“Send it to CVS” (a Flu Season Story)


A sick boy
I love my work. I see many interesting cases like “sore throat” that upon investigation came out to be a foreign body obstructing the child’s food pipe. I also meet many interesting people. Like a dad in the following true story.

Young parents brought their son to my clinic on Saturday. The boy presented with cough, body aches and temperature 103° F; his in-office test for influenza came out positive.

The flu is not something to sneeze at. I went with the parents over the recommended course of actions:

  • take an antiviral medicine that can decrease the duration of illness by 1-2 days and prevent potential complications of the flu (this medicine is only helpful if given within 48 hours of the onset of the flu),
  • drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration,
  • get plenty of sleep and take it easy,
  • take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve fever and aches,
  • stay home from school and childcare (to prevent the spread of the disease) until he is without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

Mom actively participated in the discussion of her son’s condition while dad was disengaged and silent for the whole duration of the visit. At the end of the visit I asked the parents to which pharmacy I should send the computerized prescription for that anti-flu medicine. Mom gave me the address of their CVS pharmacy. And then the dad woke up. “Wait honey,” he said to his wife, “let’s send the prescription to Rite Aid next door to that movie theater. We agreed to go to the movies after the doctor’s visit, haven’t we?”

Poor fellow. I still remember the look that his wife gave to him. “That’s OK, Dr. Strumba,” she told me. “Send it to CVS.”

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