My last experience with the flu was bad, ok? It was really bad. I had it all...night sweats, fever, chills. My back hurt so bad I couldn't lay down. My legs hurt so bad I couldn't stand. I spit up ugly green things and drank down the foulest conconctions known. I woke up in my own rancid sweat needing to change the sheets but not being able to because I couldn't walk ten feet without falling down. It was the worst.

But it was not without its humorous moments (see Adventures with a High Fever).

This time there are no humurous moments. Anyone looking for one of those should probably go elsewhere. This time I had the shit seriously scared out of me.

I dragged my flu-ridden ass down to the local urgent care place because I'd had enough. I'd had a high fever for three straight days with no sign of letting up and now I was coughing up stuff that was bad. I waited around in the lobby for an hour and a half before getting called in (this was expected and I'd been prepared for it). I read an entire article in Sports Illustrated on Kid Delicious and how he went from being a 300 lb. pool hustler to a 300 lb. professional pool player, twice.

In the room, I got my temperature taken, looked at funny, got my blood pressure taken and looked at funny again. It's apparently some sort of law that the vital-signs people mustn't tell you your vitals, but they must look at you as though you're knocking on death's door.
Someone else came in thirty minutes later to ask me what my issue was. I informed her that I thought I had the flu and that I thought I might have bronchitis as well. She came back ten minutes later with a flu test thing. I was instructed to roam around in my nose with it for awhile then give it back.
Thirty minutes later, the actual doctor came in and gave me another flu test thing. I told her I'd already gone prospecting once. She looked at me quizzically, then said, "Well, that's just queer, isn't it? Can you just do it again?"
Sure, I problem. Back she was in record time looking concerned. "Well, I think we figured out why you're not feeling well! You have the flu." I nodded. She nodded back appreciatively.

Up on the long metal couch thing now, stethoscope cold on my back, breathing hard and damn near passing out as a result. She says, "I don't like the way that sounds. Let's get a chest x-ray to see what we're looking at. I think it may be pneumonia."
I winced at of my worst fears. The x-ray process went uneventfully and I was instructed back to "my" room, where I waited another twenty minutes.

The doctor comes back in with a prescription pad and that concerned look. "No pneumonia." She says, "It looks like bronchitis. Let's get you a scrip for that." She starts to write. "There is one other thing. It's probably nothing, but I noticed a little spot on your x-ray that looks, a nodule of some kind."

A nodule.

of some kind.

"Ok." I say, "What's that mean?"
"Well, it could be a blood vessel in cross-section or something. And you're so young. But you *do* smoke and just to be sure, I'd like to send this off to a radiologist to see if there's any follow-up necessary."

I am now in a state of absolute *worst fear* has just been discussed.

"We'll know something by Friday for certain."
"Friday? That's four days from now. Can't it go any faster than that?"
"I'm afraid not. You can call earlier just in case, though. Here's your prescription and either way...stop smoking!"

either way...stop smoking

The next three days...flu...hell...bronchitis...hell...internet learning (never a good idea when ill)...hell...solitary pulmonary nodule calculator hell...lung cancer statistics hell...

Thursday: can no longer take it. I called the urgent care place and demanded that my results be found and read aloud over the phone. The response had the same effect on me as opening my corotid and releasing all my blood would have done.

We have no record of your x-rays.

I coerced the name of the radiologist from them and called the man himself. He did not want to be hearing from me, a patient, and made this very clear. I insisted politely that he listen to my tale. He was shocked at the way such a thing would be handled, told me he was driving into his office that minute to find the x-rays. He would call the urgent care place and have them call me within the hour.

Thirty minutes later I did indeed hear from them. The x-rays were completely negative. No "nodules".

The joy of hearing this canceled everything else out. It seems now I can go back to my flu and bronchitis in peace. I'm a fifteen-year smoker. I haven't had a cigarette in five days. "Never" is a very strong word, but I'm feeling very strong right now.