I have had pretty much the same cough since the Johnson Adminstration.
My mother burned out any number of those old black and turquoise vaporizers when I was a kid. Vick’s Vapo-Rub was the scent of my childhood. It goes away for long stretches, but every time I get any kind of cold it comes back and lingers long after the cold disappears. Face it, if the next great pandemic is respiratory just say goodbye to me now.
I’m in the middle of one of these at the moment, and it’s kind of annoying to be honest. Not just the coughing, which is annoying enough as it is, but also the things that the coughing makes you do. Such as sleep elsewhere until you finally find some kind of medicine that will allow your wife to get a good night’s rest. Such as taking this medicine for a week before you read on the box that it is supposed to be orange flavored, because you never in a million years would have guessed that from the available evidence. Such as trying to teach a class without sounding like a tuberculosis ward.
Eventually I started to wonder if perhaps I should get this checked out. I am one of the lucky ones in this country who actually has health insurance, after all, and it would seem churlish not to put it to good use. Not everyone can do that.
On Thursday I called over to the doctor’s office and asked if perhaps I ought to come in for a visit. I spoke with one of the nurses for a while, describing my general state, and after a while she said that they’d had a cancellation that afternoon and perhaps I should take it.
So I went.
The doctor was over an hour late in actually seeing me, which I suppose I should not have been surprised by since he, like everyone else in late-capitalist America, is governed by bean counters who believe he can accomplish far more than any realistic estimate of what a doctor can accomplish per unit time and who get persnickety when that illusion is dispelled.
He went through much the same process as the nurse had, though in person this time. There was also a certain amount of requested hyperventilating while he listened to my lungs.
Eventually he told me that I had some kind of condition which, as near as I could figure, translated as “You have a cough, and it is causing you to cough more. If you can stop coughing, you won’t need to cough.”
It sounded more official when he said it.
So now I have a short term prescription for much higher power medication, in the fond hopes that it will be able to do what generations of black and turquoise vaporizers could not. “Let me know if it works,” he said, which implies that he’s about as optimistic as I am but we agreed it couldn’t hurt.
In the meantime, I feel fine even if I do sound like a Harley in bad need of a tune up. It makes me feel more like a Wisconsinite, anyway.