A Winter Cold - By Brian Law

As he waited in the exam room for the doctor, he got up off the exam table and nosed around, just looking. He often wondered if they had cameras in these rooms. Anyway, he coughed a few times, blew his nose and sat down on the table again. He could hear his doctor talking in the next room with another patient. Nothing specific, just mumbles coming through the walls. It wouldn’t be long now, he thought, as he went over in his head what he was going to say about his symptoms. 

The doctor knocked slightly on the door and then swept in, all sterile and business-like. As he washed his hands, he asked, “So, Mr., uh . . . Robinson, what seems to be our problem today?” 

“Lots of coughing and wheezing, sinus congestion and general exhaustion, doctor,” he replied as the doctor approached him and looked closely at his eyes. 

“Okay, let’s take a look here,” the doctor said as he checked his temperature, his throat and ears, and listened to his heart and lungs for a few moments. “Go ahead and put your shirt back on, Mr. Robinson,” the doctor continued as he sat down at his computer and made some entries. 

“Well, what do I have, doc?” he asked. “Anything serious?” 

Without looking up from his computer, the doctor replied, “Let me ask you a few questions first. Had you been experiencing abnormal anxiety before the onset of these symptoms? I see you have a prescription for anti-anxiety meds.” 

He nodded and said, “Yeah, I’ve been having lots of anxiety lately. Losing sleep, too. Then this crud caught up with me, doc.” 

“Okay, and I see you are retired. Do you watch television news during the day? Or political commentary? Or take in the debates, things like that?” the doctor continued. 

“All the time, doc. It’s just terrible what’s happening, so you have to keep up these days,” he responded, coughing a bit. 

“And are you in close contact with others who are similarly caught up in current events?” the doctor continued. 

“Well, I used to, but God, you just can’t believe what idiots are out there these days. Complete morons. So, no, I pretty much keep to myself,” he answered. 

“Right. So, you’ve been feeling bad for a few days now. Do you still watch television even though you should be in bed, resting?” the doctor continued as he typed. 

“Got to keep current, doc!” he wheezed. 

The doctor paused, then looked up and asked, “And do you sometimes find yourself yelling at your television, particularly when certain personalities are featured? Or do you find yourself so frustrated that you sometimes experience shortness of breath, maybe even dizziness, too?” 

Wow, he thought to himself, this doctor is good! I came to the right place today! Straightening up a bit, he replied, “Exactly, doc! So, you know what’s ailing me? I hope it’s not serious?” 

The doctor got up from his computer and approached him saying, “I see a lot of this these days. But I didn’t say it wasn’t serious. I won’t go that far. But as long as you follow my instructions when you go home, you’re probably going to be alright.” 

As the doctor left the room, and as he finished dressing, he went over the doctor’s instructions in his head and remembered what he had said. As long as you follow my instructions when you go home, you’re probably going to be alright. 

If it was a simple matter of just taking some pills for a few days, that was one thing. But unplugging his television! Jesus, was this guy a quack, or what? 


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