I Went To The Doctor With a Cough. Here Is What Happened

And it leads to a larger question: are we ready to still be there for each other?

By kncitom on March 9, 2020

Well I managed to pick the worse time ever to come down with a sinus infection.

Late last week I had a small cough I chalked up to allergies. Saturday, spent the day fishing, and felt great. 

But then Sunday night…wham-o. It’s like someone turned a badger loose in my throat and my cough got worse.  Monday morning I visited my doctor, where the receptionist heard me rasp “hi” and immediately handed me a surgical mask. If she could’ve mailed it to me, I think she would have.

So, I sat down in the waiting room and could feel the stares. It didn’t help that I continued to cough, although I was trying mightily not to- which only makes you seem worse because the cough is transferred to your whole body and you convulse like you’re getting tazed. I understood the looks.

Of course, this is where we’re at now with this Coronavirus: any little sniffle, cough, sneeze, or twinge in the throat is going to leave you wondering, “Is this it? Do I have it?” Or leave someone else wondering “Is that it? Do they have it?”

I couldn’t help but think about it myself. My wife and I had been overseas recently. We were at that Miranda Lambert concert with 20,000 other people from God-Knows-Where walking around with God-Knows-What (if you were there, I obviously don’t mean you). The odds of it being Coronavirus would be, of course, miniscule. But still, we’re a panicky bunch, the human race. Look at the current run on toilet paper- and Coronavirus doesn’t even affect people much, um, down there.

So, yes, on the drive over, I admit considering the fleeting possibility that somehow, I’d been unlucky enough to hit the Coronavirus lotto.

Thankfully, I didn’t- and my doctor ruled that out quickly: did any of my symptoms included shortness of breath (no)? Fever (only a mild one)? She then checked my throat and listened to my lungs and diagnosed sinus infection. 

For the first sinus infection of my life ever, I was not unhappy to hear that.

So, current status: my voice sounds like I’ve gargled barbed wire and I’m still coughing and wheezing like a nervous chihuahua. But I’ve got my meds now and should be back at work in the next day or two. I am a lucky guy.

Thing is, Coronavirus is real, and next time the receptionist hands me a mask, it could be warranted. I hope not. I hope our leaders and medical professionals bring this thing to heel so we can return to an America where a cough is just a cough and 24 packs of Charmin are no longer in short supply. And not just because, you know, pandemics suck. 

It’s also important to remember the lives that could be disrupted, and that are, right now. Talking to the young nurse’s assistant before the doctor came in, she told me her daughter attends school in a district where there is talk of shutting down schools for a week, just like Elk Grove Unified recently did. She said she’s one of the lucky parents whose employers already have contingency plans for parents, so her child will be fine. But, she wondered, what about all those other parents who don’t work for such employers? How will they respond? It’s a great question.

I’m an err-on-the-side-of-caution guy. Always have been. But it’s more vital than ever for us all to be as educated as possible and then maintain a sense of perspective: those at most risk are older, and/or with compromised immune systems. These precautions we take are, yes, for ourselves but really, they’re most important for those who are highest risk. If we all do our part to keep someone’s dad, or grandmother, from coming down with this dumb virus, in way, we’ll have done our part to Be The Good. So that’s pretty cool.

But even as these disruptions come our way, and our lives are jiggled out of their predictable routines, let’s be there for each other with patience, empathy and understanding, whether the worst of the pandemic comes to pass or not. Because at the end of the day, we are all we have.

Plus, you never know when you may need to borrow a roll of toilet paper.  




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