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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Right now, only my cough is productive

I'm not sick. At least, I don't feel sick. Well, except for that low-energy thing. And the runny nose. And the coughing.

Oh, sweet Jesus, the coughing.

I've always been susceptible to coughs. Chronic bronchitis and I go way back. When I was a kid, this meant a daily regime of medications that never did any good. Now that I'm a grown-up, I just cough for a week until it goes away, usually right after I've recovered from some cold-like bug. I avoid the movies. I suck my body weight in honey-lemon cough drops. I lose a pound or two, as my appetite for junk food decreases when my mouth has been thoroughly sterilized by honey-lemon methol. In short, I deal with it, and eventually it goes away.

This cough that's developed over the past week or so, though, is pretty impressive by my standards. Mainly because of the productivity. I cough, and the mucus rises, and I think to myself, Well done, lungs. Well done, gag reflex. Bravo. It's a hearty cough. It's a whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking, deer-hunting cough. It's Hemingwayesque.

Unfortunately, the people around me are not impressed. Das Roomie whined. The student worker suggested hot tea with honey. And my boss told me to go see a doctor.

"That means I have to call my HMO," I tell her. "They assigned me a PCP that isn't in the area."

"How far away?"

"Oh, you know, Sunnyvale."



"Call your HMO."

So I called my HMO. And they asked me what doctor in the LA area I wanted to switch to (note to self: "just pick one for me" doesn't work). So then I went looking for a doctor on the web. And then I called the doctor's office and confirmed they were accepting new patients. And then I called my HMO back. And then I found out that the medical group I'd called didn't accept patients retroactively, and I'd have to wait until May to see them. And then I went looking for another doctor on the web. And then I called them and made sure they accepted patients retroactively. And then I called my HMO and gave them the new doctor's name and found out when I'd get my new insurance card. And then I called the new doctor and scheduled an appointment. And then I hung up the goddamn phone.

Yeah. That only took an hour.

So I'm going to go see a doctor about my Hemingway cough. I predict not-cherry-flavored syrup to be in my future. I'm not particularly pleased about that.

But I'm not particularly pleased about falling asleep at 10 PM last night while watching a Law and Order rerun. And perhaps that's related in some way.

Hey, do you think my cough has aged me fifty years?

There's a chance.

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