So I did finally make a regular-checkup appointment with my doctor. Well, not my actual doctor, because she was booked through to New Year's. But they were able to give me a substitute, a friendly and competent-seeming guy whose name happens to sound uncannily like a soap opera doctor's. In the main, my health seems all fine enough. I did ask about my back, but he judged there just wasn't evidence of anything he could do anything about so as long as it didn't come back, be happy.
I also asked about the shingles vaccine, because I've started getting worried about that. See, I never had chicken pox as a kid, though my siblings and all my friends did, because it was the 70s. And obviously I never got vaccinated for that. But getting chicken pox as an adult is one of the least fun medical crises one can endure. My parents supposed that I got a case so extremely mild that it never broke out into actual pocks worth scratching. But that's not proof. What should I do? He wasn't sure, and went off to check. The verdict for now is, ``don't do anything''. Apparently the current American medical opinion is that being a kid in the 70s is a priori exposure to the chicken pox and shingles virus. So that's put off for a couple years.
My coughing, though. Given that it's certainly not smoking and as far as I know I have no allergies, the possible culprits were few. One is postnasal drip, too much fluid in the nose running down into my throat. Another was a mild asthma. I certainly don't have any breathing troubles worth complaining about, but --- a mild case? Imaginable. It would also fit with the fact that every once in a great while I do have to struggle to breathe. Not often, mind you, less than once a year. But it's still something that's happened more than once, and without an obvious trigger.
So, he wrote out an order for a pulmonary function test, to see whether there might be something untoward in my breathing after all. And we set an appointment for the next Thursday or so. It would be cancelled, of course, but not because of anything I did.
Trivia: In May 1291 a pair of Genoan brothers, Ugolino and Vadino Vivaldi, set sail with two galleys to sail ``through the Ocean Sea to parts of India and to bring back useful merchandise from there''. They were never heard from again. Source: The Fourth Part Of The World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map that Gave America its Name, Toby Lester.
Currently Reading: 1946: The Making Of The Modern World, Victor Sebestyen.