Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good news and bad news

Good News: I don't have the flu anymore.

Bad News: It's bronchitis.

Today, I woke up feeling a lot crappier than usual, and really, really congested. I was out of energy, too, and had trouble getting out of bed; this, I remedied by hooking my arms around my bent knee and flexing my thigh, pulling me up in the process (like getting up from a squat, except sideways. Or a really screwed-up sit-up).

Everything was extremely tender and painful; combing my half-dry hair after the shower caused some tears. I took a very hot shower, but the steam did little to help with my congestion. After a brief moment of thought, I decided to use my rescue inhaler, since I already have asthma and I didn't want to take chances; the bad thing about this is that it makes me extremely shaky, because it's albuterol. I hate that stuff. But it definitely helped with my congestion.

My "Horrible" post was on Monday. Tuesday and yesterday, I felt a lot better and actually went to my classes and Anime Society (yesterday). Today, I've gotten worse, AGAIN. I called Mom in the hopes of feeling a little better, and she insisted, very forcefully, that I should go to the clinic, since I've been sick for a week.

So I did so - after hanging up with Mom, I called the clinic (see, this is why I don't throw any of my previous appointment slips away, because I was able to find their number in a few seconds) and scheduled an appointment for half an hour from the present time. I usually schedule appointments with them every two weeks on Tuesday for my allergy shots, so they kind of know me over there. Furthermore, the lady thought I sounded really congested over the phone, so she happily offered an earlier time than I thought was available (because everyone is sick).

Shortly after coming in early, I was taken back and was asked basic questions by the very, very nice nurse. I apologized for my vagueness, as everything's kind of a blur when I'm sick and my symptoms varied from day to day. After she left, the doctor came in. He was really nice, too. He did the usual doctor-y things, checking my lungs and and all that jazz. He said that he suspected that I had the flu, but wanted to do some bloodwork (he first asked if I had insurance, of course). I was very surprised when he said that there'd only be a 15-minute wait to get the results.

Here's the thing - usually, when I get bloodwork done, the doctor sends the blood to an external lab, like Quest Diagnostics. As a result, I would always have to schedule a return appointment in at least a week to discuss the results. So the fact that I would only have to wait a little bit before discussing the results was a bit of surprise - granted, I bet that they weren't running the full elaborate battery of tests, but they were still looking at teeny-weeny microscopic little cells in a lab that was probably already looking at other people's teeny-weeny little cells because everyone is sick.

I was escorted to the lab, sat on a bizarre bench (it had swiveling armrests on both sides) specifically for getting my blood drawn, and was attended to by yet another very nice person. She was not only nice, but skilled - after checking both arms for my veins, she decided on my left and struck the vein on her first try. Within what had to be an absolute MAXIMUM of twenty seconds, she had the blood she needed, with minimum pain and external bleeding (she put a bandaid on after I held a cotton ball on it for a few seconds, but I honestly didn't need it, because I wasn't bleeding anymore). She put a drop on two slides, smeared them, and then asked me to go to the lobby and wait. Of course, I did what I was asked.

Now, while I was sitting in the lobby, there was a TV with CNN going. Why they do this is beyond me, as this place is more conservative than Las Vegas. Let me elaborate on this. On my way back home, I passed a car with a McCain bumper sticker, and I've seen practically no cars with Obama ones. In Las Vegas, you'll find a TON of cars with pro-Obama (or even old ones, like Kerry) on their cars. Here, you have people talking about the fact that they'll miss school because X day is the first day of deer hunting season. I've seen some army ROTC members in the parking lot with geese they've hunted (those suckers were HUGE, I didn't even know they got so big!!!). People I know in band have guns at home, and know how to use them. You know the drill. In Las Vegas, if you criticize Obama, you're racist, if you're anti-illegal immigration, you're racist. But people seem to have no problems with that here.

Back to CNN. How President Obama can blast Fox for "having a perspective" and not CNN is beyond me. Oh, wait, it's because they praise him every five seconds. When I first sat down, they were gushing about all of the black women Obama had in his Administration. That's all fine and dandy, but what about the other people in the Administration? Are they just not as important because they're white or male? They were just as qualified to be chosen. So why aren't they as special? I dunno, maybe I'm looking too much into this, or maybe it's because I'm still so bitter about the fact that it was extremely difficult for me to find scholarships that were open to whites (so many scholarships wanted "minority" races, despite the fact that there was no freaking way I, or thousands of other "whites", could ever pay for college with my own money).

And then they had a brief segment "linking" obesity with cancer, even though they explicitly stated that they couldn't justify why without using a bunch of quote-unquote "theories" that were incredibly vague (and barely scientific). One of these was that being fat apparently hinders the immune system. Bullshit. My mom was easily the healthier of the two of us, illness-wise, even before she lost weight. I got sick more often than she did, and she worked in a medical office, with sick people! And then after that, she massaged people from all over the world, who may or may not be sick at the time. I briefly mentioned that my mom was healthier than me under my breath while I was sitting there, and I girl sitting across from me smiled and agreed. And even if she secretly didn't agree with me, I would've gotten a dirty look or something if I was in Vegas.

I got called back, and the doctor went over my results. White blood cell count is established on a scale of 5 to 10. I was 12 (or, specifically, 11.5); he said that since I was younger, my body could put up more of a fight than, say, his (he was old enough that his hair was silvering), hence the past-10 number, something that someone his age wouldn't be able to pull off. However, something involving lymphs had barely risen, despite all of the other specifics being high, indicating that it wasn't a virus (and thus not the flu), but was instead bacterial. He said that, given my high congestion symptoms and the fact that it was bacterial, that it was most likely bronchitis, or something that could also be killed with antibiotics. He said that combined with the previous incidents of chills and fever, there's a chance that, earlier, I could've possibly had pneumonia instead of the flu.

He prescribed me some antibiotics (that I had to take three times a day for ten days) and cough medicine to help me sleep (as I had run out of my NyQuil) and help with my mid-sleep coughing fits that have apparently been waking up my roommate. And then I was escorted out and I thanked him and left.

I've never felt so nicely treated by people at a medical clinic before, with the exception of the people at my allergist, but they were specialized and thus were more able to get to know everyone. We're talking about the ONE student health clinic on campus that sees EVERYONE for EVERYTHING. They were very nice and extremely timely. I felt very satisfied by the care I had received.

On the way home, I opted to walk to the pharmacy, since I figured that I was outside anyway, and I needed to pick up two regular prescriptions I had called in online earlier today.

The people at this pharmacy, despite not being related to or even in the same building as the medical clinic, were also very nice. Even as they were having issues processing things with Tricare, they still filled my prescriptions and let me pay for them and take them home.

About this. Apparently, Tricare likes to change things sometimes. Unfortunately, this means that they get overwhelmed and their servers go down. I sat for about twenty minutes in the pharmacy as the poor ladies kept trying, over and over again, to make my shit go through to Tricare. Ladies and gentlemen, government-run health insurance. Now imagine if Tricare covered millions more and included a lot more people that got drugs the instant their kid complained of a headache or a cough (in comparison to me, who has regular prescriptions picked up once a month and only gets meds when I'm really, really sick). I can see why the pharmacists are not at all happy about this idea.

After I walked back with my meds, I immediately took my antibiotics and asked the RA to get me a sick tray. After eating THAT, while typing this up, I got really sleepy (in part, I think, because I'm crashing from the inhaler) and took a cough-filled nap. And then I woke up and finished typing this.


dick said...

Sorry you're feeling bad, kiddo.
I'd recommend a few fingers of some good black tequila, but your mom would kick my butt.

Buck said...

I'm glad your experiences with the medicos/pharmacy were positive. As an aside: TriCare has been very, very good to me and mine!

memory_lucky12 said...

Wow. The hospital on base usually has terrible service (for foreign people). They treated my mom with utter disrespect just because she had an accent. And the same with her friend. At least your clinic has better service... But other than that my hospital is normal I guess. Hope you feel better...

Just one request...

Can you have at least sometimes somewhat shorter posts? I know I'm being assenine, but I'm allowed to be to you because I'm your sister. ;)

Silver the Evil Chao said...

Dick: Sorry, underage, haha. Plus, there's nowhere on campus where I can buy alcohol anyway.

Buck: Tricare has been very good to me, too, it's just really, really slooooow. The clinic charges my account $40 until Tricare pays them and it sometimes sits in my account for weeks!

Memory: Sorry, no can do. Mom likes my really long and detailed posts, and she's the main reason why I blog in the first place.