I was wrong.
Last Tuesday, I slouched my miserable way into the clinic down the street from my house (one of the many, I should say. The South, or at least my corner of it, seems to have a very high clinic-to-population ratio. I blame fatbacks and fried chicken). I went through my usual doctor visitation routine and skulked awkwardly just inside the front doors until one of the front desk ladies took pity on me and gave me 18 forms to fill out with obscure information like my chosen political party (Answer: “No committed alignment”) and the last time I cleaned under my couch cushions (Answer: “Just before I came here–it’s my only income at this point. Incidentally and on an unrelated note, will you accept a co-pay in pennies?”).
I finished off the paperwork, exchanged germs with the trucker sitting next to me, and settled in to wait with my favorite literary brothers (Dmitri, Ivan, and Alyosha, respectively).
Shortly thereafter, and before CNN had finished an interesting segment on “How Old is Too Old to Have Kids?*”, I had been called into the mysterious sterile corridors beyond the waiting room and was weighed, measured, and blood pressured by a very sweet and chatty nurse. (Blood pressure was low. Which is funny, because it was high when I went to the dentist a few months ago. I’m going to average it and say that I’m healthy).
The nurse exchanged place with a doctor. I explained my symptoms. He pulled the old doctor trick of finding out exactly what hurts and then applying intense pressure to it, presumably for some good medical reason or to ensure that you aren’t malingering (but I suspect it might just be good old-fashioned sadism). He then told me that sinus infections can last for months if not treated (d’oh!), but this would clear up within a few days once I got the right meds. Within 10 minutes of meeting him I was diagnosed, prescribed, and out the door.
“Ha!” I thought to myself as I made my sinusy and wobbly way to my car. “I was right to be skeptical–he didn’t do a thorough evaluation at all. I could have anything. I could have brain cancer. All he did was flick my forehead and push on my cheekbones–what does he know? He went to school for this?”
But because I like to play fair and I was out of ways to try to heal myself, I got the antibiotics and took them all as prescribed.
I finished them on Saturday.
And I hate to say it, but I was wrong. I feel better. Lots better. I am upright. I can think. I’m not functioning at quite 100 percent yet, but for the first time in weeks, I am happy to be alive.
Dear future doctor friends of mine, forgive me for my skepticism. I humbly confess that you will probably be very helpful to your future patients, which is particularly good because I’m going to need to borrow some money from you when I’ve harvest the last penny from under my couch. Forgive me?
*I never did find out how old is too old to have kids, and am adding “What if I have kids past the ideal age?” to the list of stupid things that keep me up at night.