Is It Cold or Allergies?

photo-18The worst part of feeling so lousy these last two weeks was not the hacking cough that actually caused me to vomit (I know, I’m sorry but it really happened) or the 90-minute wait for the five-minute exam with the nice, young doctor who quickly told me I had an upper respiratory infection and prescribed a Z-PAK.

No, the very worst part of this sore throat, headachy, cough thing that just refused to subside was when the nurse at the walk-in clinic this morning asked me to follow her outside the exam room to be weighed.

“What?” I croaked. “I would have gone on a diet before coming if I knew you were going to weigh me.”

I would have done a one-day cleanse, at the very least.

I also would have stripped down to my bra and underwear but instead, she coaxed me onto the scale wearing clothes and my black riding boots, which I am assuming added an additional 10-12 pounds to the final result.

My body is no stranger to any of the symptoms it’s been hosting over the last 10 days and if I was better at seeing patterns and reading signs, I’d have gotten to the bottom of it all by now. But the start of each fall and spring brings acute awareness to my sinus cavities and I’m still struggling with whether it’s a cold or allergies and if I should be taking Mucinex or Claritin. So I just take everything, as the picture above can attest.

The good news is that I’m not alone. A quick trip to the grocery store yesterday morning after spin class (because feeling fat trumps feeling sick all day long) found me having not one but like three conversations with various people I ran into about illness. One of those conversations was just me complaining to someone on the deli line about how crappy I felt, but then I met two other women who were just coming off the same kind of stuff I had.

And naturally, I polled everyone about whether they thought I should go to the walk-in clinic to see a doctor. I love polling people. It makes my decision making even more difficult.

In the end, I drove over yesterday afternoon to the clinic to find like a dozen people reading magazines and texting while they waited to see the one doctor working.

No thanks. I went home to suffer.

This morning I woke up with a cough that continued to wrack my chest and a headache to rival any 50th birthday party. So once the kids left for school, I hightailed it back and found only about five people sitting in the waiting area ahead of me.

When the doctor finally entered my exam room, I probably spent more time detailing my symptoms and their duration than she did looking in my ears and throat and concluding I had an upper respiratory infection.

Initially I had been afraid that a doctor was just going to throw antibiotics at me but at that point, I was happy just knowing the tide was about to turn.

And you know what? Three hours after my first dose I already feel about a million times better.

So my advice to any of you on the fence about whether to seek medical advice or just ride the bad symptoms out, I say, “Get thee to a doctor.”

Because I am all about waiting for things to get better, like hacking coughs and unhappy marriages, but sometimes you’ve got to know when enough is enough.

Do you rush to the doctor at the first signs of an illness or do you try to wait it out? What’s your advice?



4 thoughts on “Is It Cold or Allergies?

  1. Okay, I wasn’t going to comment but I had to – I had the exact same thing and for the first week I could barely lift my head off he pillow (this is what 55 looks like). Second week was moderately better but I still felt like crap. I am finally feeling better after the third week. Doctor threw Biaxin at me but I had a horrible reaction and had to come off it immediately. That is probably why it took nearly 3 weeks. SUCKS!

    • Ack, Susan. That sounds terrible. While my mother almost had a heart attach when I told her I got the “Z-pak” and was dubious it was making me already feel better, I really do feel better already. Could NOT have done another week of this. Planning on recuperating with Middlemarch this weekend.

  2. Work demanded I go to a doctor after hacking for five days straight. I went to the walk-in two Saturdays ago to find out it wasn’t the upper respiratory that I predicted it was, but a sinus infection instead. Antibiotics and a Shamrock Shake later, I started feeling better, but it took a whole week to stop hacking. Then my son got it, and him being miserable made me miserable all over again.

    • Aww … Barb. Sorry for your misery. I was thankful that I didn’t have a job to deal with or coworkers that would have had to deal with my terrible cough this week. Never considered a Shamrock Shake as potential medication. Nice idea. 😉

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