I drafted the post below about 6 months before I left New York, and for some reason never posted it. But I was reminded of it today, since I have a "summer cold" and am realizing how different the experience of being sick is in NYC vs. elsewhere. Since I now live in Asheville, NC (more on that later!), I'm actually doing today what I dreamed about doing then: laying on my lawn chair in the front yard, sipping my "throat coat" tea, and enjoying the glorious summer weather.
And while I may be lacking the convenience of bodegas and car services, my fiance (more on that later, too!) was able to simply drive over to the local grocery/drug store and pick up all the honey, cold meds, and throat lozenges that I desired. Now that's what I call service.
I recently caught some stomach bug that put me out of commission for over a week. And I realized there's nothing like an illness to illuminate the pros and cons of where you live.
Unfortunately for me, by bad tummy coincided with a weekend of glorious spring weather. As every human being in Brooklyn congregated in Prospect Park for frisbee, jogging, grass-lounging, dog-walking, and general ogling, I was stuck inside. I opened the windows, to get some of that miraculously warm air, but it also made it easier to hear all of those gleeful noises people make when they bust out of their winter cocoons, as they go to and from parks, barbecues, and restaurants with outdoor seating.
Cue self pity.
At that point, all I wanted on this good Earth (besides a Fawlty Towers marathon) was a little backyard with a lawn chair. I wanted to participate in spring, but in a place I wouldn't have to expend energy to get to (since I hadn't eaten in 3 days) and where no one would be subjected to my rumpled state. Sitting on the stoop inhaling exhaust didn't quite fit the bill.
However, I did find something to be grateful for: bodegas. With my little stomach bug, I was drinking Gatorade like I'd just won the Super Bowl, and when I ran out, I just walked one flight down to the bodega beneath our apartment and bought some more! Do these people judge me for my spacey demeanor and unpleasant appearance? No; the local junkies make the rest of us look downright sexy. Above all, I cannot imagine having to get in a car and drive to a grocery/drug store in the state I was in. How do people do it??
Finally, after about a week of feeling sick, I ended up going to the emergency room due to a very compelling dizziness. Did I have to drive there? No. Was an ambulance required? Certainly not. This is when a car service is a freaking god-send. They arrive at your beck and call, taking you to the ER for ten bucks. And clearly I am not the only one, judging from the driver's knowledge of the hospital's location and the various entrance options.
However, as any New Yorker can tell you, going to the ER here is one of the last experiences you ever want to have. Luckily for me, I have a friend who works there, so I was ushered right in. Once in, it was 7 hours of waiting for tests, and being parked in various hallways as they handled an overflow of patients. But if I hadn't had that connection, I'd probably still be sitting in that waiting room. Personally, every time I have to deal with the vast, expensive, inefficient medical establishment in New York, I wish desperately I lived somewhere else.