Almost two weeks ago a friend of mine and also a co-worker fell ill. Symptoms included low energy, a nasty, nagging cough, and a general feeling of crapiness. He thought it was just a normal cold but then it got worse. He began getting violent coughing fits at night that would keep him awake until he would be just exhausted and only then did sleep come. He also started coughing up coloured bits of mucous. These are not signs of a normal cold.

I implored him to see a doctor but he resisted, partly because his family doctor had moved away. A few days passed and when I saw him again, I could see he was not in good shape. I again suggested that he should go seek medical assistance. This time, I did all the leg work for him. I looked up a walk-in clinic that was a five-minute drive from work and had doctors on duty. To his credit, he went straight away to the clinic.

The doctor who saw him believes he might have pneumonia, which is way more serious than your common cold. It was urgent enough that the doctor also ordered chest x-rays, which haven’t been looked at yet. In the meantime, my friend is on prescription strength cough suppressants and antibiotics.

I’m not saying that everyone should go to the doctor for every little ache and pain but when your illness prevents you from sleeping and you’re coughing up gross bits of mucous every night, it’s time to get some help.

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