Monday, January 04, 2010

Curmudgeon begs for antibiotics

I was whining about being sick just last week so I hesitate to bring the subject up again.

But I'm still sick.

I thought I'd rallied a bit by the end of the week. I stayed home Thursday to baby myself (and to build up my strength for dealing with the kids' New Year's Eve plans -- I'll get to that tomorrow, I hope). By Friday I felt good enough to venture to a friend's home for an early evening open house. Saturday evening, Long Suffering Spouse and I went to see Avatar (you know it must truly be a gigantic hit movie when the missus and I are seeing it in first run).

I was never truly clear of my sinus congestion, but it was less disgusting for a while.

Then came Sunday... and it was back to square one.

I played a computer game and kept a desultory eye on the day's football games and dabbed at my nose. I honked like a whole flock of Canada geese every five minutes or so. Long Suffering Spouse and Youngest Son both tried to get me to go out to the local immediate care center yesterday afternoon, but the effort required to stand was beyond me. I hoped -- against all evidence and logic -- that this condition would somehow resolve on its own. Even though it's persisted, on high gear or low, for the better part of a month now.

I gave up and went this morning.

There was a time -- 20 years ago or so -- when I had no personal doctor. When I had the sniffles for more than a couple of days, I would drop by the local immediate care center and get a prescription for antibiotics. I would take the antibiotics -- all of them, just as prescribed -- and get well.

Have you ever had dandelions in your lawn? When you pull a dandelion out, you must take care to get out the entire root -- otherwise it will grow back, stronger than before. So it is with germs attacked by antibiotics. Too many people didn't take all their antibiotics. They stopped when they started to feel better... and new and stronger, more antibiotic-resistant strains of wee beasties began spreading.

The end result was that doctors stopped prescribing antibiotics as a matter of routine. You could still get a prescription... but you had to suffer a while first.

I did not want to go to the doctor and get turned down because my case was not sufficiently severe. On the other hand, the holiday slowdown is over and I have work to do. I wanted those antibiotics. So despite the fact that I didn't want to even talk, I knew I had to sell the doctor on the length and severity of my ordeal.

Long Suffering Spouse doesn't start school again until Wednesday. So she could drive me over this morning and I could muster my strength.

But there is a ritual in seeing a doctor at the immediate care center that must be observed before treatment can be sought. First, they have to find you in the computer. I hadn't been there for treatment in several years, but computer storage is bigger and better these days so my record could be found. I was then obliged to turn over my insurance card and driver's license to be photocopied. Certainly, this made sense; after all, it couldn't hurt to confirm that my current information was consistent with that stored in the computer.

I was then handed a clipboard and a sheaf of papers to fill in. For the most part, this consisted of a history and various privacy disclosures. The 'privacy disclosures' can't be gotten around, not in the present age of increased federalization of health care (and this is without whatever Obamacare may spawn). Nor was it unreasonable to ask for an updated history. Actually, I've had quite a checkered medical career since I last presented myself for service at that location.

But I took umbrage at having to fill out the insurance policy information again....

It's not that I object to meaningless paperwork -- Good heavens! I'm a lawyer. I depend on meaningless paperwork. But if I could have handled meaningless paperwork this morning, I'd have gone into the office directly, without a detour at the doctor's.

I was squandering my limited reserves of strength in order to complete the meaningless paperwork on the clipboard at a time when I needed every last ounce of strength for the task of persuading the doctor to let me have antibiotics.

It all worked out in the end, though. I persuaded both the young resident and the attending on duty of my sincere need for actual medicine and I was rewarded with the necessary prescription. After downing the first dose, Long Suffering Spouse brought me here to the Undisclosed Location.

Where meaningless paperwork is demanding my complete attention.


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i'll tell you what sarge paid a specialist to tell him. ocean swimmers don't get sinus infections ever. use saline spray. it's 99 cents in the drugstore and use it every day. he has never had another one. just sayin'...

smiles, bee

Chris said...

Nice post.

Buy best colon cleanse her.. oh wait, wrong blog.

Those who live by meaningless paperwork must, well you get the point Curmudgeon. A lawyer looking for sympathy? Whatever next? ;-)