Lordy Y'all, have I been one sick puppy. It started last Saturday with a small code in my node and then evolved into The Cough (echo, echo, echo). Not a namby-pamby little 'ahem', this. The Cough was a spastic-rib-snapping-harbor-seal-like-repetitive-barking nightmare that left me curled up in the fetal position, seeing stars and trying to get some semblance of air into my now inside-out-and-clearly-on-fire lungs. By Tuesday afternoon I was spending half the time scared that I was gonna die and the other half afraid I wouldn't, so Mr. Bee bundled us up and trudged us off to Urgent Care.
The Cough and I stood three people back in line at registration with a massive wad of Puffs Plus trying to be inconspicuous. We failed miserably. We basically cleared the room of all but necessary personnel, who at this point were wondering just how necessary they were really. I got to the head of the registration line quicker than usual as the two folks ahead of me decided that they clearly weren't that ill; broken limbs and massive bleeding from the head be damned. The lady behind the desk looked right into my tear-streaming eyes, waited for me to stop seizing for air, and asked me why I needed to be seen. I croaked, "I think I may be coming down with a little cold." She didn't even crack a smile. She thrust a surgical mask at me, gingerly took my $15 co-pay with a speed I haven't seen from my HMO in a looong time, told me there would be an hour wait, and waved me away from her area with a flick of her wrist. People tend to have no sense of humor when they feel you are capable of giving them The Death Virus at any moment.
The waiting room was packed so Mr. Bee, The Cough and I took the only two seats available in the crowded room. One look at the surgical mask and the lady to my left took her leave to stand across the room and glare at The Cough suspiciously for the next thirty minutes until her name was called. Everyone else bravely held their ground although leaning as far away from us as possible. They occupied their time stealing peeks at the freak in the mask, wincing sympathetically at The Cough, and hanging their heads in guilt when their name was called to go get their hangnail looked at.
Finally it was our turn. We had a peach of a nurse who took my vitals, gamely risking her life to actually touch me with Latex gloves. She slyly whispered several time-proven methods to exorcise The Cough, made the sign of the cross in the air, whispered, "May the Lord Be With You, Child" and scurried out to count her many blessings. A few minutes later, in waltzes Dr. Suav-ay. He strode across the room, hand thrust forward, introducing himself. The Cough took this as an opportunity for one-ups-manship and stepped up to let his presence be known. Dr. Suav-ay stopped coming towards us, withdrew his hand, made a big arc around us and said, "Maybe I'll just wave from over here." Great. We scared a sacred-man-of-the-stethescope.
After searching frantically for some kind of a NASA-inspired, HAZMAT suit and coming up woefully wanting, he settled for over zealously applying liberal quantities of Purell and creating a three-foot buffer zone of safety between the two of us by backing up his rolly stool further and further while he asked me about my symptoms. He discovered the error of this method when he realized that he would actually need to look for The Cough's lair in my ears, nose, and eyes with his magic peeking-into-head-holes thingy. This called for another coat of Purell that looked like it had been applied with a firemen's hose, but God love him, he got in there and looked and even listened to my back and chest to see if he could hear where The Cough was hiding. No luck, so he proclaimed it 'a virus', prescribed some Codeine cough medicine and a bunch of over the counter stuff and told me to 'go home and get better'. Thank Goodness for medical insurance. I would have never thought of any of that on my own. I swear I heard him whisper, "Demon, Be Gone!" as he raced from the room.
I filled the prescription and took some right away. People, we can put a man on the moon and get toothpaste in those little tubes, can we please make medicine that doesn't taste like elixir of hemlock and rat poison? Bleck! PLUS the fact it didn't work and only ticked The Cough off. He spent all night proving how impervious he was to the voodoo potions of the medical community.
Wednesday morning, I felt like I had been lifting refrigerators all day and sounded like someone with a two-cartons-of-unfiltereds-a-day habit. I was about to give up and resign myself to a life of misery, obviously I was working off several incarnations of bad karma, when Mr. Bee saved the day. He went to the gas station on the corner and came back carrying an extra large hot chocolate. Aside from the fact that it was in a styrofoam cup with its own undertow, there didn't seem to be anything extraordinary about it. But I'm telling y'all, it was magical. It instantly soothed my ravaged throat and quelled The Cough for minutes at a time. Eventually enough minutes racked up so that I could actually SLEEP! For the first time in days. I started to gather strength and wrestled The Cough into submission! It's now Friday and I can say with confidence that The Cough has been banished to the Underworld from whence it came. I still have a few battle scars such as the inability to blow my nose because my ribs hurt so bad, and a voice that could actually be a benefit should I decide to enter a 900 number business venture, but overall I think I'm gonna live, People! Which just goes to show you, CHOCOLATE CAN CURE ANYTHING! I've been practicing preventive medicine for years, but will make a concerted effort to up my dosage from now on! I suggest you all do the same!