Getting out of bed
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Getting out of bed

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Getting out of bed isn’t worth the effort some days. Today, Tuesday, is one of those days.


About one month ago, during Rosh Hashanah, my husband came down with a stuffy nose, sneezing and lots of coughing. Fortunately, his COVID-19 test was negative. He even vomited a couple of times due to the coughing. 

He likes to take every over-the-counter (OTC) medication available at the drug store. It doesn’t matter if they’re contraindicated to his prescribed meds; he’ll take them anyway and overmedicate himself in the process. Two weeks ago he succumbed to my nagging and called his doctor. On a telehealth call she recommended Mucinex DM, another OTC. She refused to prescribed antibiotics, convinced the “bug” was viral. Darn, we were both hoping for “real” drugs. 

Slowly, he got better. That is, until yesterday. All the symptoms came back, especially the sneezing, congestion and endless coughing. It was so bad last night he couldn’t sleep, and neither could I. I don’t think either one of us has slept for the past month. At one point last night, at around 1 a.m., I put on my bluetooth white noise headband to drown out the coughing. And he wasn’t even in the same room!

Luckily, he had an office visit with the doctor today. She’s still convinced that the illness is viral but prescribed antibiotics and a pill for the cough.

An aside

Meanwhile, about ten days ago on a Sunday, I decided to cut back my perennials in the front yard. My garden gloves were in the washing machine, so I snipped away gloveless and in short sleeves. Of course, the next day a poison ivy rash appeared on my right arm. From there, it spread to my thighs, mostly on the left leg. The itching has been unbearable. The red blotches look horrible.

Three days after the initial presentation, it continued to spread. My doctor, on a telehealth call, didn’t want to prescribe prednisone. I’ve used it before with good results and no side effects. However, I’m a somewhat new patient to her, going on six years or so. With no record in my chart of her having prescribed prednisone, she didn’t want to write the script. Instead, she prescribed a strong ointment and called it into Rite Aid. 

Those of us who suffer from intense bug bites or poison ivy know that no ointment created by man does any good. Naturally, it got all over my clothes during the day and my bedsheets/pajamas at night. Finally, yesterday, Monday, after sending her more gruesome photos, she prescribed prednisone, which I started this morning. 

The point is – Ken and I are both not feeling 100%, him more than me. The lack of a good night’s sleep isn’t helping. Now, I too am experiencing body aches and a scratchy throat. Am I getting his virus??

Drug store trip #1

Here’s why it didn’t pay to get out of bed today. Trip #1 was to Rite Aid after my husband came home from his doctor’s visit. She had prescribed antibiotics, though still believing he has a virus. Miraculously, the script was ready quickly. (It took the store over six hours to fill my ointment prescription the day before.) 

Rite Aid is six blocks away, so going, even though I wasn’t feeling good, wasn’t a big deal. Ken went yesterday to get my prednisone and I owed him one. Besides, he sounded and felt horrible and I didn’t want him to go out again. But as I was leaving, he whispered hoarsely, “She called in two prescriptions.” Of course, he had no idea what the second one was.

Drug stores are so busy right now. Between prescriptions being filled and people wanting vaccinations for COVID-19 and flu, the wait is long. Fortunately, only two people were ahead of me in line. It was 12 noon – lunch time – and I was hungry and impatient.

The clerk pulled up Ken’s information on her screen and got the antibiotic. I said, “There’s another prescription. I don’t know what it is. Can you find out if it’s been filled?”

She mumbled something about asking the pharmacist. Between her low voice, her mask and the acrylic divide, it was impossible to hear her. She tapped away at the monitor, not getting the information we needed. Then, she walked away and was gone so long that her session timed out. We started all over again. She rang up the antibiotics, handed them to me and then asked the pharmacist about the second script.

He looked up Ken’s information on the computer and told me the second prescription was a cough suppressant. The cost – about $60 for 20 capsules, not covered by Medicare. He asked, “Do you want to fill it? I can see if I can get you a discount.”

I called my husband, and for $60 he said, “No!” However, the pharmacist got the price down to $17.75. I OK’d the purchase and was told to come back in 20 minutes.

It wasn’t worth going home, so I walked down the strip mall to the kosher dairy restaurant and ordered a simple tuna wrap. That took over 20 minutes. What an annoying wait but at least I was allowing the pharmacist lots of time to fill prescription number two. 

Back again to Rite Aid, waiting in line and getting the prescription only to forget where I parked the car.

Drug store trip #2

Ken began taking the drugs when I got home, but his coughing was non-stop. I volunteered to go to Walgreens Quarry Lake to get cough drops. The photos of my three-month-old grandson were ready for pick-up. That was my incentive to go out again. Also, Fresh Market sells a cereal I like, so I could go there as well. As I left, Ken mentioned that we needed more tissues and a new digital thermometer. Off I went, body aches and itching notwithstanding. 

Walgreens, too, was very busy. I had to wait for someone to help me get the photos, but she kindly processed a second set of prints. The store had some tissues on the shelf but not too many, so I put three boxes in the cart. The Walgreens cough drops came in an inexpensive supersize of 200 and were kosher. The thermometer was in the next aisle. All good until check out.

One clerk was working the main check out line; the others had disappeared on breaks. Maybe three people were in front of me. Finally, the woman ahead of me was next. Now, this clerk has worked at the store for quite some time. He’s a nice guy and very friendly but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He was so friendly with this customer, that he spent nearly 10 minutes ringing up her six items. The cashier wouldn’t stop talking. He went into great details about how Tuesday is senior discount day, and she could get money back! I could tell even she was exasperated as she rolled her eyes at me!

As he was talking, on and on and on, and the line behind me was getting longer and longer and longer, we experienced “an incident.” A woman walked into the store, followed by two men. He was yelling at the woman at the top of his lungs. “You hit me! I’m calling the police! You, (the clerk), call the police! You’re going to get arrested, lady!”

She had an attitude, and cursed and berated him. This went on for a few minutes. It was frightening. Suppose one of them had a gun! These days you never know. Meanwhile, the clerk was oblivious, talking on and on. The rest of us waiting in line were paralyzed, not knowing what to do. Duck? Mediate? Run for our lives?

There was lots of yelling and screaming. A third man came into the store, yelling at the woman, “I took a picture of your plate. I’m giving it to the police! You’re going to get arrested!” Thankfully, another cashier came to the front registers and quickly rang me up. I ran out of there as fast as I could. No opportunity to learn about senior discount day. Bummer!

From there, I walked down to Fresh Market. The cereal cost $3.99 the last time I bought it there. Trader Joe’s sells it for $2.99 (Shoppers for $5.25) but I didn’t have the strength to go to Trader Joe’s. Woe is me! Fresh Market raised the price to $4.99!! Strawberries were $4.50. Nope, not buying them.

The end

I finally made it home. Ken was sitting in the den, coughing. I gave him his personal stash of tissues and the enormous bag of cough drops. He popped one in his mouth and said, “They’re awful!”

No!! That was the straw that broke this camel’s back. Aren’t cough drops supposed to taste awful??!! 

The silver lining

With the itching, body aches and lack of sleep, I’ve been too tired and aggravated to focus on the fact that my left arm hurts from yesterday’s flu shot!

Read more by Eileen Creeger.

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  1. Eileen, I really love this story. There’s not a person on this earth who wouldn’t relate to it. Well told!