Hack, cough, hack…sputter…cough, hack, hack.
“Yo, Hal. What’s the deal with all the phlegm, gem?” asked Sal. “You sound like you wanna hock up a lung.”
“I know,” coughed Hal. “I have bronchitis.”
Hal pulled another tissue from the box, blew his nose, and sank back into the couch, looking like the he’d been run over by a semi, run through the washing machine, and then pounded with a baseball bat all in one day. “Man, I am beat up and blue,” he sighed.
“So, how do you know it’s bronchitis, bro?” queried Sal “I mean, you ain’t been to Doc Yan. How’s come you say it’s bronchitis? Maybe you just have a chest cold.”
“Cough…That’s what bronchitis is, goofbone,” said Hal. “Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a cold-type virus that gives you all these chest symptoms, like I have.”
“Chest symptoms…like what?” said Sal.
“Like this junky sounding cough with this rattle I can feel in my chest and like this sort of burning or pain I get, right here, when I cough,” responded Hal while pointing to his breastbone. “Plus, I don’t have a fever and I’m not really having trouble breathing. But I sure do feel like crud.”
“So, why doncha get mom to run you over to Doc Yan’s? Bet he’d give you an antibiotic to knock that virus right outta ya,” offered Sal.
Hal replied, after another round of juicy-sounding hacks, “I can tell you haven’t been listening in your health class. Antibiotics don’t fight viruses; they’re for infections caused by bacteria, like strep throat. There are no antibiotics for common viruses, for colds and most cases of bronchitis and such.”
“Well, it couldn’t hurt,” Sal argued.
“Gollumph,” Hal cleared his mucus-filled throat. “Again, you show your lack of health class attention. Using an antibiotic when you don’t need it not only won’t help, but is a really dumb idea. It can set you up to get one of those scary “Super Bugs”, those infections that doctors are having a hard time finding any medicine to cure. I got this crud; that’s enough. I don’t need to make more problems for myself by using medicine I don’t really need.”
“So, what’ll you do? You gonna just sit there and hack?” asked Hal.
“No…cough, cough…I’m gonna go up to bed and hack. I just came down here to get some more water. Keeping up on my fluids helps keep this cruddy mucus thinned out so my lungs can hack it out. On my way back to bed, I’m gonna go sit in the bathroom for a bit and let the shower run on pure hot so I can breathe the steamy air. That helps clear the mucus some, too. Then I’m gonna prop up my pillows so I’m laying with my head and chest up some and then, then I’m gonna try and get some sleep ’cause that helps, too.” Hal wearily lifted himself, with a couple of hacks along the way, off of the couch and headed for the kitchen.
Sal said, with a hint of real understanding and concern, “Is the anything I can do to help you feel better, Hal?”
Hal turned, hacked, and smiled a tired-sick smile at his brother saying, “Can you make time speed up? It takes a week or two for my body to fight this virus off, but I’d really like it if that time didn’t seem so darn long.”
“See what I can do, bro,” replied Sal with a kind smile.
Posted – February 13, 2012