Friday, June 30, 2017


My lord. I left Tokyo on Saturday June 24 with a scratchy throat. It is now, I believe June 30, and I have pneumonia!!!

Sorry, poor excuse for not posting any blogs, especially from Japan, but they will, eventually and hopefully, be posted.

This is unbelievable. I don't believe I have ever felt so pathetic.

I lie in bed and listen to debates about the new health care bill while I try, in my small way, to get help.

I have Medicare and a supplemental with Kaiser - Seniorcare Advantage.

Sunday morning I felt very weak and coughed sort of non stop, so I called urgent care. I had to answer all sorts of questions from an advice nurse. I know she, in turn, has to ask me these questions before she can continue with any 'assistance.'

How long have you been coughing?

(me, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 10 sec.)

Do you feel congested?

(Yes, that is why I am coughing)

On a scale of 1- 10 how bad would say your cough is?

(really? why do you think I am calling)

Is your nose running?
Can you walk to the end of your room?

(for God's sake)

Do you have a fever?

(I don't know - I will take it eventually)

On and on and on.


Would you like a doctor to call you?

Dr. so and so will call at 10.20 a.m. do you need a reminder for this?
(it is 9.20 am - I think I can remember for another hour.)

Doctor calls - same questions. Then she says - you may have walking bronchitis (?) or a bad cold. Drink plenty fluids (which I am doing) and if you still feel bad in two days, call your personal doctor.

Tuesday - I am feeling very very bad. My throat is extremely painful on the left side - I can't swallow. I am coughing endlessly and feel very weak.

I e-mail my doctor, as I am supposed to do. It is 7.00a.m.

I send a follow-up e-mail to say my throat is a bit better, as I don't want to unnecessarily alarm my doctor.

I receive 2 e-mail replies that my doctor is out of the office until July 5.

I call the advice nurse again

same number of questions

(same answers with the edition of the sore throat and that I am running a fever)

Would you like a doctor to call?


doctor ... will call in an hour and a half. Do you need a reminder?


A doctor calls and paraphrases summary of previous doctor. "You have a cold" he says

(I think a little more than a cold, I say)

I can send you a prescription for cough medicine

(could it be mailed - I don't feel well enough to pick it up)

Yes - I suppose so.

A little later I log on to my pharmacy center - there is the prescription with a remark next to it that it cannot be mailed. Call number on bottle (There is no bottle and no number)

I call the pharmacy and get a 'representative' for Northern California.

Rep: No prescription has been sent to the pharmacy

me: But I see it on my center

Rep: Yes, but it is not here

me: Whatever, if it can't be mailed can I pick it up?

Rep: But there is no prescription

This kafkaesque like conversation continues until finally she says. "Call the doctor for another prescription"
I explain that I don't know the doctor. I then have to call the advice line again. (All of this takes 4 hours) Eventually I am told that I can pick up the prescription.

The prescription has 10 mg. of codeine which is why all the prescautions and sealed packages. I have to hand over every form of ID possible. This is because of the opioid epidemic - I just want to stop coughing!

By now I am feeling really bad. I have a scary night - freezing, shivering and shaking uncontrollably, endless coughing, hallucinations about Anita Pallenberg (??????) This is NOT GOOD because

a) she is dead
b) why does she appear in my hallucinations?

Now I am now truly scared

I call the advice line again the next morning. This time I insist that I do not want a doctor to call me - I am really sick, I say. I need help, proper help, like actually seeing a doctor. Any doctor would hopefully use a stethoscope and hear the wheezing and rattling which I can hear loud and clear without a stethoscope.

Again - same endless questions - on a scale of 1 - 10 how bad is your chest pain?

(oh nooooooooooooo)

Then she says - I am messaging a doctor who is covering for your doctor. They will call you within 4 hours.

Three and a half hours later I get a call that I need to come in for a chest x-ray and to pick up some antibiotics and something else that is at the pharmacy. I do not get an appointment with an actual doctor.

I drive in feeling alternately clammy, cold, exhausted, foggy.

I pick up the antibiotics and some inhaler for which I fork out $84.00

Then I go for a chest x-ray ($55.00) and I go home.

I get home and get a call from the doctor's office
The x-ray shows you have pneumonia - you need to come back in for stronger antibiotics.

I ask all of you - is this humane???????????????

Thank heavens for a cousin who called and went to get the new medication for me. And thanks to all the offers of food and shopping. I am really grateful. When and if my appetite returns, I shall take you all up on it.