Let me tell you a little story about how I ended up at the doctor. In full disclosure, my parents will no doubt read this and might complain about some details, and I must admit there might be an embellishment or two, but trust me, this is damned close to what happened.
My father, calls me under the pretense of discussing the Lightning’s drubbing of my Colorado Avalanche. Was an ugly affair and one I hope is not repeated.
We talk a bit about the game, joke about a few things, and my father asks, “You been to the doctor?”
Then I hear as if from another planet, my mother shouting “IS THAT PAUL?” My mother does not have a strong voice, so I cannot explain to you how ominous it is when she uses all of it.
Suddenly I’m an animal caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi. What should I say? She sounds pissed. Should I lie? Gripped with panic, I finally find the word I don’t want to say and stammer, “No.”
“IS THAT PAUL! HAS HE BEEN TO THE DOCTOR?”
The voice. It conjures the look of fury only a mother can have for their spawn or partner. It bores into you like a super heated laser, melts the flesh of your resolve, and shatters any delusion you ever had that you were an independent human being and completely beyond the childhood terror an angry parent is so adept at inciting.
“Now you’ve done it,” my father says and I can see the shit-eating grin on his face, the way his skin wrinkles around his blue eyes when he’s on the verge of a belly laugh.
I hear my mother breathing and my imagination conjures a dragon looking with disappointment at her hatchling that didn’t properly consume the human she had brought for a meal. The dragon is about to breathe fire and not the kind the hatchling enjoys.
She’s no longer far away–she’s taken the phone.
“YOU CALL THE DOCTOR THIS INSTANT!”
The voice shrieks through the phone making my hearing aid crackle with static and my body tremble with fear.
With that, she hands the phone back to my Dad.
Still in the throes of childhood terror, I say dumbly, “You set me up, didn’t you?”
My father merely laughs. “Call the doctor, son. She has spoken.”
I have COPD. I have had respiratory issues since I was a kid and after 30 years of smoking, it should surprise no one that I’ve made things worse. Poor judgement and a lust for self-destruction tends to be an excellent mix for finding ways to kill yourself. Cigarettes were certainly mine.
Be that as it may, I was diagnosed with COPD when the first C-19 wave came sweeping through town and ended up with a high-powered inhaler that works quite well for the condition. The problem is that it can wreak havoc on your immune system and can even give you thrush. Not going to describe that one–go look it up.
So my immediate thought was that I’d gotten thrush or something similar from the inhaler. With that in mind, I visited my doc this morning.
After checking my respiratory and pulmonary and O2 absorption and all that other garbage, and after I mentioned I’d had a negative COVID test two days before, he wrinkles his nose and says, “Strep. Might be strep.”
He departs and the medical assistant arrives, takes a painful swab from my throat, and disappears leaving me to continue reading and enjoying Ed Lorn’s Bay’s End (highly recommend it, by the way). After a fifteen minute wait, the assistant enters the exam room with two pieces of paper.
“No strep,” she says.
I blink at her. “So…”
“Tea and honey. Gargle with saltwater. It’ll really help. Also, try and limit how much you talk until you’re better. Allergies are terrible for everyone right now and you’re susceptible to the awful air.” She shakes her head. “Bad for everyone like you.”
Since C-19, I’ve worn an N95 mask, not worn a mask, etc, just like most other human beings on the planet that have become complacent. The funny thing is, because of the masks, I can walk the dog and actually do lawn work without being doubled over and hacking like a man thirty years my senior. The sad part is this is probably my new normal.
Guess I need to be more diligent about wearing it outside until we actually get some rain here. Dry as a bone, hotter than hell. It’s only June.
Regardless, I’ll have a little jibber jab in Friday’s episode, but I doubt it will be much. I’m going to rest my voice and focus on writing for the moment.
The content is coming folks. Thank you for your patience.