Saturday, July 24, 2004

Remedy Reveries

(Hack!  bark bark)  Well, I thought it was (bark bark) my allergies acting up, despite the fact that I don't usually cough much with (huck hack bark a bark bark) my sinus problems.  I'm only able to self-diagnose when whatever's going on is something that I've already been through.  (Bark! bark)  But this cough was really something else, making me hoarse and sounding like I was a phlegmy phone sex operator.  [Read this with Selma Diamond's voice in mind.]  "Oh yeah baby, that's how I like it. (BARK! yak bark bark!)  Oh my God, you're so (BARK, bark hack bark)..."  You get the picture.

[Coughing sounds deleted from this point on, to save your sanity.  But believe me, it's still going on as I type.]

By the time I went for my usual monthly  appointment at the allergist's on Thursday, I was having some trouble taking in a full breath, and my barking was disrupting my whole office.  My co-workers were sympathetic, but it's pretty sad when they can say things like, "I knew you were still here, because I heard you coughing."  So, even if I didn't already have an appointment, I sure as hell was going to make one.

"Bronchitis," he said, after listening to my lungs, and pronouncing them something that means tight.  Constricted?  I can't remember which term he used, but the bottom of my lungs were in trouble, and at least I knew that I wasn't imagining the trouble taking in a whole breath.  (You are having trouble breathing just reading this, aren't you?  It's kind of like when someone talks about blinking.  All of a sudden, you are terribly aware of how often you blink, and you either try to slow it down, or you become a blinking fool. )

The Good Doctor prescribed some antibiotics to be taken for seven days, and also some cough syrup.  But this was not any old cough syrup, and I could tell that right away by the very specific instructions he gave me while wagging his finger at me.  "Do NOT take this and try to drive.  You have to take this at night, just before bedtime, and you only take ONE teaspoon.  Not a tablespoon, a TEASPOON.  Just ONE.  Okay?"  He'd never been that specific with me before, and his stern and schoolteacherly tone made me think, "Holy Mother of God, how strong is this stuff?"  And the devil on the other shoulder thought, "Yippee!  The GOOD SHIT!"

I went straight to the pharmacy, anxious to get started on the getting well portion of this adventure.   Waiting around in the gift area of the pharmacy, it was becoming apparent that getting home and hitting the couch was a priority, because I was feeling woozy and clammy.  Well past the point of even noticing how much attention my constant barking was getting, I joked with the cashier I knew that I was finally getting the good stuff, and I couldn't wait to go home and try it out.

I fell asleep as soon as I hit the couch, even without the magic elixir.  I wanted to try to be somewhat coherent when J. called after band practice, so I didn't take my teaspoon of  "Didja get the number of that truck?" until pretty late, but unfortunately well before J. called. 
The black bears were trying to get into the house through any available means.  The windows!  I ran to the windows to close them.  The back door!  I shoved furniture in front of it.  Where was the park ranger?  The front door!  It was bolted, but the biggest bear knew that if he kept bashing against it, he could get in.  I ran around in a panic, trying to hide whatever they were after.  The maple syrup!  The must want the maple syrup!  I grabbed the jar, which now for some reason looked just like Winnie the Pooh's honey pot, and ran around the house like a maniac, looking for a hiding place.  I wrapped it in newspaper,  and tried to get it into a zip-lock bag, but it wouldn't close, no matter how many times I tried. (Come on!  The bears are coming! Blue side and yellow side, zip together,  turn green!) 

Just as I saw that it was hopeless, and a bear snout was making it's way into the basement window, I heard the alarm.  The rangers must know, and they are coming to help.  But wait, that isn't the ranger signal.  That's the phone.  My phone.  In real life... MY PHONE IS RINGING!

I briefly came out of my bear trauma and answered the phone, only to have what I'm sure was a completely incoherent conversation with J. about my diagnosis and the cough medicine from heaven.    I didn't really have to tell him that I'd already taken it, because somehow he already knew.   He said he hoped I felt better after some sleep, and we made plans to talk tomorrow. 

We hung up and I went back to the couch, only to have endless problems with a cell phone that kept falling apart every time I tried to dial.  Oh no, the little nub on the top of the antennae fell off.  Is that important?  Oh, but I used to like to pull up the antennae with my teeth when I was busy, and now it takes both hands.  But that's not the worst of it.  The battery compartment keeps falling off.  I snap it back on, it falls off again.  On, off, on off.  How frustrating!  But wait, now it's ringing, and I can't figure how to pick it up.  Ringing!  It's ringing!  No, it's REALLY ringing.  Open your eyes and get it!

My brother, calling to check in and see if I needed anything from the store.  What a relief, because I was really tired of trying to fix the phone.  Back to the couch, hopefully to sleep without problems. 

And I will get a great night's sleep, as soon as I find my slippers.  The green ones.  Oh, but they are ripped.  And didn't I throw them away months ago?  I must look for the purple ones then.  In my grandma's closet.  The grandma who's been dead for years...

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