Tuesday, November 03, 2009

If the Mask Fits....or Even if it really, really doesn't...

Wear it.

Here I am modeling the latest in doctor office waiting room couture. Notice the germ-catching ribs that give the outfit a "Is it SARS?" mystique and the kicky metal boning across the nose--very futuristic and visionary, as face masks go.

This is what I, and three of four other saps in the waiting room had to wear this morning because we called for appointments regarding *gasp!!!* a cough. As badly as I felt for myself and my fellow masked sickies, I felt worse for the patients in the waiting room who weren't asked by the staff to mask up. I could see as they looked from me to the next masked, and potentially H1N1-carrying specimen that they were watching every cough, every sneeze, making sure our masks stayed in place and recycled all our foul air back into our own breathing space instead of contaminating theirs.

And I'll tell you, it's like a freaking sauna inside that mask. Did they really need to give me one that went all the way up to my eyeballs and down to below my chin? Is someone's face REALLY that big? Is my face really that tiny? Are there a variety of sizes available in the face-mask market or do the manufacturers erroneously believe that "one size fits all"? Because they don't. My mask essentially swallowed my entire face and after about 20 minutes in the waiting room, rebreathing my own air, I was just this side of passing out (which I am sure would have made all those nervous nellies in the waiting room just convulse in panic).

Fortunately the doctor let me take the mask off during my appointment. She said, "just, you know, put it back on before you go back out there," and gave me the eye-roll that let me know she felt my pain. She then chatted with me about my symptoms, listened to my lungs, stuck things in my ears, nose and throat and declared me the host of one rocking sinus infection. Which I can tell you, in spite of the pain in my head that makes me feel like my eyes might explode out of my skull and that my teeth are throbbing, is a huge relief. Because, you know, now I can remain caught up in the H1N1 hysteria along with everyone else, since I haven't had it yet.

Can I digress for a minute? I've heard lots of stuff about the H1N1 virus and about the vaccine. I've watched people fight about it on Twitter and on message boards, on NPR and on Facebook status updates. I still don't know what I think of it all. I'm not at all anti-vax. Ethan is up to date on his immunizations. But I am hesitant about giving him the H1N1 vaccine. For the same reason I'd be hesitant about giving my daughter the Gardesil vaccine. BUT, with all of that argument fodder, it's a moot point. We're not high risk, so the vaccine will most likely not be made available to us at all, even if we desperately wanted it. My guilty mom confession is that I'm kind of relieved at the vaccine's lack of availability because it takes the responsibility of this decision off of me. Phew!

Anyhoo. Back to my sinus infection. I am pretending to have medical degree here and I'm going to say that the sinus infection is a new development in this 1+week old cold. The throbbing head pain just started yesterday and my fever returned yesterday afternoon. Given how I'm feeling right now (read: craptastic), I'm glad I went to the doctor and nipped this thing in the bud before it got really bad and all raging fevery.

Fret not. You will not be listening to me kvetch about this creeping crud much longer. And I have a growing list of topics that I want to write about. I just need to kick this infection to the curb first, mkay?

Thanks for all the well-wishes.

1 comment:

Becca said...

Watching waiting room etiquette play out at the ped's office recently cracks me up. If there are four people in the room, they sit in the four corners of the room as far away as you can get from everyone else. Very interesting what the masks vs. the no-masks dynamic would add to the mix.