Sick in the city (without a car)

When you don’t own a car, getting sick can be a hassle. Your doctor might be several miles away, and you don’t want the expense of going to the ER (if that happens to be closer). Usually this means, you take a “wait and see” approach to most illnesses. While the average person might rush to the doctor for any little thing, it isn’t convenient for you to do that. (For this reason, there probably aren’t many hypochondriacs without a a car.)

I came down with a sore throat a few weeks ago that I initially assumed was the start of a standard cold. When I posted about it on Facebook, friends warned that it might be strep. I also learned that, left untreated, strep can cause scarlet fever and organ damage. I scoffed at their warnings because, obviously, I am invincible.

But I did look up strep throat online to see what the symptoms were, and I was lacking what seemed like a crucial fever component. I shone a light down my throat but wasn’t sure I saw anything. At the end of the second day, after drinking lots of tea and other fluids, it seemed to feel better.

The next morning, it was worse again. After studying the photos of strep throat online (because, as we know, you should always try very hard to diagnose your own illnesses using the internet), I again used a flashlight to look in my throat. Yup, there it was, plain as day. I sighed because that meant I actually had to do something about it, and I didn’t feel well, and it was a bit nippy out. Plus, according to my Facebook friends, I was pretty sure I was going to die anyway.

strep photo
Photo by Marcel Cairo

My neighbor told me via text (because it was getting hard to talk) about a walk-in clinic up the street. I looked up the address, put on a coat and scarf and headed out on foot. It was about 8 blocks away, and I enjoyed the fresh air after being cloistered away in my apartment for a few days.

There was only one other person in the waiting room, and I was taken into an examining room and seen by the doctor very quickly. He determined right away that I had strep and gave me a prescription. I was in and out in no time.

The walk home took me right past CVS where I filled my prescription and bought some yogurt and apple juice. My kind neighbor later got me some miso soup mixes while she was out, so I was all set for comfort foods.

Back at my apartment, I settled in for the rest of the week to recover. Although my strep throat was painful, my visit to the clinic to treat it was not. The incident gave me renewed confidence that my car-free lifestyle worked just fine for me.

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