Cough, Hack, Cough

A week ago I had what I thought was a pollen allergy attack. It came suddenly and the symptoms were sneezing, itchy eyes and a scratchy throat. The next day I had a low fever but didn’t feel too bad. But that night the fever rose to over 101.7°F (38.7°C). For the next couple of days the fever rose and fell depending on how much Advil I took, but it never broke. I also developed a cough which got worse and worse.

Finally I agreed to let my husband drag me to the doctor. Given that his job provides both of us with health insurance I agreed to go to the emergency room at the ISSSTE clinic which is covered by our policy. We always joke that the service at the ISSSTE is so bad that you only want to go there in an emergency. Well we got there and the Urgencias sign was lit up, but the door was locked. We could see that the building was occupied so we went looking for another door. We found a security guard who told us that yes there was a doctor in the building but that she couldn’t see me. My husband can be very insistent and basically made the guard take us to see the doctor. As the guard led us through the back alley of the clinic we passed several starving kittens. I wanted to scoop them up and get back in the car and go home. I did not want to deal with a clinic that didn’t want to help me.

Once we got inside the ISSSTE clinic my husband found the doctor and asked her to see me. He told her I had been running a high fever for 4 days. Her response was to BLAME HIM for not bringing me sooner (he’d been begging me to go to the doctor for several days). She also said she could not even examine me because she would get in big trouble. She gave a long convoluted explanation of all the bureaucratic red tape that was barring her from even looking at me.

I got fed up with her droning and I told everyone present that I was too sick to listen to this. I left the building in tears. After that ordeal I couldn’t stand the idea of going to another hospital or clinic, I just wanted to go home to bed. (And no I didn’t take the kittens even though I wanted to.)

The next day, yesterday, I woke up and the cough was stronger. And it had moved into my lungs. I could feel a heaviness in my chest. This time my husband took me to a private doctor who was recommended to us. The doc asked all the right questions, checked me for dehydration, checked my organs and listened to my chest. And then he listened to my chest two more times. His diagnosis is a bacterial lung infection. If you Google bacterial lung infection you find lots of hits for pneumonia and some for bronchitis.

I’ve already had pneumonia three times in my life. Each time I came down with it just after a drastic change in the weather (the transition of winter to spring). I’ve had bronchitis twice, once it started after a big change in the weather and the other time it started after getting a lungful of campfire smoke. Two weeks ago our rainy season began here. Prior to that it was dry and hot, but two weeks ago we started getting big downpours. And now here I am with a lung illness.

The doc put me on an antibiotic and an expectorant. It would have been good if I had realized sooner that this was not an allergy, but the first couple of days of the fever I was convinced that I was just very allergic to something that that rains had given bloom to. I guess with my lung history I shouldn’t have screwed around, but I didn’t realize I was sick until I was very sick.

I may not post for a while, it will depend on how well these antibiotics work.

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9 Responses to “Cough, Hack, Cough”

  1. Fned
    June 18th, 2008 08:05

    Here’s hoping you’re feeling better soon. What an awful experience at the ISSSTE clinic. I had a similar rather disstressing ER experience here in France with the sécurité sociale and have come to the conclusion that even if social welfare is a good thing in general… specifically (and especially when you need it the most) it just simply sucks.


  2. Lynda
    June 18th, 2008 11:28

    Sorry to hear you’ve been sick. I’ve also had a bacterial lung infection here that I let go too long and didn’t go see a doctor until my fever got to 103. So I know how lousy you’ve been feeling. Take care and get well soon!

  3. Michele in Playa
    June 18th, 2008 11:45

    Bronchitis sucks!! I have struggled with it every year since I was a child. I get it less now, here in Mexico, but when I do…look out. It’s a doozy. We have all been down with chest colds for the last few weeks. It must be the changes in weather. I hope you feel better soon and remember to take ALL of the antibiotics!!!

  4. Theresa in Mèrida
    June 18th, 2008 16:22

    I understand not wanting to go to the doctor, I hate going to the doctor. Now that you have gone, take all your medicine even if you start to feel better. Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery.

  5. RiverGirl
    June 18th, 2008 19:07

    Thanks everyone! Now that it’s progressed some I can feel that I was heading for pneumonia and not bronchitis. Pneumonia comes with that tight belt around the chest feeling, and I’ve had lots of that in the last 4 days.

    When I’ve had bronchitis in the past it’s mostly been lots of ineffective coughing (it’s exhausting). Fortunately my coughing is working, stuff is coming up. And today the fever is down for the first time in a week.

    I’m definitely getting a little better and I’m really hoping that the doc doesn’t want me to spend any time in the hospital. I think THAT would do me in. Don’t worry, I’m a good patient and always take all my meds.

    Fned, I agree, socialized medicine is a nice idea, but the reality of it is that the bureaucracy supporting has to be big and strong and it ends up smothering patients in red tape.

    Thanks for the well-wishes everyone!

  6. kathy
    June 18th, 2008 20:46

    I think your SPAM protection (mathematics) is jut to keep people from PUI. 🙂

    Hope you feel better soon and take lots of lactobacillus (Costco Cancun now has it) after you’re done with the abx to get your good gut bacteria going again.

    Feel better soon!

  7. Mimi
    June 19th, 2008 12:57

    Oh sweetie, Glad your starting to feel better! My advice is take an extra few day’s of the antibiotics. Don’t forget to eat a lot of yogurt too, as the antibiotics kill all the good stuff in your stomach so you need to replace them!
    Hugs Mimi

  8. RiverGirl
    June 19th, 2008 14:17

    Thanks Mimi and Kathy. I think it will be a while before I’m back to normal. Recovery is two steps forward and one step back. The fever is gone but just taking a trip to the kitchen for a cup of tea wears me out for hours.

    Thanks for the well wishes!

  9. wayne
    June 23rd, 2008 19:20

    Catching up here. So sorry to hear that you are down. Sucks to be sick in paradise! (or anywhere!) Your post today is a good example of why NOT to waste your money on Mexican health insurance.

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