Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Creeping Crud

Sunday night, around the time when we were watching the Twilight Zone about the Martian and the diner, I began to sneeze uncontrollably. I chalked it up to the dryness of the air in the apartment from a furnace that was finally beginning to work properly for the first time all weekend. Then I woke up yesterday with my throat in flames and said, "Dammit, man, that was no furnace!"

I stayed home all day with a high, barking cough and watched my temperature climb from 99 to 100 as I consumed every over-the-counter and herbal remedy in the house. I figured I would sleep it off and be okay, if a little sniffly, for work this morning. But every time I laid down, I started coughing uncontrollably again. Why is that? Is your throat heavier when you're lying down? Plus, I was shivering and freezing. Around 3 AM I gave up the "going to work" idea and left voicemails for my supervisors. Then I wrapped myself in a down coat and three blankets and went back to sleep.

I awakened at about 10 and my first thought was, "I'm not going to take my temperature because I know it's going to say a hundred and one and I'll have to do something about it."

"Did you take your temperature?" said my husband.

"No, I want to eat first." Because when they take me away to the hospital I don't want to go on an empty stomach. Sure enough, I took it and it was over a hundred and one.

"Call the doctor!" Jim said. "Call the doctor!"

"I don't want to call the doctor. She's gonna make me come in. I'm gonna have to go all the way up to the Upper West Side and I don't feel well!" This is my new fear, replacing the childhood "She's gonna give me a needle!"

I called the doctor. "You'll have to come in."

So at three this afternoon, I entered the waiting room, where five other people had my high, barking cough. I conducted them.

The nurse practitioner took a look at my inflamed throat and other ailing vitals.

"Well, it's not strep. This is definitely viral. I'll prescribe you some codeine so you can sleep." Then she excused herself to hustle off to the other five barking patients.

The rest of the prescription was to go home and sleep, and take tomorrow off from work and sleep. So I left my supervisors another voicemail. Nurse practitioner's orders. Two teaspoons of codeine and a couple of slices of Goodfella's pizza later, I'm feeling more human, and after a little more hibernation tomorrow, my new year can begin.

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