Monday, December 19, 2005

I Would Have Preferred the Boogie-Woogie Blues

I thought I'd killed the cold, but it never really went away. Mornings and evenings are the worst. If I sit still during the day, I'm fine except for occasional coughing fits. It's livable, if annoying. But the slightest exertion leads to coughing. This morning I ran up two flights of stairs to catch the train, sat down in the only available seat and spent the next ten minutes convinced I was going to die. I couldn't catch a breath. I sat thinking how pathetic it would be to black out and die on a CTA train, lying in the aisle in my four layers of clothes (it's f*%#ing freezing here), turning blue and waiting for someone to alert the operator and call for paramedics.

I am now halfway convinced I have pneumonia. And me with no health insurance to speak of, and, well, I've been broke before but rarely quite so much. WebMD tells me I need antibiotics for this. How much is that going to cost me? Any advice appreciated, particularly that of the you-don't-need-to-go-to-the-doctor-just-pick-up-this-cheap-and-painless-herbal/magic-remedy variety.

On other fronts, good progress on numbers 1-5. Christmas is too close. eXistenZ is a creepifying flick. Ken Liu's "State Change" in Polyphony 4 is a stunningly good short story.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Scott Janssens said...

I had the same thing and suffered for about 3 weeks. The coughing eventually stopped and left me with a head cold for the last week.

On the other hand, my girlfriend caught it from me and her doctor gave her antibiotics.

After about a week and a half I did start to slowly feel better, but the cold lingered something fierce. Ny-Quil was my friend during this time.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a cold last year that lasted from mid-November to New Year's--kept thinking it was going away, but nope, there it was again. I woke up every morning thinking I was going to die. But I felt better if I could get up and moving, which is usually my test for do-I-need-to-see-a-doc-for-this? If walking around makes things worse...problem. Get thee to the doctor, pal. (Can you get some sort of insurance through school?)

That said, if you haven't already tried doubleplusgood vitamins and copious amounts of echinacea tea, that might be worth a go.

Get better! So mote it be.

- H

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the other hand, if you're hospitalized, you'll have plenty of time for War & Peace!

- H

12:05 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

Try zinc tablets too. Those often work for me as a booster to help my immune system get rid of a cold. But if it's more than a cold, you'll need antibiotics. You should be taking a multi-vitamin daily, even when you're not sick, no matter what, so if you aren't, start. I know they're expensive, but they'll save you illness sometimes, which is more expensive when you don't have insurance (been there, will be there again when I return to the states).

But really, you need to take vitamins, zinc, and sleep. Drink lots of fluids, eat even if not hungry. And then more sleep.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous LT said...

If you're at the can't-breathe phase, you've gone beyond a cold to the lung thing. The older generation of antibiotics aren't so costly, and it beats the hotel charges at the hospital. Best to visit the nearest drug pusher.

11:22 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

Talk to a doctor before you take any antibiotics. Taking random antibiotics for whatever and hoping they work is why we have so many antibiotic-resistant strains of disease around. Aren't you in school? Don't they have a student health clinic or anything? Is there any equivalent within a hundred miles of the Berkeley Free Clinic?

8:42 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Turns out student coverage is only for on-campus students. I would have liked to have continued living with that illusion, but alas.

Thanks for the concerns and advice; I've been taking the herbals and acetaminophen. (I have multi-vitamins, but I haven't been taking them--bad me.) This morning was much better. I made a point of trying to loosen up some more before leaving the house, and managed several dramatic coughing fits before heading out into the cold. It wasn't anything like yesterday, so I'm hopeful that I'm over the worst of it.

9:15 AM  
Blogger David Moles said...

On-campus only? Man, that's criminal. It's not like there's any other way to get health insurance in this country.

Oh, FWIW, I caught this cold three weeks ago and I'm still trying to kick the last of the cough. Don't know if it's the same one, but one can hope.

4:07 PM  

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