Maybe you are like me this winter. I have had a cold that has dragged on for weeks. My nose ran, my sinuses hurt, then it got into my chest, and the hacking cough made it sound like I was dying. I lost my voice,  which was problematic because I host webcasts and radio. All this was happening while I needed to find a new primary care doctor. I wrote here previously that my doctor was moving, and I had been “assigned” by the clinic to Dr. C, who I did not know.
So I called Dr. C’s office and made a “get acquainted” appointment. I trotted out my ongoing cold symptoms. “Probably a virus,” she said. And, as we all know, antibiotics don’t treat viruses, your body just has to beat it over time. She ordered an MRI of my sinuses to look for infection. That was negative. So I went home to suffer, pop decongestants, ibuprofen and various things to keep my chest congestion loose.

Then the weekend hit, and things got worse - no more coughing, no head pressure but a really bad sore throat, swollen glands on one side - CLL, my cancer, up to no good? I was in California at this time. I called Dr. C. I finally got to her nurse, who had never heard of me. She was part of the antibiotic police too. I told her I thought something had changed, and maybe, just maybe, a prescription for an antibiotic would make sense now. “You’ll have to come in,” she said. “But I am 1,000 miles away,” I pleaded. “We’ll call you back,” she said. They never did. I suffered.

Monday, back in Seattle: do not pass go, call the clinic, see any doctor who has a pulse, get tested for strep. I see kindly Dr. S, practicing since 1974. He didn’t blink. “You’ve got strep, and I am treating it with penicillin,” no matter what the test says. Whew! This guy is going to be my new doctor, not Dr. C, who was, how shall we say this diplomatically, not a match for me. Plus she is going on maternity leave in a month, and, as a cancer survivor, I want someone who knows me and I can reach now. So Dr. S it is.

My little adventure brings up a good point for any of us who worry about being immuno-compromised. Does the bar have to be so high for us when it comes to avoiding inappropriate use of antibiotics? Doctors are now so careful so we don’t create drug-resistant strains. But when you have a chronic health concern, you want them to be a little more sympathetic.

Have you had to fight the antibiotic battle too?

– Andrew