21 December 2007


so it's been more than a week that i've been coughing. and the cough doesn't seem to be going away. no matter how diligently i ply it with robitussin or how may hours of sleep i get (8+ the last three nights; heavenly). i'm even enduring a kissing-fast in an effort not to re-infect j(wh) (who seems to actually be getting better). for obvious reasons, i'm ready to stop coughing.

so this morning when i laid in bed hacking and then kept hacking through present-wrapping and email-checking, in spite of my robitussin-taking (i apparently have a thing for hyphens today), i thought i'd best go see a doctor. because maybe my less-cheery friends and family who keep telling me it's walking pneumonia or whooping cough (thanks deborah) may be right. and i actually articulated that thought--that i should go to the doctor--to j(wh). if i hadn't, i probably wouldn't have actually found the info about same-day appointments for grad students or made the phone call or found my insurance card so i could actually go see the doctor. he prodded until i made the call. which is a good thing. and here's why.

in my family, we have an inherent distrust of doctors. well, our parents do anyway. and the kids have inherited it a bit. we never had incredibly regular check-ups once we were older than 7 or 8 or so. doctors were people you saw when you had an emergency. which we did have. i broke my arm three times in 8 years. one of my brothers managed to get seven breaks all at once. and then there were all the various split chins, foreheads, and eyelids (yes, eyelids). and the BB's shot into fingers. and the fingers trimmed along with the hedges. so you see, we definitely know about emergencies and manage to trust doctors then. but for regular preventive health care? or for ordinary, run-of-the-mill sickness (more hyphens)? not so much. my parents have this weird phobia that going to the doctor will just make things worse.

an example. a few years ago my mom tripped and fell down about seven or eight stairs, landing on her head on the tile floor at the bottom. that was on friday evening. did she go to the doctor? after landing on tile on her head? no. of course not. why should she? it's just her head. my dad did take her to the doctor the next day, but still. and that's just one example. last year, my dad thought he had walking pneumonia. did he go to a doctor? no. he called a friend who happens to be an OB-GYN and talked him into prescribing antibiotics.

and then there are his ribs. which he thinks he cracked when he fell off his bike earlier this week. they hurt so bad that last night he grabbed his chest with a look of pain on his face. which naturally alarmed my mom and i, who immediately went into emergency mode. she was ready to run and catch him so he wouldn't fall and i was heading for the phone to call 911 as we asked what was wrong. his answer? 'i need to sneeze and it's going to hurt!' but of course he won't go to the doctor to find out if his ribs are actually broken or not. he just says they can't do anything about it so why go?

and that about sums up my parents' attitude about doctors. they can't make it better. and they'll probably make it worse. so why go? and i've managed to inherit a bit of that attitude. but apparently being able to kiss j(wh) again is a good enough reason to send me off to the doctor. that and shaking the cough, of course.


  1. Er, your dad should go see a doctor in case the ribs are broken badly enough to start tearing up other organs. Like his lung.

    Your family is starting to piss me off!

  2. WOW ~ J(wh), impressive that you were able to get her to visit the doctor, given the family history with docs in the past. I believe Zeeny once had a dentist leave a tiny peice of dental tool in her mouth while doing a root canal!

  3. but j(wh), lungs are like heads. not all that important in the grand scheme of things...

    i know he should go see the doctor. but he just says they'll just charge him $1000 for x-rays and tell him they can't do anything and not to cough or laugh or sneeze too hard. he'd also point out that it doesn't hurt enough to keep him from going on a 40 mile bike ride (he just got back), so it can't be all that bad.

    lallie, dentists are a whole nother beast. i hate the dentist. in a way that i don't hate any other living being. not a specific dentist. just the dentist. pretty much any dentist. they don't even have to leave bits and pieces of dental tools in my teeth to earn my hate. they just have to exist.

  4. Is your pops self-insured right now? Health insurance usually covers tests.

  5. no. they have some kind of insurance. state provided i think. for retired people. but there may be a deductible or something. don't know. i just know he's stubborn (as is my mom) when it comes to not seeing a doctor.

    and the update from my visit to the doctor: it's not walking pneumonia and it's not whooping cough. just a plain old cold that i get to deal with. but having just spent an evening talking with friends over dinner without too much coughing, i'm hopeful that it will be gone soon.

  6. that's funny,, because the only group of people that I distrust that much are LAWYERS.