There is nothing worse than being sick. Except maybe having to make a phone call to see the doctor about being sick.
You see, I’ve had sinus congestion for the past two weeks. At first I wrote it off as natural consequence of doing something as idiotic as Ironman. But then I decided that even something idiotic doesn’t stick around this long. Nor does it include headaches, yellow snot, and congestion so bad you are mouth breathing all night long.
And honestly, it was the mouth breathing scared me the most. Because who knows what the hell could crawl into your mouth while sleeping like spiders, or mealy bugs, or bed bugs, or…..worse….a transplanted Hawaiian roach.
I hurried right up to make that call.
But no sooner did I make the call than they took my call and promptly put my call on hold. So I sat there listening to sleepy music interrupted occasionally by a woman’s voice convincing me how important my call was before sedating me with bad music again. My call important? Really? Well…then…take my call.
Ten minutes later, someone, a human, a real living voice answers my call. It’s the nurse. Or maybe the receptionist. You can never tell. Even when you go to the office they’re all dressed the same. And no matter what, when you talk with them they seem to be bothered by taking your call. So let me get this straight – you don’t want me to call but if I didn’t call you wouldn’t have any reason to answer calls and they’d have no reason to pay you to sit there to answer calls so again why don’t you like me to call?
The receptionnurse talks to me for a few minutes, agrees that I should see the doctor, and then transfers me to the nurse’s station. I thought I was just talking to the nurse. Didn’t matter because now I’m talking to no one because again I am on hold.
Tick tock tock tock……over 10 minutes have gone by and I haven’t gotten very far with this call other than permission to talk to someone about seeing the doctor.
The nurse answers and then asks me about my symptoms. Just like I said in the last part of the call – headache, congestion, yellow snot. Those three things in any order. “Yes you should probably see the doctor today.”
I thought we already had that covered.
She then transfers me to the booking line. This is the secret behind door number three place you must call to actually book an appointment by using the secret code. Saying the phrase “headache, congestion, yellow snot” three times gets you in, saying it four times gets you put back on hold.
Dammit. I wait for over 5 minutes when someone else answers the line. Just when I think I am this close to booking an appointment she says “I’m sorry for the wait, it will be just another moment.”
A moment? A…moment? If my head wasn’t pounding from sinus congestion I would have pounded it against the table a dozen times to get the frustration of this phone call out of my head.
At this point the call has taken over 15 minutes and I need to wait another moment? What is a moment? Just a moment, let me do the math. I’m sure a moment is not much longer than a second and certainly shorter than a minute so the length of time I’ve been waiting is much longer than a moment more for sure. If you mean ‘a minute’ then say a minute and if you mean 5 minutes and 45 seconds please let me know.
Back to the bad muzak and the timeless unknown. I wait.
The line finally picks up and another – dare I say – nurse says “we need to register you.” Ok, that sounds easy enough. Nurse then proceeds to ask me questions, lots of questions about who I am, what I do, my numbers, my gender, my astrological sign. Now you would think the person they put at this end of the line would have savant skills in phonetics and spelling. Not the case. I think I spelled my last name a dozen times and then my street name. And let me just say in what language is the word middle spelled with two “t’s”?
Then she confirms my symptoms – you’re seeing us for a sinus headache, right? Well, it was a sinus headache but since I’ve waited so long and had to spell my last name along with words that most second graders can spell I now have another headache and I really need to pee. Can you see me for that too?
The appointment is finally set and she concludes by reminding me to arrive a few minutes early so I can fill out the paperwork.
The paperwork? What more could you possibly need to know? You know my mom’s first name and my husband’s social security number which means you have access to my entire life history of embarrassing moments and you can steal my husband’s identity at any time. And unless you can swim/bike/run like him I suggest you think twice. And only believe half of what my mom says about my haircut in the seventh grade. It was her idea.
I arrive 20 minutes early to complete paperwork, sign my life away in privacy acts, disclosure, statements of my health history, assuring them I am not pregnant or on drugs or allergic to latex gloves. And then….I wait. I wait another 40 minutes. 15 minutes until my appointment time then 25 minutes past my appointment in a room so hot and full of people that I am convinced I not only have a sinus headache but monkey pox too. Because the room smelled like monkey and you know – oh you just know – some small child in that office had a pox of some kind.
Finally they call. I sit there and explain to the nurse (haven’t we gone through this already) that I have a congestion, headache, yellow snot…you get the point. The doctor comes in, asks the same questions, I give the same answers. I hesitate at first but tell him this started after Ironman. Ironman can be a blackhole of very confusing conversation – even with a doctor – so use caution where you toss the term around. Of course he asks me more about Ironman – the distances, the time. But rather than linking my infection to that race, he was most interested in the order of events.
“So you bike, run, and swim?”
“You bike, swim, run?”
“You swing, bike, run.”
Let me make this clear - at no point did I swing during Ironman. I can’t speak on behalf of my husband but I’m pretty sure there was no swinging during Ironman.
“You swim, run, then bike?”
Yes. For the purposes of concluding this conversation yes that is the order it was done. He marveled at it for a moment (still not sure how to quantify that), then looked in my nose, said “things look yucky up there” (medical terms) and then confirms – after 25 minutes on the phone, 60 minutes in this office, and another 10 sorting out the order of Ironman – that yes I have a sinus infection indeed.
(there really should be an express lane where you self diagnose and someone just dispenses your meds)
He sends me on my way with a powerful antibiotic and a warning to eat it with food in the stomach – which is not a problem during my third week of rest – because it might cause diarrhea – normally a problem but at this point I don’t care if it caused hair on my chest. I just want to be done with all things doctor even if it means sh*tting myself. Besides, I have a great deal of practice in that already this month so I feel confident should it happen that I could just find the nearest shrub.
After all of that, plus waiting another 30 minutes at the foot doctor and another 25 minutes at the pharmacy, I feel like I need a very powerful beverage on top of my very powerful antibiotic but unsure of the interactions so I settle on sports drink and wait for the stomach rumbles instead.
Cheers to health...