Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

In the Deep Chill of the Night, an Impatient Patient Takes Over

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

In the Deep Chill of the Night, an Impatient Patient Takes Over

Article excerpt

I prided myself on being an agreeable person. Then the chills hit.

I blamed the first small shiver on our Southern Indiana variations in temperature. I turned up my office space heater and ignored it.

Then a little tickle grew in my upper chest as phlegm began to coat my bronchial tubes.

By the time I left work, I was ice-cold, coughing and achy and suspected a fever was brewing. I only believed I was truly sick when my old-fashioned mercury thermometer registered 101.4.

I did all the "right" things: alternated analgesics and NSAIDS every two hours, smeared myself with mentholatum and filled my largest glass with ice water which I drained often. And I went to bed dressed in a flannel nightgown, a sweatshirt and covered in four blankets.

Every two hours I was back awake, the chills returning. More Tylenol or Naproxen and more water.

Somewhere along the path, my agreeable self went into hibernation. I became an impatient patient.

In this day of instant information, instant food and instant gratification, I wanted instant wellness. After a day, the fever should be gone; by two, I'd had enough of the cough; by the third, when both still persisted, I was as discouraged as if I'd lost my best friend. It wasn't that I was eager to get back to all my activities; I just wanted to feel better. I began to worry if I could get better.

I Googled my symptoms; I talked to the phone nurse to see if I needed testing for the flu; I wondered if adults who still have tonsils get any infection-fighting benefits from them and I Googled that (inconclusive).

While colleagues were getting Z-paks of antibiotics, my doctor recommended over-the-counter zinc-filled cough lozenges and effervescent vitamin drinks. They worked for him, he said. But to me they just didn't sound as powerful as a Z-Pak. "Come back in 10 days, if you need it," he offered. …

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