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JACK SIMPSON: No matter how careful you are, the bug can still get you

Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

I guess I'm just like most folks in that I try to stay healthy. I wash my hands a lot, drink water when I think about it, am somewhat careful of food choices and how food is prepared. Yes, I read those restaurant health reports. I pay attention to E. coli warnings, but every now and then in spite of being careful, I get sick.

It didn't matter that I took my flu shot or dumped standing water to discourage mosquitoes. It didn't matter all my scrubbing, spraying, fruit washing and hand cleaning. I got the bug anyway.

The X-ray confirmed that I had bronchitis. Yes, the inflammation of my main air passages to the lungs. At least it was not pneumonia that confined my wife to the hospital for a week.

My problem could have been caused by coal mining, not likely, manufacturing or grain handling, but I'm not in any of these professions. So I guessed maybe it was polluted air, allergies or exposure, but I'm no doctor. I did know my symptoms. I had low oxygen levels, dry cough, flu-like symptoms, abnormal breathing, excessive mucus and discomfort in my nose, sinuses and throat.

I did not skimp on rest or fluids, and even was careful to wipe off my grocery cart handle, taking as many precautions as I could. Still the bug got me and had enough hold on me to knock me well off my daily routine and schedule. This super germ overcame my immune system. Bam, bam. I was hit and recovery was slow and uncomfortable.

After leaving the doctor's office after several visits, I went again to see my local druggist to accumulate more pills. Vince Evans was convinced I was trying to buy stock in his store.

As I sat at the kitchen table looking over my medicine "stash," I must admit to being in a state of confusion. After all, I was sick yet had to make all these decisions about when to take this stuff. One pill said with food. Another said on an empty stomach. One warned I would need lots of water. Another said if I already took one kind of pill not to take this one. There was a pill in the group that had me setting an alarm to take after midnight. Let me see, was it to be taken once, twice, or three times a day?

There were enough warnings with all of these medications to make a sick person even sicker. I'm praying I don't make any mistakes and what pills I do take do me more good than harm.

Really, it is the cough syrup that may end up doing me in. One bottle that has a narcotic tells me one-half teaspoon. Another bottle, without narcotic, tells me to take two teaspoons. Without my glasses to read the fine print, I can't tell one from the other.

Bronchitis can be short-lived or long term. Lord, please make mine short-lived, huh? After a week, this bug won't let go.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.