...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ribbed

After coughing and sneezing all through the month of December and suffering through severe chest pain that I was positive was a fractured rib, I finally went to the doctor on New Year's Eve. The doctor listened to my lungs through a stethoscope for a moment, then announced that I had walking pneumonia. (Me: "What's the difference between regular pneumonia and walking pneumonia?" Doctor: "Walking pneumonia is where you walk around coughing for a month." Me: "Touché.") She prescribed this breathing treatment, a kind of inhaler-machine of nebulized steroids that I breathed into for about twenty minutes in her office and that made me incredibly jittery, then said some of the most feared words I could imagine: "Is there any possibility that you might be pregnant?" She ordered a pregnancy test to make absolutely sure that I wasn't before sending me down to have my ribs X-rayed, since the radiation could damage a fetus. I knew that the pregnancy test would come back negative but that didn't stop me from freaking out slightly while I waited. At this point I'm still tweaking like crazy from the steroid breathing treatment. I've only had X-rays taken once before in my life and I started crying while I was waiting for the technician to call me into the lab. Luckily I pulled it together before the technician was ready for me.

As it turned out my ribs looked fine and the doctor hypothesized that my chest pain is coming from an inflammation in the lining of my right lung that's pressing against my rib cage in an uncomfortable way. She offered to prescribe me Vicodin for the pain but I turned it down, since the idea of taking something so addictive made me nervous. I went away with prescriptions for a narcotic cough syrup, non-narcotic cough suppressant pills, an antibiotic for my lung infection, and an inhaler. She advised that I take at least one day off from work and suggested that I consider taking the rest of the week off. For various reasons I ended up only taking one day off.

When my health insurance first kicked in, several months ago, I was shocked at how expensive it was and joked that I better break a leg or something to make it worth the hundreds of dollars that I've already paid into it. I take it back! I hate being sick. At this point I've finished the course of antibiotics and am halfway through the delicious narcotic cough syrup, but I'm still coughing and it still feels like there's a metal band around my lungs. If I'm not better by MLK Day, I'm going to make another doctor's appointment. It's an inauspicious beginning to 2008, to say the least.