Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alex - Pneumonia and Bloody Phlegm

Alex popped in here Wednesday at about eight in the morning looking like a wreck. He sat on the couch complaining that his head was pounding. I took his temperature and he had a mild fever. He coughed incessantly. I got out my stethoscope and listened to his lungs. His left lung sounded as though it was filled with fluid. His right lung sounded like pneumonia - crackling, popping and gurgling. He said he wasn't going to work and was going to stay home and rest. I asked him if he wanted to get into see the doctor. Although we was reluctant, he agreed to go at 2 in the afternoon and asked me to wake him up. I made the appointment.
When two came around, he of course didn't wake up. It took me fifteen minutes to solicit a response - which was that he wasn't going. OK - pneumonia can kill you, I said.
Friday morning at 8:30 Alex called again. He said he was coughing up blood. That's not good. His cough was railing and sounded like rhinitis in a way - coughing coughing and relatively unproductive. He asked what he should do. I said, are you ready to do what you're told - as in following a doctor's orders. He said that he would rather follow both of our orders and so we went to the Doctor. We met at Mocha and Java's and then drove over to Dr. Roger's office. He had no temperature but the Doctor listened to his lungs, checked his throat and ears, lymph nodes and such. Alex described the blood he was finding in his phlegm - red spots of blood or pink in color. The doctor was concerned, asking him to stop smoking at least until he was better. He gave him a long cycle of Zithromax, a steroidal inhaler and some codeine cough syrup. His insurance - unfortunately - had a $500 deductible which was as yet unsatisfied - and so I paid for the visit and the medications. I'm not sure what I think about that. It's probably his parents responsibility - or his. But seeing as he had no money and finding his parents to step up would just further delay his recovery - and maybe make things worse. I'm happy to do it of course.
He's a ticking time bomb Bronwyn says. Sure enough - all of the efforts of whatever kind seem only to delay or slow the inevitable, or to leave the premonition of some forthcoming calamity. Alex is determined to die young and he makes no bones about it. He's going to have fun until it's over - he says with a laugh, assuring me he will be smoking a cigarette on the way out the door. Perhaps one day he will surrender the things of youth and find a more righteous and less threatening path.

The latest update - it has been four days since he has had a cigarette.

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