By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur "living the dream in the Pacific Northwest."
Yeah, it’s my own fault. I do not get flu shots each year. This year, I managed to catch a mild case of the flu. Frankly, I’m not certain that I didn’t catch it from one of our granddaughters – who was coughing all during our Christmas brunch.
Well, whatever the source, I am happy to report that I am on the mend. I did decide to go see one of those “urgent care – walk in clinics.” Actually, they are a very handy facility in our community. We have one just behind the Fred Meyer on 132nd St – on the Bothell Everett Highway. The place has at least several doctors (they’re called “providers”) who are always on staff while the clinic has “open” walk in hours.
So, you just “walk in,” register and pay your co-pay fee depending upon what health care coverage you have. Ours happens to be a Medicare Advantage plan which allows us to seek medical care from any doctor who accepts Medicare. Ours is a very cost effective $10 co-pay fee. So you sign up, and then just wait until your turn comes up.
I had visited this clinic one time previously. So I didn’t have to fill out ten pages of forms in which I am asked to write my name, date of birth, address and telephone number at least 30 times. They have excellent computer records – so unless you’ve changed your address or type of health care coverage you have, you don’t have to tediously re-fill out all those forms again.
They start by taking you “back there” during which they gather the “basic” current health information. That includes temperature, blood pressure, percentage of oxygen saturating in your blood, weight and a few other vitals.
I never miss an opportunity to joke with the admitting nurse by asking, “Do I have a temperature?”
They always answer, “No you don’t.”
So, then I say, “So I must have some temperature. So is my temperature room temperature?” that in effect would mean I was dead.
Funny, they never seem to get my “joke.”
I’ve fought high blood pressure just about my entire life. I have been on blood pressure medication for years. So I always look forward to having that blood pressure cuff measure it – to see whether I am within “normal” range. Now that I am on medication, I usually am “right on the mark” for what it should be.
By the way, that blood pressure machine is called a Sphygmomanometer. Try and pronounce that three times quickly. (Impossible!) I always ask the admitting nurse to name the machine. So far, none of them have ever been able to – even though the name is printed right on the face of the machine.
So what were my symptoms of the flu? First, a tickle in my throat which especially at night while I was resting in a horizontal position, caused me to start coughing – in many cases for a minute or more – while I struggled to catch my breath. Second, a slight case of the chills. Easily handled by draping a blanket around my shoulders.
Now my wife was very supportive during my recovery. (Her typical response while I'm coughing: “Hey moron, why didn’t you get a flu shot?” And she elected to sleep in another room so my coughing jags did not awake her at 3:00 am.
I can never remember whether the “old saying” is “feed a fever, starve a cold” or vice versa. All I can say is my appetite never varied during the illness. I still ate all three meals a day and looked forward to eating them.
About the most positive thing I can say about not being 100% is that it is a wonderful time to catch up on one’s reading. I think I went through three James Patterson books and several others while sitting around the house. I am currently working my way through the latest Tom Clancy thriller.
Next time I’ll write about trying to stay awake during the impeachment hearings. Frankly, they are much better than any sleeping pill ever invented.