You might think I am writing the following just to make Mr. Understanding jealous. That is not my sole intention. Feeling neglected and under the influence of skull crushing holiday stress, I sought comfort in a massage parlor, specifically under the capable hands of masseuse #50, a lithe young gentleman with hands of steel. On a mission to abolish every knot in my body, #50 ground his hands, thumbs, and elbows into my every major muscle group. There was more snap, crackle and pop between my shoulder blades than in a warehouse of Rice Krispies. I can honestly say that no man has ever touched me with such …. precision. And force. Not to worry about the state of my marriage: I am willing to share him with Mr. Understanding.
Of course, I was fully clothed during the pummeling in a pair of freshly laundered Chinese pajamas. I needed a little treat after 2 weeks of nonstop activity and our first trip to the Chinese doc-in-the-box. Having nothing scheduled on the calendar, I thought it propitious to get Thing 3 checked out as I had heard a bit of a bark in her cough this morning. She had no fever, though, and aside from coughing was complaining not a whit. Perhaps I was overreacting?
Dr. Wok looked into Thing 3’s throat and pronounced, “Inflamed!” Her ear was in a similar sorry state and her lungs were filling up.
“Do you have a nebulizer?” he inquired.
“Yes,” I replied, “But not on this continent.” I gave Ana Maria my Made in China Mexican nebulizer since I knew it would not work in the PRC. My other one is in a linen closet on the West Coast of the US of A. A nebulizer is an essential item with children, right up there with Play Dough and lollipops but I foolishly left mine behind, thinking I could easily get one in China .
“No worries. We will get you set up,” he said confidently as he wrote out a prescription for antibiotics, steroids, and cough syrup. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM as it is called here) was not an option. We were out of his office in 10 minutes with exacting instructions.
Then it was on to the cash register where only credit cards were accepted. The doctor’s initial visit = $150 USD, antibiotics = another $150, nebulizer $200, for a grand total of $500, the single most expensive ear/throat infection in my parenting career. I asked if they had free gift wrapping and received a blank stare in return. How can a nebulizer cost $200? It is neither diamond encrusted nor gold plated; there is no leather carrying case. Buying a nebulizer is akin to purchasing a sports bra: you know you need it but it is not how you want to spend money.
Fortunately, if you are reading this in the US , you don’t have to. This same item can be purchased at http://www.drugstore.com for $34.99 plus S&H. You’ll need a ‘scrip from the doctor to buy it though. If you haven’t met your deductible, ask your favorite doctor to throw in 10 massages while he’s at it for that pain in your neck. How’s that for the holiday vapors?