Laughter Is the Best Medicine–Especially When You’re The Doctor

  As I sit here popping horse-pill-sized antibiotics during my weeklong battle with “the crud” while playing nurse to both my hubby and sick dog it was no wonder that I almost swallowed the wrong pills. Crap. That was close. It wouldn’t be the first time somebody in this house had ingested doggie meds.

“Keflex? I’ve taken these before. Does this mean if I got sick, I could take these?” I asked the vet jokingly some years ago as I stared at Stella’s antibiotic.”

After a long pause the vet, clearly thinking I was bonkers, replied raising an eyebrow, “It won’t hurt you, but I don’t recommend it.”

 Hubby would later regret my having had that conversation.

  It was the height of cold and flu season and we were all sick and taking antibiotics, including Stella though unlike her we hadn’t sniffed something funky at the corner fire hydrant. After a week I improved and so did our son, Jack. Stella was switched from her human Keflex to a doggie antihistamine and finally rallied. But the slower recovering, ever-pitiful hubby was convinced that what he had was no ordinary flu, but a deadly case of Anthrax. Or as his mama, who was visiting referred to it, Amtraks. You know, as in the train. One of her many mispronunciation that I fondly refered to as Loretta-isms.

          “Are you sure you have Amtraks?”she asked, clearly concerned for dying son. “You don’t look very well,” she said to Todd as he slumped at her words.

“Loretta, it’s Anthrax, not Amtraks. Amtraks is the train not the virus. Besides, it’s only the flu you know. Todd, you’re fine.  Why don’t you just go back to the doctor if you’re so worried?” I asked.

   “Cause I don’t want to find out at age forty that I have Anthrax,” he could barely say the word.

     Oh, please.</i>

     “We still have some medicine in the house. I suggest you start taking them before it’s too late,” I laughed,purposely neglecting to mention that they were Stella’s pills.

     Fortyeight hours later and no improvement, Todd began to freak out, “I need Cipro, that’s the only thing that will save me!”

      Personally I thought he’d done better with a candy bar and a Thorazine drip,but once a man begins the process of dying, God forbid you try to stop him. It was true the Anthrax scare was all over the news with panicked people stockpiling the antibiotic Cipro to a point of mass hysteria.

     “Just because that guy at the National Enquirer down the street got Anthrax doesn’t mean you have it. Hell, you’ve been wearing those rubber gloves and surgical mask Mama sent for days. The only reason you didn’t get well was because Stella’s medicine wasn’t strong enough to combat whatever it is you’ve contracted,” I finally blurted, the “canine” cat out of the bag.

     The color drained from his face as if I’d been he’d been administering rat poison to him and for the lack of better words he became well, how should I put it–unglued.

“Dog medicine! You gave me dog medicine! How could you! How am I going to explain to emergency room that I’ve been trying to fight off Anthrax with dog medicine! What’s wrong with you! That will be beyond embarrassment!” he yelled. “What if you’ve given me some kind of weird dog disease from taking that stuff?”

    “Well, as long as you’re not craving dog biscuits and drinking from the toilet, what are you worried about?” I asked logically exhausted from his week long bout of hypochondria.

       I tossed him the pill bottle with Stella’s name and the animal hospital clearly printed on the label, “Why don’t you let the bottle do your talking for you?”

     Much too sick to go to work that morning, he somehow managed to drive himself to the emergency room while he was still vertical.

 Eight hours later, he arrived home with his Cipro in hand.

     “I don’t have Anthrax after all,” he announced, surprised. “It’s the flu.”

  “There’s a shocker,” I said sarcastically. “No distemper? Or kennel cough?”

     “I told the doctor what you did to me and he gave me a big lecture about sharing medicine with Stella. I’ve never been so embarrassed! I think he even wrote it down in my permanent file. Any way he gave me the Cipro like I wanted. Just to be sure.”

“I’m sure that’s all he wrote,” I giggled as I heard the train whistle in the distance.

Ah, yes there’s nothing like being “sure” when you’re the doctor.

About Mellie Justad

A transplanted Southerner trying to survive in South Florida or what I fondly refer to as,"The Land of the Southern Impaired" I write about everyday life from my days as my hometown's Possum Queen to being cut from my wet suit with the Jaws of Life with a pair of hedge clippers. My humorous essays have appeared in the anthology, Not Your Mother's Book on Being a Mom, Midlife Boulevard, The Storyteller, ParentingPlus, Dew on the Kudzu and Muscadine Lines. Remember when you find yourself at the end of your rope- don't despair and crochet your own noose- Just add humor.
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