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Amateur Doctors Have a Cold Day

WASHINGTON. - Because medical costs are rising so fast, more and more people are diagnosing their own illnesses or, worse still, those of their friends. The government would do well to make a study of how these non-professional diagnoses are affecting the nation's health picture.

The other day I had a cold. It was just like the ones you see on television. I was sneezing, coughing and looking mournfully at my wife. I called my secretary at the office and said I wouldn't be in because I felt lousy.

"You must have one of those "eight-hour things" that's going all around town," she said. "You'll feel perfectly well tomorrow."

Eight hours seemed to be a reasonable time to have a cold, and I was looking forward to staying in bed, particularly since the Yankees and Red Sox were playing a crucial game to get into the American League playoffs.

My sister called, and I told her I had one of those "eight-hour things that's been going all around."

"Are you sure it's only an "eight-hour thing"?" she asked. "It could be the "24-hour bug"1 Harold had last week. Do you have any fever?"

"A little - maybe 100."

"That's the "24-hour bug" for sure. Drink lots of fluids and take aspirin, and you'll be able to shake it off."

I really hadn't counted on staying in bed for 24 hours, but it's stupid to fight a bug. My other sister called up 10 minutes later. "Edith says you've got a 24-hour bug."

"I don't know if it's a bug or just a cold."

"Is your nose red from blowing it?"

"Yah, sure it is. Why do you ask?"

"Then you don't have a "24-hour bug". You have a "48-hour virus."

"My secretary said all I had was an "eight-hour thing". How come you moved it up to 48 hours?"

"The "eight-hour thing" is entirely different. You feel funny but your nose doesn't get red when you blow it. The "24-hour bug" has all the symptoms of the "eight-hour" one, except that you cough a lot. The "48-hour virus" makes you sneeze, cough and perspire while you're sleeping. You have to stay in bed for two days."

"But I can't stay in bed for two days."

"Look," my sister said. "If you don't want medical advice, don't ask me."

I think I might have been all right except that my secretary told Healy I was home with the flu.

bug sl. - инфекция

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