A Visit To The Doctor

I just got back from an appointment with my internist.  It was just supposed to be a routine follow-up, but as it turned out I caught a cold from one of the contractors working on the bathroom.  The cold has been settling in my chest, and since I have asthma, it’s always a trouble spot.

Tim was listening to me breathe last night, even using my inhaler to the maximum, and said he didn’t like the way it sounded.  I didn’t like the way it felt or sounded.  Turns out my O2 saturation level is low (94) and I’m wheezing deep in my lungs.  Bronchitis!  Treated with 5 days of Prednisone.

Turns out I have a love hate relationship with steroids.  I like that I will be breathing better within 24 hours.  I like that I will have a tremendous energy boost.  I like that it takes away many of my joint and muscle pain.  I don’t like that it raises my blood sugar and makes me put on weight.

I have two things going on in my head right now.  The first is why I have so much trouble admitting that I’m sick and need to rest and take care of myself.  The only reason I’m writing this, right now, is that I feel too guilty putting my jammies back on and crawling back into bed (which is what I feel like doing).  For some reason, unless I’m running a fever and really can’t move, resting when I’m sick is somehow akin to heresy.  it doesn’t matter that I’m wheezing.  That I’m having trouble breathing, and that I don’t have enough oxygen in my bloodstream to support huge amounts of movement.  I will sit at the computer playing solitaire, rather than climb back into bed with a cat and a book.

I remember, 30 years agao, when I had a cold and a cough.  I kept going to work, swigging Robitussin from the bottle, taking antihistamines and decongestants, but going to work every day.  After a few weeks, the cough wasn’t getting better.  Only when I was hacking my lungs out, and suddenly felt like someone had clamped an iron band around my chest, did I go to the doctor.  Said doctor gave one listen, and diagnosed pneumonia without even needing a chest x-ray.  That ended me flat on my back with high doses of antibiotics, codeine and alcohol based cough medicine, and a variety of other things.  I remember the cough medicine.  1 teaspoon and I had 15 minutes to find a horizontal position before I was asleep for 4 hours.  Which was, by the way, the doctor’s intent.

So, this unwillingness to take to my bed unless I’m on death’s door is not a new phenomenon.

Does anyone else experience this?  Does anyone else think they’re being a baby or a wimp if they actually rest out a cold, virus, etc.  What about bronchitis?

Please leave me your comments and insights in the comments area.


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3 comments to A Visit To The Doctor

  • Laurie Constable

    I think this phenomenon is common among women. Here I sit today, at work, typing a response on my lunch break as I hack and cough, yet here I sit. For me it has nothing to do with admitting I’m sick. I instead have what I like to call the Wonder Woman Complex. You know, that voice inside that says you have so much to do and it must get done now, no matter what! Mind you, there isn’t a darn thing that is that urgent and can’t wait. Maybe it’s the self satisfaction of feeling like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do today that puts me in that mindset. In any case, I hope you feel better soon!

  • Kate

    I have a hard time taking care of myself when I’m sick, but I chalk most of that up to having kids. When they were younger, I never felt like I had permission to be sick. They needed me, and I felt like everything would fall apart if I dropped one of the many balls I was juggling. My kids need me less now, and I’m in a better place where I finally believe the world will keep turning without me, yet I still feel a lot of guilt when I’m sick. I just had a migraine yesterday and went home early, but rather than close the drapes and go to bed, I took my meds and started crossing things off my to-do list at home. Granted, I chose things I was capable of doing with a migraine, but I didn’t REST. I blame this on our societal internalized Puritan ethos, which I got with both barrels from both sides of my family. I feel guilty when I’m down. It’s something I’m working on.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  • Harriet

    Laurie makes a great point. I wonder if this is a more common phenomenon in women. I’d like to hear from some guys out there. I do know that Tim goes to work unless he feels like he’s dying.

    Kate, yeah, just like that. I wonder if its something we inherit from watching our mothers, who never stopped, because we, as kids, needed her.