Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Saturday Outing

Not getting any better after four days of increasing and worse symptoms (I've never had what I considered a common illness that didn't start to get better after a couple of days), on Saturday morning I couldn't stand it any more and decided to myself get to a walk-in clinic.  I found one within reasonable bus distance and headed out - inside a Walgreens.  I got there a mere 10 minutes after it opened, but there were already two people ahead of me.  From the look and sound of them, they had something similar to me!  I had to wait about 1.5 hours before the Nurse Practitioner got to my name on the list. 

While I waited (mostly with my eyes closed because my eyes were leaking pus and tears like there was no tomorrow and they were sensitive to light under my sunglasses), I sat quietly wheezing, occasionally hacking a cough, like my fellow sufferers in sickness, huddling and shivering inside my jacket because the store's air conditioning was cold despite the warm sunny day outside.

While waiting, I got to scope out the action - there was nothing else to do in any event; even if I had felt like it, my eyes were bothering me so much I would not have been able to read.  There was a receptionist/helper who was very nice.  After the patients checked in and filled out information on a computer screen she called us into an office one by one; I was asked for and presented my insurance card and photo ID and gave a brief description of my symptoms.

Shortly after I arrived I got a glimpse of the NP who came out of a different office.  I instantly did not like her. There was no reason for me to have that immediate negative reaction to her, but there it was.  Perhaps she was giving off some kind of vibration -- anyway, she barked something at the receptionist/helper and then disappeared into her office again.  Some time later an older woman came in and signed in to the computer, and then she had her turn with the receptionist/helper.  After that, the woman and a friend sat in two empty seats next to me; I did not want to eavesdrop but it was rather difficult not to!  She said to her friend that the receptionist was going to check if the NP could get in her quickly because she only had to have her blood pressure checked.

I thought - good luck, lady.  And was a little miffed that she thought because her problem wouldn't take as long to "fix" she could jump ahead of very obviously sick people who were there before she was.  Sometime later the receptionist/helper was getting reamed out by the NP in the NP's office - everyone could hear because she left the office door open.  I felt sorry for her - but she shouldn't have asked for such a thing in the first place!  Shortly afterward the receptionist/helper came out and called the blood pressure lady over to her and apologized and said the NP could not take her out of turn and she would have to wait, and it would be about 2 hours.  So the blood pressure lady left, saying she would come back in 2 hours.  I wonder if she got her blood pressure taken yesterday???

Eventually it was my turn and I was ushered into the presence of the NP.  I had two overwhelming impressings - she was built like Jabba the Hutt and resembled the toad-like illustrations of Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter books.  Her eyes were greatly magnified by her horn-rimmed glasses and she needed a good dye job on her hair - I do not understand women who think that grey-streaked hair is at all attractive.  It's not!  So we go through the routine, she asked a lot of questions and I answered as best I could. She was so large she could not get close to me, which led to a problem.  She took my blood pressure, then she poked inside my ears with an ear thingy.  She was closer to the right ear and she did okay with that one, but even though I turned my head so she could look into the left ear, because of the angle of the table I was sitting on she couldn't get close enough, so she sort of poked at me hurting the inside of my ear (which was already sensitive) and I'm sure she didn't see much of anything.  Then she looked at my eyes with one of those light things, and then she did the tongue depressor "say ahhhh" thing and frowned when I couldn't muster much of an "ahhhh", which she had me do again - LOUDER.  I hope I gave her a good blast of sick breath and spittle.

By this point my head was pounding and I was in a lot of pain, besides shivering with the recurrent fever that had plagued me since Tuesday evening.  I had experienced off and on headaches which seemed to go away after taking some aspirin, but now the left half of my face hurt terribly including inside the ear (which she had hurt with her probe thing).  Classic symptoms of a bad sinus infection, so I wasn't surprised when that is what she diagnosed in addition to pink eye.  Soon I was out of there, prescriptions in hand.  I made great bus connections and was home round trip in about 3.5 hours - more than 2 of which were spent at the clinic.

I downed the dosage of the prescribed antiobiotic, left the eyedrops for later, and headed toward the recliner where I zonked out for a couple of hours and then dozed off and on, for a couple more.  About 5 p.m. I got up long enough to make a cup of coffee and figured I should eat something (my appetite had totally disappeared, not a good sign since I am almost always ready and able to eat).  I had one slice of rye bread with butter and chunky style peanut butter.  Then I went back to the recliner!

I could feel the slow changes in my body as the antibiotics went to work attacking the infection inside my sinuses.  The first think I noticed was that the coughs, which still hurt like the dickens and sound ghastly, were now producing a lot more stuff.  The facial pain subsided somewhat (but is still present, 24 hours later) and I could "feel" and occasionally hear some "clicking"-like sounds inside my head which I figure had something to do with the sinus pressure slowly going down.  My breathing got less wheezy too, probably because less mucus was sliding down the back of my throat.  It was nice to actually get some sleep, too!

About 6:30 I was tempted outdoors by the bright sun streaming through the patio door.  I wrapped myself in the down blanket and plopped myself in a deck chair.  The sun was warm and strong and felt good on my face.  It was probably coincidental that going out on the deck triggered a coughing fit that scared the crap out of my squirrels - I sounded like a barking dog!  Or perhaps the extra heat from the sun was what I needed, along with the little movement to get from the recliner to the deck.  It was a productive cough, a lot of gunk came up and I felt better afterward, even though my chest hurt, ouch!  I stayed out for about 20 minutes and it was warm enough to keep the patio door open until after sun down.  I retired back to the recliner and watched an absolutely gorgeous sunset through filmy curtains.  Then I slept some more.  At some point I moved upstairs to the bed and experimented with different levels of pillow support.  For a luscious 30 minutes before I got up this morning, I was actually laying almost flat on the mattress with my head only supported by my two squishy feather pillows.  It felt like Heaven!

So, I've been mostly sleeping in short bursts since I got back from the clinic yesterday about 12:35 p.m.  Today I got up about 5:30 a.m. and actually read the paper, then took a nice long nap, then I ate something, then I had another nap.  I've got a load of laundry in right now and wanted to blog about Jabba/Dolores.

It looks like I am the only person left in the neighborhood who has not yet cut her lawn.  It is decidedly shaggy looking.  At this point, however, I do not think I am up to firing up the lawnmower!  In fact, I hear that recliner calling my name - time for another nap.

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