Saturday, April 28, 2012

my phlegm: communist, conservative, or just angry?

Starting yesterday, and continuing this morning, I've been coughing up dark red phlegm. This may mean I'll need to visit a doctor, which in turn means I'll likely trundle over to a primary care facility, since I have no health insurance (YB is part-time, so we employees get no benefits). My nose, meanwhile, is alternately/simultaneously stuffy and runny, and every time I wake up from deep sleep or a nap, my breathing crackles quite lustily.

I'm still trying to figure out how and why this happened. I've had one student who's had similar symptoms for a couple weeks, so he's a major contender in the etiology sweepstakes. There's always the possibility that my apartment has mold (in the drywall, under the carpeting, or blowing through the air vents), but the place is well maintained by me and by the guys who come in seasonally to change out the filters. My car could be the culprit: I haven't changed the air filters since I bought it. Then again, my most recent trip to Jiffy Lube resulted in no dark diagnoses about either air filter: both were declared fine.

My worry is that I'm sharing my malady with every student who sits across the table from me at YB. My frustration, meanwhile, is that a good chunk of my recent cash infusion is going to go toward a checkup and a clutch of prescribed meds. For that reason, I'm hesitant to seek out a doctor. The last time this happened to me, I was prescribed antibiotics that did little to resolve the problem.

There's a wrinkle to this: I seem to have another symptom. Every once in a while (I haven't figured out the interval), my stomach emits an intense pang that feels, superficially, like a hunger pang, but has nothing to do with hunger. The pain isn't debilitating, but it's enough to make me wonder whether something funny is going on in Ye Olde Gut. For now, I'm combating this by glugging some Pepto and reducing my food intake. I have no idea what the pain signifies; my amygdala is desperately screaming that it could be anything from My Very First Ulcer to My Very First Stomach Cancer. That's ridiculous and hypochondriacal, of course (amygdalas are liars!); the onset of the symptom is too sudden. I'm hoping the pain is just a function of whatever upper-respiratory nastiness I'm experiencing.

Since I'm off today, as I am every Friday, I may spend it chillaxing in the bathtub, encased in a cocoon of warm dihydrogen monoxide. With my spittoon at my side and Mucinex at my beck and call, I'll have everything I need. I've got errands to run first, though, including the paying of my electric bill and the renewing of my Costco membership. I've also been given another assignment from Maison Boussole, a $450 gig that'll pay out next month, so, come to think of it, I may not get as much bath time as desired.



Elisson said...

I'm not too sure about the stomach business, but dark red phlegm is definitely not something you want to ignore. It's too easy to get a galloping case of pneumonia, and you don't want to be monkeying around with that one. Just ask my BIL, who damn near had to be hospitalized because he didn't take lung stuff seriously.

Kevin Kim said...

I've been red-free since the initial problems this morning. We'll see how work goes tomorrow (I work 9-5 on Saturdays); if it's looking bad, then I'll visit a clinic over the weekend or on Monday.

Meantime, I appreciate the concern.