Springtime in Aurora

May, 1999

Greetings, health conscious friends! 

It's May! The long winter months are finally over. It's time for us Maloneys to dig out our summer clothes (that don't fit us anymore), engage in hand-to-hand combat with our lawn mower and otherwise expose our pasty, office pallor flesh to the warm, friendly, carcinogenic rays of the sun. It's time for everyone to throw open their windows to let in those fresh spring breezes loaded with fresh spring pollen, and get out among the season's new crop of virii and bacteria. 
I start with this because most of the Maloney ranch here in Aurora has succumbed to the evil Strep infection, just this week. James got it first, then me, then Peter, each of us in turn rasping and gasping our way to the nearest medic, in order to receive THE CURE for this malady. 
As I said before, James got it first, along with a case of scarlet fever. (James is always extremely efficient; he never catches one thing at a time) Our family doctor was on vacation (probably in self defense) so Wendy took James to see the standby sawbones at another clinic. James got his meds going, so everything was working out for him.
Then it's MY turn. I get infected right when my spastic colon is acting up. (I am never lucky. It could be raining $50.00 bills, but I could go out and catch a handful of subpeonas.) The family doctor is back now, but his caseload is backed up into the new milennium. So is the standby. I am in pain from one end to the other, so I pull out the yellow pages. Wendy asks, "What are you doing?" " I am looking for a doctor," I reply, "I don't care if he's a quack, a psychiatrist, or a vet. If he can write a prescription, he's my man." Wendy says, "Don't be silly. Go to the immediate care center. It's near the hospital." "The E.R.?," I ask, looking surprised. Wendy looks at me as if I had the Moronic Plague. "No," she says, "It's like a discount E.R. You use it when your regular doctor is busy. Just go there." 
I call them up. They say "no appointment necessary," and "just walk in." I go there and sit in the waiting room, next to a "walk-in" hip replacement patient. The building is six months old, but the magazines on the table are three years old. The reading choices are: Esquire, Highlights (for children) and a seatback magazine from United Airlines--with a diagram showing the fastest way out of the waiting room---if I were waiting in a Boeing 737. I get called to see the receptionist, who gets my pertinent information, symptoms, plus my $10.00 co-payment- in advance! She also x-rays my insurance card, just to be sure of the coverage. 
I go back to my seat, anxious to read about how to use the "in-flight telephone", but as I sit down, I notice something frightening. People are being called IN to see the doctor, but nobody is coming OUT. I paid my money in advance, too. I worry about this until I remember that Jack Kevorkian is in jail. 
After half an hour the nurse calls me in. She asks,"What seems to be the problem, Mr. Maloney?" I say, "My Viagra tablet got stuck in my throat, and now I've got a stiff neck." She takes my vital signs and leaves. The doctor comes in. She does some tests, and announces, "You have Strep throat and a spastic colon. The medication for each condition will irritate the other." "Perfect," I think, "A standoff between my throat and my bowel. My personal civil war." The doctor says, "We will treat the Strep first, of course." I think, " The North wins again!" She gives me the prescriptions and pushes me out the exit chute. 
Now Peter has Strep, too. We have antibiotic desserts after all our meals. At least we will for the next 10 days. The family that sicks together-- sticks together. (Or is it the other way around?) 
Today is the first day of the fifth month, otherwise known as------ MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!
or is it----M'aidez! M'aidez! (French for 'Help me!')

Gotta go, it's time for my antacid.