I am not a superstitious person, but a part of me believes that the only way to get well from a long virus is to pay a $40 co-pay so the doctor can tell you there's nothing seriously wrong with you.
I caught a cold on Good Friday (March 29th?) and on April 6th I began to think I should be checked out. I debated internally, processed externally with my BFF, and annoyed my husband with the back and forth over it. It's not just that I can think of lots of things I would rather do with $40 and two hours than go to the doctor. It's that being told there's nothing wrong with me or there's nothing they can do makes me feel like a loser.
Since Monday I felt like I might die or never breathe through my nose again, on Tuesday, yesterday, I went to the nurse practitioner. And was told, of course, that I was in a gray area. No pneumonia or bronchitis, not even yet a sinus infection. I went to Mother's Market and bought the suggested homeopathic sinus medicine and a booger-busting juice made with carrots, ginger and cayenne pepper (afterwards, I felt that I could not only breath through my nose, but also through my eyeballs).
I, then, of course, began to feel better. This morning, I feel even better. Why is this? Is it psychological, knowing that I am not dying and I have a prescription of for an antibiotic in my purse just in case? Is it the sinus remedy? Was I just about to get better anyway?
Or was it, perhaps, that the virus gods demand the $40 sacrifice?
When Sophia was a toddler, she fell and hit her chin on a wooden pier pylon on Christmas Eve, and had a piece of wood embedded in her chin. At Easter, it was still in there. The pediatrician ($40 later) gave me a referral to the dermatologist, which I held on to for two more months (a "specialist" was $75!). Finally I took her in, preparing both of us for a possible extraction with stitches. Doctor said that eventually, the wood would work itself out of her skin. The NEXT DAY, it came out. The gods wanted $75 that time. Seriously, what is that about?
One of my dear friends and I spend probably an inordinate amount of time on the phone trying to decide what is wrong (physically) with our children or ourselves, and whether it is worth the (a) money, (b) time, and (c) exposure to other illnesses to go to the doctor's office. These conversations usually take place on Day 8 of the illness (the time when as a mom, you are basically just really sick of being sick or having your kids be sick).
It's an identity issue for us: Am I a Paranoid/Impatient/Irrational Mom if I go to the doctor? Am I a Bad/Lax/Careless/Cheap Mom if I don't? All my control issues bubble up to the surface. Many of my irrational fears. With every cough-induced sleepless night, my rational mind gets foggier, aided by full doses of NyQuil.
It's gotten to the point that I think perhaps what we really need is a psychologist. But that's like $150 an hour, and what does it say about me if I need that? I'll agonize about it for a few days and let you know.