Over a week ago I made an appointment to see my doctor--my head was plugged solid with gunk, throbbing and aching badly. I couldn't catch my breath. I've caught pneumonia in the last couple springs (I have asthma, so anything settling in my chest gets complicated), so I wanted to be proactive. My doctor is a gentle man, the father of 4 sweet daughters and mild-mannered as the day is long. He felt my symptoms hadn't been around long enough to merit antibiotics, so Dr. Waitandsee suggested I take an over-the-counter sinus medication and recommended I keep using my inhalers as I'd been doing. He was reluctant to prescribe anything stronger, certain that I'd heal within a few days. I left his office skeptical but I followed Dr. Waitandsee's instructions to the letter, taking the OTC drugs, puffing on my inhalers, swishing saline through my nasal passages and spending most afternoons lying in bed wishing I had energy to pursue my regular activity.
Yesterday I saw the doctor on call. My head was still plugged, my ears still stuffy, my head still achy, and now? Now I wheezed--like that Penguin squeaky toy in Toy Story II. I kept losing my breath, I'd wake several times a night coughing unproductively. I still lay in bed every afternoon, my life piling up in disarray while I lingered in illness (doesn't that last bit sound so gothically romantic?). Dr. Oncall had a firm handshake and brisk manner (I could easily picture him golfing, he wore a polo shirt and brought in an assistant to type his notes into the computer), checked over my chart, lobbed questions at me and inspected my ears, throat and lungs. Like a general mapping out battle strategy, he assessed me and my health history. Ear infection confirmed, not quite pneumonia, but definitely requiring a one-two punch of better pharmaceutical power. He prescribed a Z-pack of antibiotics, oral steroids and stronger inhaler. "This should get you back on your feet within 24 hours," he assured me, shaking my hand again with exuberant Alpha Male confidence.
Reader, I kind of like Dr. Oncall. I'd love to know what he'd have told me a week ago. My right ear still burns a little and I can't hear 100% yet, I woke up with another headache, but the wheezing has stopped and my lungs feel like they're at 75% capacity--all inside of 24 hours. I think I might even go the whole day without needing a nap. Have you ever switched doctors within the same practice? Is it as diplomatically challenging as switching hair stylists? When I'm down and out, I don't want cautious TLC, I want BLTC (Better Living Through Chemicals) from a doctor willing to treat my symptoms aggressively.
And reader, I promise if you come to visit me (because you're on a book tour, vacationing, en route to a Packer game) I will honor you and your travel companions with a cheese platter and New Glarus beer. Proper Dairyland hospitality guaranteed.