As some of you may know, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for the last few weeks. However, sturdy Irish woman that I am, I don’t believe in troubling doctors over minor things like coughs or colds. I wait until something semi-serious happens before I decide to make an appointment. For example, bleeding out of my eyes would probably qualify as worthy.

This time though, my approach to medicine (‘powering through’ and wine), didn’t seem to be helping much. I finally gave in, called the surgery on Monday, and got an appointment for 10am on Tuesday. I finished my 8.30 lesson and headed over to the doctor’s, thinking that I’d be in and out in twenty minutes tops, leaving me with plenty of time for a cup of tea and a cake before the next lesson.

When the doctor asked me what was wrong, I told her that I’d had ‘a bit of a’ cough and a cold for the last couple of weeks and that they didn’t seem to be going away. She asked me if I had a fever and I actually touched my forehead before answering ‘no’. (I turn a tad mentally-challenged in the presence of doctors.) She then wanted to know if my cough was ‘productive’. It certainly wasn’t doing much for my productivity but yes, it was merrily producing away, like a little internal phlegm-manufacturing plant.

Cue lots of dress-yanking and heavy breathing – which wasn’t nearly as sexy as it sounds – and some stethoscope action. She announced that I had bronchitis. (OK, that doesn’t sound too bad – give me a prescription and I’ll be on my way.) BUT (uh oh) my right lung was making some weird sounds (thank god my liver can’t make noise) and she was concerned that I might have the beginnings of pneumonia…

Um, what?? Isn’t pneumonia SERIOUS? How could a person with pneumonia be this, well, upright? Surely, if I had pneumonia, I’d be lying in bed with a hot Jānis mopping my feverish brow and maybe feeding me grapes (in original or liquid form)? She told me I had to go for a lung X-ray. The results would be sent to her and she would call me the next day if there was bad news.

Kissing my tea, cake and next lesson goodbye, I trotted across the street to the ‘Medicīnas sabiedrība ARS’ or ARS Medical Centre. (Yes, it really is pronounced ‘arse’ and yes, as I’m so mature, I normally I giggle every time I walk past it.) But for the first time in 3 years, I wasn’t laughing.

Major ARSE

Major ARSE

Assaulted by the smell of sick people and bleach, I took my seat in the radiology unit. I ARSed around on my phone until I was called around ten minutes later. My hopes of meeting a hot doctor (called Jānis), were quickly dashed as I was briskly ushered into a room by a severe-looking mountain of a woman, possibly called ‘Gundega the Terrible’.

In Latvian:

GTT: “Do you speak Latvian?”

Me: “A little.”

GTT: “Harumph.”

In English:

GTT: (brandishing a piece of paper) “Sign no pregnant.”

I scrawled a signature.

GTT: “Top off.”

As I previously mentioned, I was wearing a dress so the whole she-bang would have to come off. I waited to be handed some sort of robe, but GTT had already stalked off. So I self-consciously padded over to the X-ray machine, topless in my tights and boots – not a good look, in case you were wondering.

She pointed at where I should stand and I quickly obeyed. A hard shove in the back sent me flying – boobs-first – into the screen. Jesus, if I hadn’t been ill coming in here, I probably would be by the time I left. First X-ray done, I had to turn so my right side was facing the screen and put my arms over my head. Clearly I didn’t do it to GTT’s liking as she manhandled me into a more painful position. It was all over in around 5 minutes and I quickly scrambled back into my dress and left little trails of fire behind me in my haste to get out of there.

I stopped by the chemist’s on the way out and picked up my THREE prescriptions. A text from my cancelled student advised me to drink honey and lemon but to be honest, a lemon that isn’t floating on top of a hot whiskey just feels wrong, so I had a cup of tea and a lemon meringue pie instead.

The rest of the day was spent in a muddle of how to fit all the bloody drugs into a full working schedule. One to be taken twice a day, another to be halved and also taken twice a day – but with ‘distance’ between them both. An inhaler to be puffed on twice four times a day, ideally at 4-hour intervals. Honestly, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for this sickness business.

My home pharmacy

My home pharmacy

Today was business as usual, apart from waiting for the dreaded phone call. I figured she’d probably call early to put me out of my misery if there was any news. 10 o’clock came and went, 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock… I was in the clear! I got an email at around 4.30 (uh oh) which said that the X-ray had shown no sign of pneumonia. I wheezed a sigh of relief.

For the next two or three days, if the drugs do what they’re supposed to, it’s going to be a total phlegm-fest as all the crap ejects itself from my body. I guess it serves me right for being so damn sexy the rest of the time…

In a weird way, I’m actually quite looking forward to this as it means that I can finally contribute a couple of Irish snot rockets to the mean streets of Riga.

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Expat, Humor, Humour, Illness, Janis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to No-monia

  1. The funniest post I’ve read lately about being sick. Poor thing.

  2. Oh, yes, in Ireland there is nothing about fetishism in xray. Sorry to disappoint.
    Had last week one on my back in Beaumont hospital.
    Nurse called me, shoved changing room with big pile of blue paper kind of robes. Told me to take off my clothes (incl. Bra) leaving underwear on, put on the robe and wait untill called. I changed into robe, after a little while there was knock on the second doors in changer. The nurse asked if I am ready and then let me in the xray room. She explained how to lie down and when and how to turn and where to put my legs and when to stop breathe for xray and the rest in gentle quiet voice.
    Aftef xray she explained about where and when I will be getting results.
    Then she opened the same doors I came in. I changed into my own clothing and I left with a smile.
    Simply, professional and civilised.

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  4. Aussa Lorens says:

    Oh man, this happened to me last January– I am so so sorry! Dammit, why can’t wine and lemon meringue pie be enough?! Definitely make sure to get lots of rest! I kept trying to soldier through pneumonia and ended up sick for about 8 weeks. It was terrible. Please do feel better soon and good luck with the snot rockets!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Still haven’t quite mastered the snot rocket. Have been doing some very unladylike spitting though 😉 Finished work for the day so going to have a nap for a few hours – feel worn out after the week!

      • Aussa Lorens says:

        I’ll bet you do :-/
        And they are all about the snot rocket in China as well… Gosh, I’m trying to eat a cinnamon roll and this is grossing me out… cream cheese icing and all that… EW.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! Yeah, it’s not the most aesthetically- or aurally-pleasing habit in the world! I got hammered by the Latvians when I wrote that post – I guess it’s not just a Latvian thing 😉

        Enjoy your cinnamon roll! 🙂

  5. barbedwords says:

    I have no desire to visit the doctor whilst in Italy (despite it being a national hobby here) so am with you all the way on the ‘powering through’ and wine technique. Very disappointed to hear it didn’t work this time. Hope you get better very soon; being full of phlegm is just snot funny…

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! Well, that’s kind of funny! 🙂 Yeah, they go to the doctor here if they have a sniffle. I also can’t understand how people can know their exact temperature at all times 😉

  6. I’m glad you have great bouncebackability. I’ve had bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma. I’ve had chest X-rays, I take pills, use puffers and nasal sprays. The female doctors, nurses and radiologists are never good looking. It must be a requirement, or part of their entrance exam — Attractive women need not apply. I’m sorry for your discomfort. Dennis

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks Dennis! I’m not really in much discomfort – that ended as soon as I put my dress on and got out of the clinic 😉 Hope you’re OK now!

  7. pollyheath says:

    Damn. Now I’m totally terrified of my cough and fatigue. I think, though, I’d rather die of pneumonia than go to a Russian doctor (or pay for a European clinic!).

  8. Mr Kev says:

    What is it with EFLers and getting violently ill?! We had a guy last year who got pneumonia TWICE and still didn’t think it was a good idea to eat even one vegetable. Now he’s wised up, we had a girl who almost coughed herself inside out this year. Craziness! :\

  9. I have to admit that this post made me laugh (I tend to laugh at awful or uncomfortable things) especially because your xray experience brought back memories of my first days in France when I was forced to take a medical exam for full visa approval. Fun times.

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  10. Drugs, cake and tea! Sounds like my kinda party. 😉 Glad you’re feeling better, I too have been under the weather for several weeks and went to visit the doc this morning and alais it’s his day off. Go figure! 🙂

  11. Ah, Linda, you had me at “thank god my liver can’t make noise” :p

    I had an x-ray here in Ukraine this fall. Weirdly they never brought up the pregnancy issue, it was just “get over there and lie on the table while we x-ray your tailbone”.

  12. Well I’m glad you’ll be on the mend soon. I recently went too and got sent for an X-ray. Due to the lovely language barrier I ended up taking my top off in the waiting room and then was scolded for doing it. Well it’s not like anyone elapse was there?! Then I too had to “sign not pregnant” . Lol

  13. bevchen says:

    Pneumonia is something to do with fluid getting into the lungs (I think?). After his operation, my grandpa had to get out of bed as soon as possible and walk around to prevent him getting pneumonia. It is serious, but I think more serious for old people.

    The being made to get naked thing sounds like something that would happen in Germany… no robes here either.

    Glad to hear the drugs are working. Get well soon!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks! Already well on the road to recovery! Yeah, the doc said walking around would be good for me so I may as well keep working as just walk around pointlessly! 😉 Ugh, pissing it down at the moment. Maybe a sick note would have been a better idea… 😉

  14. so, while I was flat in my bed coughing, sneezing, and all feeling miserable while battling away some nasty virus, which got me there in the first place, you’re making misery into a fun blog entry, huh? Well done 😀

  15. Karolyn Cooper says:

    You are brilliant at turning misery into funny blogposts. A friend of mine was knocked out by bronchitis last week, and is getting better now- there is light at the end of that coughing tunnel. Get well soon!

  16. 1WriteWay says:

    I swear, only you can make being sick sound funny 🙂 I’m glad to hear that the drugs are working. Like your mum, I would have had you to the doctors long before this. I’ve had x-rays and no, as a rule, they don’t shove you around when taking x-rays. Must be the Latvian way, and also a good reason to get treated early so you can avoid such abuse 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, I think I’ve learned my lesson there! Not planning on crossing paths with Gundega again! 😉 The drugs are working a treat – The Verve were wrong 😉

  17. linnetmoss says:

    LOL at the snot rockets, but see here, missy. You need bed rest or it could indeed turn into pneumonia. Get thee to the couch and NO working. Drinks with whiskey and lemon permissible.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I did ask the doc but she said I could keep working! Full day today, half day tomorrow and then bed for the weekend, I promise! (And maybe a small whiskey) 😉

  18. Only you can make being sick be so funny. Damn shame the Janis search has not yet come to fruition… someone on standby to take away your phlegm encrusted tissues would be handy about now. Rest up and get well soon.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Don’t even talk about tissues! I think I’m keeping Rimi (supermarket) in business buying their ten packs of tissues 😉 They’ll wonder what happened to their profits in around 5 days time! 🙂

  19. mikemajor9 says:

    Given the nasty state of health you’ve been in — and dammit Linda, listen to your mum and see a doctor before approaching pneumonia-like symptoms! — I’m going to refrain from commenting on all of the nudity, boobs and hot Latvian man lust going on here 😉 — and I know its hard to do esp when working for yourself, but try, try, try to slow the work down a bit… if you can at all.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yes sir! I actually turned down a new student yesterday 😦 I really do feel fine though – really, I’ve had worse hangovers! I really thought that the word ‘phlegm’ would have ruled out any focus on the nudity (semi-nudity actually!) but seemingly not! I’d still let you feed me grapes any time though 😉 Wait until I tell you some of my 100% health nudity stories… 😉

  20. Anna says:

    You poor dear! You know what your problem is? “‘powering through’ and wine”
    You must substitute the latter for vodka with fully-squeezed lemon (with pulp) and honey. Cures bronchitis, common cold, pneumonia, some forms of cancer, and demonic possession.

    Sending you much love, sweets!

    PS – that X-ray you described? I was forced to do one (same as yours all the way) after hurting my back/spine in a horse-riding accident. Which leads me to assume that it’s some sort of a post-Soviet medical fetish.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, maybe it is! She was so rough! I understand that there was a slight language barrier but jesus, she could have pointed! 🙂 Ah vodka – is there anything it can’t do??

      • Anna says:

        Nope. It’s magic!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Mmm, boozy magic 😉

      • Lila says:

        Here s a good russian recipe against bronhitis:
        – gargle a strong brew of chamomile or some warm water with salt and soda in ur throat
        – drink milk with soda (yucky but helps!!)
        – drink a shot of vodka with black pepper
        – smear vodka on ur chest
        put an itchy wool shawl around ur neck and go to sleep=) or u can go straight to vodka and leave everything else out=) and also the best of it, my moms best reccomendation to me when im sick – keep ur feet in superhot water then dry them, take ur socks, put some dry mustard powder in them put them on and go to sleep. these remedies have saved millions of russian lives during winter flue epidemic. here btw is a great way to prevent flu and pneumonia:

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, that story is nuts! As I don’t have an itchy wool shawl or any mustard powder, I think I’ll stick with the vodka.

      • Nina says:

        That was your first x-ray experience, right? Then you do not know how to stand correctly so GTT could take that picture. Pointing would not help. Did she shove you so hard, that you had an actual injury? No? Then stop whining! I get that – you were ill. But seriously – you act like a total brat.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yup, that’s me.

  21. nancytex2013 says:

    Ugghh, sorry to hear you’re still feeling so sick. That inhaler is very familiar to me. I hate that little fucker. But it does help more than anything else I’ve found.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery. And boooo on no hot Janis. 😦

  22. Lila says:

    do they x ray differently in ireland? must be about the same athough maybe with better attitude. btw how is that business with finding a hot janis going on?

  23. Rubbish… I hope you feel better soon! For a second I thought you were bleeding out of your eyes, so I guess compared to that a bit of bronchitis isn’t so bad after all! 😉

  24. Jack says:

    Anything approaching pneumonia-like symptoms is horrid, I’ve had it! It took me wheezing “I…can’t…breathe…Is…that…bad enough?” to convince my mum it was worthy of calling the ambulance. They took the x-rays and did tests and sent me home at first, only to recall me a couple of days later and keep me overnight. Then I got a good week off of school to medicate and rest up. Get well soon!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks! I feel fine actually – the drugs have kicked in nicely 😉 My mum definitely would have had me in the doctor’s week ago though! Thankfully I can keep working!

  25. Aw, poor petal… no wine while you’re on those!

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