If there’s anything more miserable than a summer sinus infection it’s a doctor who doesn’t listen when you tell him you are sick.
I know. It happened to me this weekend.
The familiar tickle started in the back of my throat last Thursday.
Of course I tried to ignore it in hopes it would go away. I always do and it never does.
Then on Friday I started coughing and my upper teeth began to ache.
If I could hit a trifecta at the track with that precision, I would be rolling in cash.
Thinking antibiotics would stop the infection before I became really (miss work) sick, I went to an urgent care clinic on Saturday.
The only thing that accomplished, however, was lightening my bank account $30 for a co-pay and a 30-second “examination” by the doctor on duty.
He came in, listened to my gravely voice going through my symptoms, confirmed the gunk draining down the back of my throat and then stunned me by refusing to offer any treatment at all.
His advice – and I use that word loosely – was this:
Let the infection cook for a week – two weeks would be better - and if I was still sick, come back in.
By then, he seemed to be saying, I should be sick enough to justify taking up his time and medical knowledge.
And chances are he might prescribe an antibiotic.
He wrote on the discharge that I had a common cold.
That diagnosis was disproven by Sunday morning.
I awakened with chills, fever and a cough that originated somewhere in the vicinity of my ankles.
By Monday morning I also had a full-blown eye infection that glued my right eye shut.
First thing I called my doctor’s office and got right in.
I left there with prescriptions for eye drops and an oral antibiotic.
I have lived in this body for 70 years and I can tell if I’m getting a cold or a sinus infection. And I darned well know how the latter progresses day-to-day from that first telltale tickle.
This isn’t my first rodeo and I know the folly of thinking a sinus infection will go away without antibiotics.
I was left pondering a couple of questions.
When/why did physicians start insisting patients get sicker before they warrant treatment?
Why did doctors stop listening to patients?
If you know the answers, share them with me. I’d really like to know.