This column appeared in The Herald-Sun in January 2014:
It’s not that I hate doctors. Most of them seem like perfectly fine people.
But I’m almost certain you’d never hear me utter anything like what my wife told the dental receptionist over the phone the other day:
“Wes would love to see you at 11.”
“Love” isn’t a word I splurge on teeth cleanings.
Sure, I might “agree” to see you at 11. I will “satisfy the contractual obligation implied by the appointment.” But I haven’t met a medical appointment that I “liked,” let alone “loved.”
In the past week or so, I’ve spent more time than I prefer among doctors.
The routine trip to the dentist came just a couple of days after I visited another medic for a sinus infection that absolutely floored me over the weekend, turning what should have been relaxing days off into a restless blur of steaming showers, chicken broth and facial tissue.
I don’t mess around when it comes to respiratory illnesses. Not since I got pneumonia in college at the University of South Florida. Before that rude awakening, I’d been immortal. Nothing could hold me back.
I didn’t take care of myself when the cold hit while I was working at the USF college newspaper.
I kept working through the nights on a wretched fantasy novel as bronchitis took hold.
I wandered the streets of Ybor City during Guavaween, hacking and wheezing.
When my friend Jeff performed a monologue at Eckerd College that I’d written for him, I watched in phlegm-choked misery from the nosebleeds.
Creative genius would trump modern medicine, I reasoned.
Or maybe not.
I remember shivering on the mattress in my dorm, calling home to tell my mother that I should probably, maybe – finally – see a doctor.
And so I had pneumonia.
He told me that if I had waited any longer, I would have ended up in the hospital. As it was, I spent a week in bed, drinking fluids when I wasn’t sleeping. For at least a month after, thanks to the strain of violent coughing, I sounded like Froggie in “The Little Rascals.”
The doctor said I’d be susceptible to lung ailments for the rest of my life.
No, I’m not a fan of going to the doctor.
But I will say this: I’m glad they’re around when I need them and I’m grateful to live in an age when a handful of pills and some nose spray, taken per the doctor’s instructions, means a sickness is short-lived.
Take care of yourself too.
Wes Platt can be reached at email@example.com or 919-419-6684. Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.