured out the best i could do was get an appointment for a week from today, for about 20 minutes of a doctor’s time – as i was told when the office called me back to move my appointment up by 20 minutes since the doctor had already scheduled a surgery for that time. and i’ll have to get there a half hour early, to fill out paperwork.
of course, in the week i’m waiting, whatever’s growing in my head will likely have turned into an infection in both ears, strep throat, and mushrooms growing on my head, spreading spores to the four winds.
if things get too intolerable, i’ll probably go to another urgent care facility to get my antibiotics. of course, i’ll have to slit my wrists or move to Canada to get any service.