All I Want for Christmas is Bronchitis: A Scrooge and Healthcare

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Click here to read…

I’m sure that Hell is a waiting room.  And I suspect that “Kelly and Michael” is on the TV there as well.

Welcome to the waiting room! And you don't have the remote!

Welcome to the waiting room! And you don’t have the remote!

I’d been hedging my bets, waiting for the really nasty cold from ten days ago to fade away.  Two days off work, leaving me just three in my sick-bank (after 17 months on the new job) combined with 17 hours sleep per day and I thought I had it licked.

Home below the home...

Home below the home…

But the cough persisted through Day 6 and brought me to the real answer why Victorian homes had separate bedrooms for the husband and wife.  Antibiotics weren’t invented yet and the snoring/wheezing/coughing of one spouse would end in either exhaustion for the other–or murder charges.  So I moved down to our guest room (also known as the basement couch) to sequester my nasty hacking and keep only our cat wide awake–and she’s up anyway.

The cough was practicing guerrilla warfare.  Every day it seemed a little better, then went back two steps for that small step forward.  At dinner on Day 7, I was making so much noise that Patrice noticed, “I think you’re getting worse.”

“It wasn’t that way at work today.”

Hmm.  There must be a reason.  What’s changed?  What’s different in the house now that wasn’t there before?  I did a quick inventory and ran it against my panty-waist allergies of dust, cats, grass-clippings and anything airborne March through November.

  • Two kids?  Check.  Nothing’s changed.
  • One cat?  One dog?  Check
  • One wife (for now)?  Check
  • No bags of grass clippings tucked in a corner?  Nope.
  • The Christmas tree?
Oh sure. It looks innocent enough...

Oh sure. It looks innocent enough…

Ah hah.  We were at the overpriced Christmas tree farm a few weeks ago, picked out a beauty, when I was half-way through cutting through the trunk and my daughter said, “It says ‘balsam.'”

“What?  It’s not a Fraser fir?”


“Is it more expensive?” my wife and I cried?

It wasn’t, but perhaps this strange brand was the culprit.  Maybe I had an allergy to a Christmas tree.  Maybe I was the Grinch.

So off to Walgreen’s I went.  An Allegra-D later, after certifying that I was not the next Walter White with aspirations of a meth-empire, I had taken my pill and convinced myself that I was out of the balsam woods.

Nope.  But denial did buy me two more days.

But last night at 1 AM (Day 10) I noticed a noise as I tried to sleep in my dungeon.  I thought our radiators were hissing.  It certainly wasn’t the tea kettle–our cat wasn’t that talented.  It took me a moment to realize the source.

My lungs.  Great.  Bronchitis.  Two years ago it was Christmas Eve.  At least this time it might be a bit easier to get in to see someone.

They collected my $50 before I even had a chance to slash my first check-box on the clipboard; and there we sat, me, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan.

Please let it be bronchitis.  Please don’t tell me that it’s just a virus and I need to tough it out.  I’ve spent my money, I want to be really sick!  After all, for fifty dollars I could buy myself three pairs of uncomfortable shoes.

“Walsh?” they hollered.  And in I went.  (I was hoping for fifty bucks they’d at least use my first name or “Mr.”)

I jumped through the hoops of reciting my last ten days, hoping to speed up the journey to the antibiotic my fifty years with this body has trained me to rightfully expect when I can whistle Jingle Bells through my throat.  Sure enough, they agreed.

And as I paid for the drugs at Walgreen’s, my sense of relief of not wasting $50 on hypochondria, of finally being released from the dungeon and gratefully losing my old friend the cough was countered with the sad realization that I would be shopping for Patrice’s present at the dollar store.

Perhaps that sleeping bag should stay down there.



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About Kevin Walsh

Kevin began in 2013 as an experiment that was as simple as "What's a blog?" and ended up becoming a forum for fellow writers. He's been a high school teacher for 28 years and worked as an administrator and instructor in colleges for 10 years since then. Contact him at: He is also the producer of the web-series and blog, www.DiggingDetroit, founder and producer for MMD Productions at which offers quick, professional photography, video and multimedia solutions for individuals, organizations and businesses. His high school media production text, "Video Direct," has been used in 40 states--and he occasionally still sells a few. He is the current president of the non-profit DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television) which sponsors the Michigan Student Film Festival. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, is married to Patrice and is tolerated by his two kids Aidan and Abby who have all graciously allowed him to write about them on occasion.

6 Responses to All I Want for Christmas is Bronchitis: A Scrooge and Healthcare

  1. Joe Maguire says:

    Very entertaining Kevin. We would have to coughing up a lung to go to the Dr. We are like most men, hate the doctors office. Hence, I haven’t been to the Dr. since my college physical. Mark says that when Doctors go to hell, they spend an eternity being told they will go to heaven in 20 minutes.

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      I love that image, Joe, of Mark’s version of MD Hell! Very funny. Like Seinfeld’s Chinese restaurant episode, “Five, ten minutes.” Merry Christmas!

  2. John says:

    I feel for you Kevin! My formula was five 500mg tablets of shaklee time delayed vit C every 5 hours. Been using that formula for 20 years and it works every time. Cold usually well in control in 4 days. Also got some antibiotics last time for secondary infection and my personal favorite – prescription cough medicine with codeine in it. I sleep like a baby!

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      I may try that cocktail, John! I got the cough medicine with codine as well–looking forward to a long winter’s nap! But to quote Lou Holtz, “I slept like a baby. I woke up every hour and cried.” 🙂

  3. Mary Ellen Maguire says:

    You Are SUCH a good writer Kevin, sick or not! Hope Santa can find you down there in the basement and take any remnants of this cold out with him in his empty bag!!
    Happy Holidays to you All.
    Love, Mary Ellen

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      Thanks, as ever, for the positive vibes, Mary Ellen. That may carry more weight than my antibiotics! Have a great holiday!