my nights are an unlimited number of attempted sleep punctuated by coughs, the kind that bounces me in bed (legs kicking up in the air, upper torso snapping forward) and keeps me from falling asleep. the past two weeks have not been fun, and it's a miracle i can get any sort of sleep at all. another restless night, but i was eager to wake up this morning because i knew today i'd be seeing the doctor.

i went to work with the leftover pasta from saturday evening. the weather when i left the house was surprisingly balmy and i wondered if i was overdressed. even though the temperature was in the 40's, for some reason it felt like the 60's, perhaps the humidity. i was sweating on the train ride into work, standing room only, i had my stoic face while standing my ground and spacing out, rolling a cough drop around in my mouth to keep me from coughing on the other commuters.

don't know how it happened, but before i knew it i had arranged to meet eliza at park street for lunch. she walked from her workplace in the back bay, we met right on time, then went to chacarero to get our sandwiches, eliza's first experience with the shack. we ate in boston common, along a stretch of road flanked by park benches, facing the state house, it's golden dome glistening in the sun. the weather for some reason wasn't as warm as we thought it'd be, but we braved it nevertheless. she asked me what book i've been reading ("good omen", i said (about a reluctant antichrist), while she's working dave eggers' "you shall know our velocity") and whom i'm voting for in the presidential election ("i'm a registered democrat," i told her). further away, two drunk homeless men were talking loudly. i told eliza if she went over there, they'd given her an honest evaluation of her appearance and she could find out if she had that certain special "it" quality ("hey beautiful!" one of the men shouted to a business woman walking by). a mangy squirrel approached us, and eliza threw it some bread from her sandwich. the squirrel sniffed at the bread ball and ran off. huh! dissed by a squirrel! i thought they ate everything, but apparently that squirrel was too good for bread. a fat pigeon with far less discriminating taste hobbled by and took the bread. eliza then got the idea in her head that maybe squirrels eat meat, so she next tried some chicken bits. the mangy squirrel came back, sniffed the chicken, and ran off again. huh! what a finicky squirrel! no wonder it's mangy. though it seemed to hate our food, that squirrel wouldn't leave our area. it climbed a tree and seemed to be paralyzed on a branch, perhaps just resting, enjoying the faux good weather. suddenly it scampered around the tree trunk, and from the treetop we saw a large bird flying away, which turned out to be a hawk. did the squirrel scare the hawk, or did the hawk freak out the squirrel?

it was getting late, and since we both had jobs to get back to, we ended our lunch and went out separate ways. i finished my can of pepsi and brought back the rest of my small beef chacarero sandwich.

i left work again before 5pm to go to the mass general hospital for my appointment. i didn't pay my $15 co-payment because they had already collected the money. doctor simon came out of his office with a patient and told me he was running late (as usual). some of the secretaries rolled their eyes and laughed, before they went home for the day (i was the last patient). 2 other people saw doctor simon before he came back out one last time to bring me into his office. in a hoarse voice i told him about how it all started two fridays ago, with the sore throat and the cold chills and the fever and the body aches. i told him about the coughing, and he asked if i noticed that i coughed more when i was lying down. he diagnosed my condition as a post-nasal drip, which i felt was very anticlimatic, since i was hoping for something more, like pneumonia or perhaps mild tuberculosis, something that would require chest x-rays and throat cultures. he performed none of those tests, said antibiotics at this point really wouldn't help, and the best i could is to take come over-the-counter decongestants. he read my blood pressure ("excellent," he said, "123/90"), listened to my lungs ("clear"), and took my temperature ("normal"). i asked him if i was contagious, and he said no, it's usually the first few days of infection is when a person is contagious. i thanked him for his advice, we shook hands, and i left the office, the night time cleaning crew already at work (even though it was still very much daytime).

it's not often i'm near that part of town after work, so i decided to walk across the longfellow and catch the red line from kendall instead, snapping photos of boston the whole way. riding the T from kendall was nostalgic, even down to the severely packed subway train. i decided to catch the next train instead, which was a good decision, since that train was nearly empty when it arrived at the station a minute later.

i went to the porter square cvs to look for a suitable decongestant, went with some sudafed non-drowsy pills. my mother gave me a call, asking if i needed to go to microcenter to get my taxing software (i'd been waiting for the last week to do my taxes, so everything would be on sale). i waited for her at the white hen pantry. we drove down memorial drive to microcenter, it was my mother's first time at that place, i got the software (wasn't on sale). we then went next door to trader joe's, where i bought a basket full of groceries. my mother gave me a ride back to my place (around 8pm). i felt kind of dizzy (hungry!) and quickly reheated saturday's pasta and ate it with some tabasco sauce while watching the rest of the red sox game on television. alex dropped by afterwards with several more boxes of junk for my basement. he hung out, tested out his new dell laptop with the wireless network card, ordered some wings (i was tempted, but thought i should refrain from being such a pig, at least for one night), then left some time later. my roommate was home the whole time, didn't see him at all, but around 1am he got his booty call and disappeared into the night.

so the cure turned out to be sudafed plus lots of teas. we'll see how this goes. feeling better already, but it might just be the placebo effect from having seen the doctor today. post-nasal drip doesn't sound as menacing as acute streptoccocal infection though.