Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Lost Weekend

Whatever it is I've had the last couple of days, you don't want to get. I won't go into the details, but the result has been a lost weekend of sleep mixed with antibiotics, ear drops and codeine-laced cough syrup.

But why I even bring this up is my experience at the local walk-in medical clinic.

After a few days of feeling increasingly lousy, I dragged myself over there Friday morning, not thinking myself sick enough to bother my own doctor 30 miles away. I figured the walk-in clinic doctor would prescribe an antibiotic and some ear drops and be done with it.

Well, the walk-in clinic “doctor” listened to my chest—triggering a hacking cough; looked in my ears—triggering a painful ache in my right ear; asked me a few questions…and then told me to try an over-the-counter throat lozenge (I am not making this up) called Cold-eeze.

If you don’t recognize Cold-eeze—the brand name of zinc-based cold lozenges—you weren’t around back in 1999 when the maker, Quigley Corporation, settled FTC charges that the company made unsubstantiated claims about Cold-eeze’s ability to prevent colds.

But the controversy didn’t end there: a nasal spray version of Cold-eeze triggered lawsuits against Quigley for causing an intense burning sensation in the nostrils and damage to the sense of smell (“anosmia”)—and was discontinued by Quigley last year. (A friend of mine who used the spray actually experienced this, and it is not at all a minor thing).

So when I heard the walk-in clinic doctor say “Cold-eeze” and tell me that “according the literature” it works “although we don’t know why,” I almost fell off the examining table.

But I didn’t; nor did I say anything about the history of Cold-eeze and Quigley. I just got out of there as fast as possible and made an appointment with my real doctor.

When she walked into the examining room and heard me cough, she said, “that sounds bad” before she even picked up a stethoscope. And when she looked in my right ear—the one the walk-in clinic “doctor” had examined without comment, she said “wow—that’s really bad.”

Hence the antibiotics and codeine-laced cough syrup and ear drops, all of which appear to be precisely what I needed.

Next time I go straight to the real doctor.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations.


AA said...

All the best! Hope you feel better soon!

BelowTheCrowd said...

Ah yes, all those Zinc-based remedies that work for reasons nobody can explain or document, since they are considered "homeopathic" and thus their claims are not subject to any kind of real review.

Remember Zicam??? I think that one's still around too, after being a short/long battleground for a while.

In any case, there's nothing like a simple dose of Zithromax or equivalent for what seems to ail you. I had a similar recent experience. As I concluded, it's easier to get good health care for my cat on a weekend than it is for myself...

Alex Khenkin said...

I recall reading somewhere ( not sure) how these walk-in clinics are a "free-market" alternative to our bloated and costly over-regualted medical system. While I agree on the "bloated and costly" part, your experience shows they may not really be an "alternative" worth contemplating. I'm curious if anybody's done any research as to their overall quality - is it possible that your experience is an anomaly?
Wish you a speedy recovery,

The Assetman said...

I sure hope you feel better, but I had to laugh aloud at your experience. I took my children to a similar "place", and behold-- got a similar experience!

These "quick stops" seem to make a nice killing, though, if covered by your insurance plan.

Jim Chanos said...

Jeff-Since you still seem to be posting (sorry I haven't been keeping Europe vacationing w/my four teenagers. Worse than a short-squeeze...), I'll assume you are feeling better. But....when I saw "Cold-Eze" and Quigley I have to admit I couldn't stop laughing. I think you and I have been doing this for too long...JC p.s. When I saw that Aremisoft's ex-CEO was hosting tents at the polo matches in Bridgehampton this summer (NY Post, Aug. 9, 2005)...Oh never mind!