August 23, 2008

Free Medical Care ... from Kids Playing Doctor

Having just had a birthday, I realize that I am of an age where I think everyone is awfully young. Like doctors. And it doesn't help here, because everyone actually is young. Even the doctors. Or those who play them at the Main Press Center.

There is a volunteer medical office in the press center. I went yesterday because I was so awfully sick. Children of 19 or 20, it seemed, asked me questions. You have coughing? Fever? Flame? (turns out he meant phlegm ...) That was the pre-screening. They had me put a thermometer in my armpit. After the day I had, I thought that was gross.

I told them yes, I was coughing (and then I started this horrendous coughing jag and they needed no further convincing). Did the "flame" have color? One girl wanted to know. Did my head hurt? They huddled together and decided I should have antibiotics.

Are you allergic? No, I said. OK. They gave me two days' worth of amoxycillin, and some sort of pill to help with the "flame." It had no name on it; I have no idea what it was. Three times a day, after meals, the girl said. You got it.

I slept until Paul came in around 8, feeling pitiful. The coughs are body-wracking and deep -- not the scary, dry hacking cough I usually have. This one is worse. It makes people move away from me. I try not to cough on anyone. I feel like Typhoid Mary.

I haven't been sick like this in about 18 months; coincidentally, the last time I traveled abroad. I think I have created a sort of familiar-germ cocoon in California. I am at my house, my parents' house, my mother-in-law's house -- that's it. No public transportation, no 14-hour airplane trips, no recycled air conditioning with 5,000 coughing, hacking, sneezing foreigners.

With luck, I'll be well before I fly. If not, my head may explode.

1 comment:

Nate Ryan said...

As someone well aware of how unpleasant a feeling it is to be sick while traveling, I feel for you, Leah! Hope it mostly goes away by the time you're boarding.

For what it's worth, your illness hasn't affected the blog quality! The Forbidden City post was another great read.

Safe travels...perhaps see you in SoCal next week (if you're up for it!).