I’m a retired orthopedic surgeon who hasn’t practiced in about 6 or so years. I gave up my last license to practice in Alabama a few years ago, and since that time, I have been a mere civilian in the land of medicine. Granted, I have some few loyal friends who understand and try to make it have made a difference that I spent the last 20 plus years as an orthopedic surgeon on call (without remuneration) almost 24/7 and who had been told by one of his dear mentors, “all you need to say is, ‘I’ll be right there’”.
Three days before thanksgiving, I came down with some mild bronchial upper respiratory bug, which along with depriving me of sleep and making me feel like yak squeeze, put all but the most minimal thanksgiving plans out of reach. Then, on Thanksgiving, it reared its head like a monster and came crushing down with chest pains and a racking painful cough.
Previously, as a physician, I would have called in some drugs for myself and started treatment on probably day two, but since it was thanksgiving week and I had let my DEA certificate expire, I thought I would try the proletariat pathway, strewn with lumpy green TV monsters residing in your chest cavity but easily expelled by a patent medicine available in your drug store. Also, since I don’t respond well to narcotics (nausea) I loaded up on EXTRA STRENGTH Tylenol (store brand of course) with no avail. After several days of no sleep for a period longer than 90 minutes and taking a hot shower about every 4 hours to get some steam inhalation, I was exhausted and decided to give it up and call for some professional help. THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING.
Usually, even this is not a problem, because my primary physician lives across the street, yet he was out of town. His office, closed. Another friend of mine office, closed. Another urgent care, run by another doctor friend, closed. All I wanted was some drugs (INHALER AND ANTIBIOTIC). So, off we went to another URGENT CARE just down from the ER (last resort).
I can’t talk because I erupt into a stream of hacking stabbingly painful coughing if asked to speak, and I knew what they were gonna ask. So I typed out a history and physical for them including meds, allergies etc. AND SOME SIGNS.
Here they are: [Just so you know, admission people are relatively humorless, but the clinical folks got a kick out of what I was trying to do]
I had a wonderful visit and great treatment and was in and out in 10 minutes once they found out that I have the same crappy insurance everybody else has with Rx, a second opinion, and hope.
I hope to be able to read this post in a week (or sooner) and look back on it not coughing up a lung.