The best thing to catch while waiting for the doctor to see me …. is a Pokémon. This time, it was a Whismur, but really, any of them would do. I was bored, and very tired, and fairly certain that I had a sinus infection (again).

The 2018 Spring Pollen Season was coming to an end. It began around mid-January, and stubbornly stayed through most of April. The one was brutal!  I start to get sick when the pollen count hits 7, and there were so many days where it was in the 9s or 10s.

As one might expect, I started to feel like I had a sinus infection somewhere around the beginning of April. My body had become depleted after fighting allergens for literally months. After trying to wait-and-see for a few weeks, my husband convinced me to just go to the doctor. It might have been the next day that I woke up feeling even worse than I had been, and so, I made an appointment.

My doctor works at what I call “the clinic for the poor people”. It takes my current health insurance. My doctor is not the first one I saw at this particular clinic – but he is the one I like best. I’m lucky to have him as my primary care doctor.

The doctor, who speaks with a thick, Mexican accent (that I have no trouble at all understanding), did all the usual checks to see if I had a sinus infection. He determined that I didn’t have the “infection smell”, but decided it was a good idea for me to take antibiotics anyway.  He knows how bad my allergies are, and understands that the Spring pollen season was bad (and made worse by high winds). The antibiotics are to help my body fight whatever I have BEFORE it turns into a full-blown sinus infection.

He prescribed the same type of antibiotic that I was on when I had acute bacterial tonsillitis (back in October/November of 2017).  We both knew I was not allergic to the antibiotic, and that it worked well before. I knew what to expect. He also prescribed a nasal spray – which I hate – but am taking because it helps temporarily reduce some of the sinus pain I’m experiencing.

My doctor, once again, offered me a prescription of an antihistamine that I didn’t want. I’m sure it works fine for others, but when I tried it (years ago) it made my heart feel funny. I don’t think my doctor has put that into his notes.  Maybe that information doesn’t fit into the boxes on the computer.

Instead, he offered me the prescription-required version of the over-the-counter antihistamine that I’m already taking (and have been since before it was available over-the-counter). I hesitated, because I am very leery of going on a prescription for a long-term issue right now. The other two medications were temporary.

I explained this to my doctor, saying that I had concerns that I wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance next year and didn’t think I could afford prescriptions without insurance covering some or all of it.

“Why you think you won’t have insurance? You have to have it. If not, they make you pay,” my doctor explained.

I pointed out that Trump and Congress got rid of the individual mandate. “Starting in 2019, if you don’t want insurance – you don’t have to buy it. And you won’t have to pay a fine.”

My doctor’s eyes got wide. He looked shocked. The first thing he said was “Oh no… that’s gonna make the insurance prices go up. People aren’t gonna be able to afford their insurance after that.” He didn’t know the individual mandate was going away because, as he later told me, he doesn’t like politics.

Long story short, I am incredibly lucky to have health insurance. I’m grateful to have a doctor that understands that people like me, with several chronic illnesses that are autoimmune disorders, sometimes need antibiotics before an impending infection becomes obvious.

I’ve absolutely no idea if I will be able to qualify for health insurance coverage after whatever the current Congress does to “Obamacare” in the next few months. It’s obvious that I have several pre-existing conditions, and I’m worried that I will get denied coverage because I have allergies. (This has happened to me before “Obamacare”.)

For now, I’m taking everything my doctor prescribed (including the antihistamine that requires a prescription but is the same as the over-the-counter version). The pharmacy was having issues when my husband went to pick up my prescriptions for me, and it was easier to just buy all three than wait for the pharmacy to fix it. I’m thankful that my husband could go get my medications for me because after the doctor appointment – I was too exhausted to do anything else.

Yesterday, it all caught up with me. One of the side effects of amoxicillin is described as “fatigue”. I suspect that for people who are usually healthy, this is annoying but not too big a deal.  For me, a person who has allergies, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis – this new batch of fatigue, on top of my usual fatigue, is debilitating. I’m back to being asleep more hours than I am awake.

My big, fun, plans for the day were over before they started. I wanted to go the comic shops for Free Comic Book Day, but didn’t have the energy to go. I had to opt-out the Dungeons & Dragons game I play (online) with friends every week because I was having too much trouble focusing and trying to stay awake.

All of this – well, not all of it – but the extra struggles I’m fighting through now have an endpoint. The pollen seems to be getting more reasonable, and there is a limit to the number of amoxicillin pills I’m supposed to take. But right now, I’m stuck trying to battle through the smallest things with even less energy than usual.

Not Quite a Sinus Infection is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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