Monday, November 14, 2005

Attack of the Bacteria, and the Subsequent Defending of the Body by Medicine

I woke up last Thursday with the eerie kind of "I feel like crap," feeling which I immediately recognized as something more than my usual morning stupor. I knew that I had to go to the doctor. I knew that there was something actually wrong with me, and that something needed medication. Bodies have a way of telling you what you need if you listen closely. Meg used to say that when you went grocery shopping you could hold whatever vegetable in front of your solar plexus, and if your body naturally leaned toward the food, then you were deficient in whatever vitamins or minerals that food would provide. This is, perhaps, my hokey, sounds-like-voodoo interpretation of what the actual technique involved, but I think I got the basic idea. I needed antibiotics for my throat. And I knew it.

I went up the road to the Rapid Medical Center, a vaguely-decorated office on Broadway in Astoria (where I have been twice before in the eight years that I've lived in this neighborhood) and filled out the paperwork -- after learning that they did not take my insurance -- while occasionally staring into the fish tank, which was empty of fish.

I was called back into room number 1 (though I did not see any other rooms along that hallway) where a nurse took my temperature, my blood pressure, and asked general health questions like "Are you allergic to any medications" and "Do you have any diarrhea?" Moments later, the doctor arrived.

He is a large Chinese man, with thick glasses and an equally thick accent. He proceeded to again ask me the same series of questions that the nurse asked, putting check marks beside what she had written, as if to clarify that my answers had not changed in the last two minutes. Then after listening to my breathing through the stethoscope and looking into my ears, nose and throat, he began sketching something on the paper. He turned the clipboard around to show me a rough drawing of a man, basically just a torso with a head, and then he circled the entire chest with a red pen. "See this," he said. And then he drew an arrow pointing to the throat. "This is what is wrong with you," he said.

My first thought was, of course, "Well, yes, I could have told you that." But I sat patiently while he scrawled the customary impossible-to-read prescription for antibiotics and a cough syrup with antihistimine. The entire experience only reconfirmed my instinct that -- in some cases -- we should be able to prescribe medication for ourselves. Or, for each other, as needed.

While layed-up I watched Kinsey, Born Into Brothels, the last few episodes of season four of Six Feet Under, and several hours of television. I also managed to see Shopgirl in the actual movie theater.

1 comment:

California Health Insurance said...

It is unfortunate to hear so many lack health insurance. We really need to improve our health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many and we should help everyone get covered.