I’m madder than doctor who shanked a putt because he got a call from his Mercedes dealer telling him his tune-up revealed big problems with his engine over this bug I got that has me coughing like an old Buick with a bad carburetor!
Look, you all know that I got the whooping cough not once, not twice, but thrice in my life. So there is no one on this planet that dreads catching colds that lead to coughs more than yours truly.
So I went on the offensive about two weeks ago when I got hit with the telltale signs that I was getting a cough — that annoying tickling in the back of my throat, and one of my nostrils becoming runnier than my morning eggs.
First, I tried the Mucinex, a pill which stopped the hacking, but left me with lungs full of phlegm! I was miserable, not only because of the gunk, but — more importantly — the fact that I lost my appetite.
Now, you don’t have to have a PhD in medicindry to know that if the Screecher isn’t hungry, he’s sick!
Fortunately, my friend Eileen, who has lots of experience being sick — told me to go see a doctor. But these days you can’t just go see a doctor without an appointment! And I couldn’t get one until Oct. 5!
I was feeling so bad, I knew something had to be done sooner than that, because I might not make it to Oct. 5. I even considered the emergency room — but I would rather die than go through that ordeal.
So Eileen suggested I go to Victor Memorial Hospital.
Now, you know as well as I do that Victory Memorial has been closed for years — probably because it’s motto was “Your parents died here, too.” But when I broke that news to Eileen, she gave me the advice of the century.
“But Carmine,” she said. “They have an urgent care center there now that nobody knows about and is always empty.”
That’s all I needed to hear, because as I’ve told all of you 1,000 times before, there is nothing I hate more than waiting in line.
When I called, I got a real human voice on the other end — and it wasn’t one of those human voices that politely says “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand what you just said” every time you yell at it!
I told her what my problem was: I’m a scooter-bound senior with bit of a weight problem and a severe cough. She told me to come right down to Seventh Avenue and 92 Street and look for the ramp by the canopy. Now that was out of Tornado’s range, so I was at the mercy of my chauffeur, my lovely wife Sharon, who took the Belt Parkway to Bay Eighth Street, went around the golf course, saw the canopy and found the ramp.
Travel time? Five minutes!
I called back to let them know I had arrived and was in need of my chariot. Again, a person answered the phone, and told me to drive to a mailbox on the corner, where a wheelchair would be waiting.
We got there and, sure enough, two women in scrubs just like they wear on the TV show “Scrubs” were waiting for us. They helped me out of the car, plopped me in the wheelchair and brought me on my way. Sharon went to park the car.
Barbara, a registered nurse, introduced herself to me, and Mary, an aide, quickly pushed me a few feet into the triage room, where I could stay in my wheelchair or get cozy in a bed. I chose to the chair, because that was my wont.
Thankfully, Barbara had taken my temperature, blood pressure, and weighed me before my wife got back from the car, so Sharon didn’t have her usual conniption when she heard how much I packed on since the last time they got me on a scale! And the blood pressure machine even fit around my big fat arm, which certainly isn’t the case at the local pharmacy, where only skinny people can check their vitals.
Then came the best part: my doctor was a knockout, and just the site of her knocked the sickness right out of me! I was so mesmerized by her voice, charm, and beauty, that I felt better the second she walked into the room.
She answered all my question pleasantly, asked me what I was doing for the cough, and how long was I suffering, and listened to my lungs with her stethoscope.
She determined I was “clear as a bell,” said there was no need to take an X-ray, and prescribed good old Robitussin with codeine.
Now’s the point in the column where I wrap everything up for you in one long, run-on sentence that I should have led with: I found this treat-and-release center of SUNY Downstate in Bay Ridge just five minutes away from my house and if you spend an hour in there you’ve spent a lot of time at this wonderful medical facility that most people don’t know about that has medical treatment available from 9 am to 9 pm with registered nurses, doctors and state-of-the-art medical equipment that can even treat a small beluga whale like yours truly. So get there fast before everybody learns about it and it gets too crowded! Oh, by the way, in October, you can get a free prostate cancer screening, and throughout the flu season, you can get free flu shots there. So I’ll see you there! Here’s the small type!:
SUNY Downstate Urgent Care Center [699 92 St. between Seventh Avenue and Parrot Place, (718) 567-1400].
Screech at you next week!