My anger fully peaked by the outrageous incompetence displayed at the Mount Royal Clinic, I decided two things: first, I was going to the hospital if I felt even a tiny iota worse the next day, and second, I was going to get some goddamn jell-o.
The jell-o was an integral part of my recovery plan that, along with hot tea and Gatorade, was an attempt to convince my body that, hey, I’m not such a bad guy. I figured if I was super nice to my throat, it would respond in kind and perhaps, just this once, heal itself without much pain. By the time the evening rolled around, I knew this was clearly not going to happen. I made my decision early to high tail it over to the hospital the following day. If all went well, I would be diagnosed with tonsillitis, I’d get my prescriptions, and I’d be ready to go to class that day.
One thing that I know about the Maryland General Hospital Emergency Room is that it’s always, always full and unless you have a damn good reason, you’re going to be waiting a good long time. The thing about sore throats is that you really need someone to take a look at it to know the extent of the damage, so simply talking to the receptionist and trying to relate how awful it is didn’t really accelerate my visit. It seemed quite strange to have people waiting in the Emergency Room for several hours, but there I was. It was just over two hours of exasperated Pokemon battling before I was actually called in to a different room. A different room where I waited for another half hour.
The doctor I saw, like the man from the clinic, seemed to sympathize well enough. He nodded when I diagnosed myself with strep or with tonsillitis, and scoffed along with me at the folks from Mount Royal. At that point, my throat had closed far enough that my voice had lowered substantially and my words were slurred together. A quick glance at my hulking, spotted tonsils (which at this point had yet to fuse together to end the world) led him to release a low whistle and an informal diagnosis of “Whew boy, you’ve sure got strep.” He swabbed my throat, but started before sealing the sample for testing.
“You know what? I’m just going to treat you. This’d take another forty-five minutes or so, but I’m sure you’ve got strep. That ok?”
In a moment of blindness, I accepted. At that point, I absolutely knew that the Mount Royal Clinic had misgiagnosed me and that this man, who listened to me and who worked in an honest-to-goodness hospital, surely knew strep when he saw it. He prescribed penicillin and I took it greedily. In these early stages of my illness, my throat was lenient enough to allow passage to medication and water, two things that they would spurn later on.
The literature that accompanied my prognosis claimed boldly that most patients suffering from streptococcal bacteria (that’s me!) generally feel better within two days once medicated. I took this timeline cheerily, but a lingering doubt festered in the back of my mind. I had been misdiagnosed once before…