Like many Americans this past weekend, I found my way to somewhere warm with friends and family.
Unlike many Americans, though, I found myself in the middle of a two-week tune up.
For those of you keeping score at home, a tune up is when people with CF go on IV antibiotics to treat a lung infection. (Learn about that HERE)
It turns out four weeks of speaking engagements and fundraisers throughout the month of June didn’t do my health any good, so here I am.
With any sort of illness, from the common cold to something chronic, there’s always going to be some level of frustration associated with it. For a while I had plans with friends from college to spend a weekend in the sun, hit the jet skis and whatever else it is that 25 year-olds do. Those plans were reevaluated once it became apparent that I was getting sick, but it’s not like anything that I haven’t had to deal with before. If staying out of the water, wearing a little extra sunscreen, sleeping in a bit later and abstaining from drinking a couple Budweisers were going to be my biggest concerns, then I could deal with it.
One bump in the road, though, came on Friday night and into Saturday when I thought I was having a reaction to one of my IV antibiotics. In the world of healthcare, there are few things more terrifying than an allergic reaction. It’s been about the better part of a decade since I’ve dealt with anything close to that, so I think I would be lying if I said it didn’t make my heart rate jump a little.
Reactions can be pretty horrible because they can cause someone to go into anaphylaxis. I can’t say that it has ever happened to me and I sure as hell hope that it never does.
I know my list of allergies front to back so that I can always stay on top of them, even in the event of an emergency.
After a phone call with my doctor on Saturday morning, she was able to calm my nerves and quickly reassure me that I was probably experiencing something different from an allergic event, but suggested on the off chance that I was in the midst of a slow developing allergic reaction that I check to make sure my EpiPens were in working order and pop a Benadryl before my next IV dose.
Since it was a holiday weekend, the EpiPens, of course, were expired.
You can’t make this shit up.
I sent her a text to let her know that they were expired, so she called in an order to a local 24-hour pharmacy.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so I paused my IV-dose schedule (the med I’m using is supposed to run every 8 hours) and took a ride up to the pharmacy. I was greeted with a line wrapping around the store. Had it been the middle of flu season, I would have turned right around and came back later, or sent someone else to the pharmacy for me, but it looked to me like most people were trying to figure out how to cure nasty sunburns, so I stayed.
After several minutes of waiting I was finally up “next,” but the woman in front of me started to have an issue. She (seemingly) wanted the entire pharmacy to know that her weekend was going to be ruined because she was prescribed a course of doxycycline.
Doxy, as a regular like myself likes to call it, can cause sun sensitivity, but it really isn’t too bad if the proper steps are taken lessen sun exposure. In fact I know it’s not too bad because I have taken that shit twice a day, just about every day, for the better part of the past four years or so (even in the summer months!!).
The woman in front of me reasoned that the drug’s sun sensitivity properties would prevent her from enjoying a weekend of golf, tennis and time at the beach. Her tirade continued for no less than a minute, and then finally concluded when she established that it wasn’t fair that her doctor’s prescription inconvenienced her weekend in the Hamptons.
In our world of rash conclusions, this was pretty rash. I can’t speak for the rest of the people waiting in line, but it was pretty apparent that everyone was uncomfortable with the way things had deteriorated.
I understand that getting sick and having to readjust plans can be pretty frustrating, but it’s not an impossible task, in fact I was in the middle of doing that myself! It took a lot of self-control on my part not to go ballistic. For someone to have a perfect bill of health and then have a total f*cking breakdown over a couple days of antibiotics was absolutely inexcusable.
Here’s a pro-tip: complaining will get you absolutely nowhere in life. It’s counter productive, and to be completely honest, it’s one of the weakest things a person can do. Sometimes it’s important to fail or understand that perfection isn’t always the way things work, because in the end, those situations will make us stronger and more efficient problem solvers.
To the woman in question here: it’s not like your world was falling apart. Maybe you needed to get your hands on 50 SPF instead of 25, but still, that’s not that big of a deal. Maybe wear a UV protection shirt when you’re playing tennis at the country club, or what about getting up early and playing golf before lunch when the sun isn’t so high? How about bringing an umbrella to the beach? Those are just a few of my suggestions. Doxy isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially if you think the cruelest side effect might be sunburn.
If your complexion was your biggest concern, then I have a hard time imagining how difficult your life really must be. I’m sorry that you were sick and I’m sorry that an oral antibiotic needed to be used, but let’s try and come back to Earth for a few minutes. There are worse things that could happen.
I fear for people like this who have such an absurd perspective of reality. I would hardly consider this a crisis situation, but as the saying goes, you get your best look at someone dealing with a crisis. I hope this person never has to go into crisis-mode, because I’m just not sure how successful she will be.
I try very hard not to compare someone’s problems to my own, because I know that something very small to someone who doesn’t face adversity as often as I do can seem like something insurmountable, but I couldn’t help myself in the moment. I was in line to buy an EpiPen so I could be prepared to deal with anaphylaxis should I have an allergic reaction to an intravenous drug I was minutes away from infusing. To put it more bluntly, I had no idea if I was about to shoot something into my veins that could put me in the emergency room if I wasn’t prepared. I cannot remember the last time I was feeling more anxious.
Maybe next time, keep your complaint to yourself, think about and reevaluate the situation.
But, yeah, sun sensitivity is a pretty major problem in the Hamptons these days.