Grumpy Pregnant Lady Gripes about Doctors

Picture it. Almost eight years ago I'm much like I am now. Huge, pregnant, gearing up for a hospital delivery. Oh, and add in a nasty head cold that just won't go away. Three weeks before baby I go in for an office visit hacking and sniffing. "I think my cold has morphed into something wretched," I say. "Uh huh," says the doctor. "We'll want to keep an eye on that."

Two weeks before baby I go in for an office visit hacking so hard my stressed bladder can hardly handle it. "I really think this cold has taken a turn ..." "Yup, we'll keep an eye on it. Try Sudafed."

One week before. "I think I have a sinus infection, maybe." I'd never had one before, but the reading I'd done online sure pointed to sinus infection. "Huh, have you tried Sudafed?"

I go in for the induction afraid to take my Sudafed - what if I'm not "supposed to" take medications? After I get there I ask the nurse, "Could I get some Sudafed?"

It takes two hours for one half-power dose. By which time I'm an hour and a half away from giving birth and more intent on crying and hacking between contractions. Fast forward. Baby born, healthy, I'm coming out of that "labor haze" where the mind doesn't quite work right. I'm trying to feed Fish but have to pass him off to Dr. D to hack and spit green glop into a tissue. To the first nurse who comes in I say, "I really think I have a sinus infection." She explains how my mucus isn't the right color.

The next nurse tells me a nasty cold is going around and I shouldn't worry.

The next nurse asks rather curtly if I really want her to call a doctor up from ER to deal with me.

The next nurse makes me tea and explains how sinus infections always have fever and I don't have a fever. I forget to point out the regular doses of Tylenol I've been taking for afterpains.

I go home with Little Fish and begin hacking up blood instead of mucus. I call the doctor's office. "Um, I'm coughing up blood." "Oh, it's probably just an aftereffect of birth."

I don't sleep at night, even when the baby sleeps. I start to imagine infection bugs coursing through my neural pathways. On Saturday I comment, "This is the kind of thing that killed people ages ago." Sunday evening I have Dr. D call the doctor on call. The gist of the conversation: "Call in an antibiotic for my wife. Now."

Two days later I feel better than I had in a month.

So why is this little story coming back to me now? Because I'm again two or three weeks away from giving birth, again hacking and congested and feverish and feeling awful, again dealing with office staff who refuse to believe that I know what the f@rk is going on with my own body. The only difference, sinus infections have been a regular thing over the past seven years. I know what they feel like, and I know that when a cold "goes away" only to return the next day with fever and cement behind my eyes, I need what I need. Plus I don't care about the rules and regulations anymore. I happen to have an antibiotic in my medicine chest for just such an occasion. And you know what? Even though the nurse says, "We think you need an office visit for this," I can shrug and take the drug I need. By the time of my next office visit I should be feeling better than I have in, well, weeks.