But sickness is a slippery, devilish thing.
Last Monday, they found me. I don't know how, but they found me. It started with a fever that came and went; by Thursday night, the throbbing behind my eyes had abated enough that I made it to a meeting with my editor.
That night my body rose to a balmy 103 degrees.
The next morning, I intended to do some work. My wife urged me to visit Urgent Care — I seem only ever to get sick when I'm between doctors. This time, it was the Feverus Skullkickus strain.
As a kid, going to the doctor for an illness in our household was almost unheard of. We only really went to see him when we were well. If my sister and I were going to miss a day of school, it was because the illness knocked out the use of our legs, or we sprouted green growths that shouted obscenities in several languages.
It was impossible to fake symptoms to our schoolteacher mother; my efforts at gluing construction paper dots to myself and shouting swears in German only got me grounded.
Last Friday, there was no faking. For the first time in about 13 years I experienced the chills, the fever, you name it. Off to Urgent Care we went.
We called the office at Buena Vista and Alameda, across the street from the Providence St. Joseph Emergency Room. Or at least that's who Google said we were calling.
The automated answering machine informed us that this location opened at 8:30. We arrived at 8:29. The Google address listed Suite 200. This is upstairs in the medical office building, high above a glass door that said Urgent Care, on which was printed an opening hour of 11 a.m.
So ... wrong place?
Up we go to Suite 200, and in my feverish skull the world starts spinning. I stagger as I follow my wife into a nice little waiting room that absolutely is not Urgent Care. The receptionist says the only one is downstairs, the one that opens at 11, and that she knows of no other Urgent Care around. Anywhere. Have a nice day.
In my mind, I had imagined the Providence ER. I'm so close to Warner Bros. Maybe I'd get admitted by John Stamos or — if today was a “Very Special Episode” — even George Clooney.
We return to the parking garage. As I struggle to remain upright, my wife pulls the parking attendants aside and asks where this mythical Urgent Care is that opens early. One of them tells us to go to RapidCare on Olive across from George Izay Park, or else Burbank Urgent Care Center across from the airport. Neither of which sounded familiar from the Google search from earlier that morning.
Taking his advice, we went to the nearest one, and an hour later I had a prescription for antibiotics that would stave off the oncoming sinus infection that Feverus Skullkickus dropped in my head.
There are millions out there who have it worse than me, and I'm lucky to have a good health record. I'm also lucky to have a wife who will cart me around to find a doctor, then bake me cookies because — when do cookies not make you feel better?
And I'm lucky to be in a city where even the parking lot attendants want to help you get better.
--BRYAN MAHONEY is a recent transplant from the East Coast. When he isn't attending conventions, he can be reached at 818NewGuy@gmail.com and on Twitter: @818NewGuy.