I'm writing this from “After-Hours Walk-in Care,” which is different from, but may include, “Urgent Care.” You want to hear the latter when you’re really feeling sick, and the former when you’re convinced it’s nothing. The king-hell screamer is the Emergency Room, of course, but they call that the ED now. The Emergency Department. Room sounds better. Sounds like they’re all in one place where you need them, close at hand.
I’m here because you apparently have to plan for persistent fevers weeks in advance. I’m feeling better than before, but the good news is I’m not 100%! So I’m not wasting anyone’s time. It’s right at the start of the After-Hours Urgent Period; folks are getting home, thinking about dinner before they push away from the table and say “well, best gt down to Urgent Care and have this possum removed from my leg.”
Had to sign some forms about insurance and patient records; they’re private except when they’re not, is the gist. If someone else has to see them, they will have what’s called a DGR-38, or a “Damn Good Reason.” (Everything needs a code, because without a code, you can’t bill, and if you can’t bill, you can’t do a procedure. Codes make it possible for people working at home seven states away to process the paperwork on my visit
Was just called for the prelim. I have no fever. Repeat. None. So I am embarrassing myself here. My blood pressure is normal. It’s darn good, in fact. She tested my oxygen exchange rage, and this was something new: a device that tells how efficient you’re exchanging oxygen in your lungs. Does it by reading information from the capillaries in your fingers. Wow. Never heard of that. Someone invented it. I’m sure it’s had a remarkable impact in speeding up diagnoses. There are tiny wonders everywhere in a suburban office building like this; as with so many other things, one small peek into a foreign environment reveals something they know and take for granted, but looks a magic wand to outsiders.
I have decided that when the doctor comes I will say “actually, I’m just here for some oxycodone. Can you help me out?
And that’s what I did! Always start with a joke. I don’t know if doctors hate that or like that, but I have to think that the parade of gripes and grippes in the After-Urgent Walk-Hours Care shift becomes so tiresome after a while that’s it’s a welcome change of pace to get someone who’s not down in the mouth. While she listened to my lungs with a nicely warmed stethoscope she explained that the oxygen-exchange monitor worked via ultraviolet light, which is even more astonishing. It reads your blood with invisible wavelengths. Her eventual diagnosis was pneumonia allright, which I’d wrestled into submission somewhat because I was STRONG LIKE BOOL and it was also a mild case. It had retreated to the bottom of the left lobe like the diehard Qadaffi fighters in a loyalist stronghold - my term - so I had, technically, Walking Pneumonia. We could let it go for a week and see what happens, and pile on the antibiotics if it’s still around, but why by miserable? Here’s a script for the antibiotics.
So there you go. I am supposed to just take it easy for the next few days. Don’t do much. Stay hydrated. Pound the Vitamin C. This sounds great! but I am already so miserably tired of sitting at home in a shaky state I could go mad. This is where the cards come in, I suppose. When I was a kid, and had to stay home from school, I would be handed a deck of cards that had some game, I don’t know. Something you could do yourself. The box listed the uses and venues. Train - Bus - Sickbed
The sickbed. There was naught to do then but retreat to the sickbed and play cards or watch Western movies on TV in the afternoon and try to keep the crackers down.
Anyway. It’s a column night and I’ll be damned if I know what to do. No ideas, and evening weariness coming down like the usual rain of hammers. I leave you with two installments of Every Disney Short Ever Made, starting here. Pay no attention to what the menu says. I'm flippin' 'em. See you tomorrow, and thanks for the good thoughts.