About a week later, I was feeling somewhat better, but still had throat and sinus issues, and I'd wake up with a headache far more often than not.
Two weeks later, and improvement was marginal.
Three weeks, and I still felt off.
Finally, I decided I'd had enough. Time to try out this newfangled health care system. This morning, I called the hotline on the card, to find out if I'd be covered for going to a walk-in clinic. (I did successfully transfer to a closer primary care physician, but apparently they aren't open weekends.) I wound up talking to a nurse, who agreed that I ought to go in to get looked at after this long... but apparently the closest "approved" walk-in clinic on the plan was many miles away.
There was a clinic right in town that I knew was open on weekends. Just for the heck of it, I gave them a call and asked if they took my plan. No problem, they said, come on down.
So much for the all-knowing hotline...
Anyway, long story short, I have some shiny new antibiotics to throw at the lingering bug, and the doctor suggested a few other things to try as well. And so far, my magic little coverage card has worked precisely as advertized, even where I wasn't sure it would be accepted.
I can't speak for everyone, but by and large the system seems to be working for me. (And somewhere, I'm sure, a Republican is likely weeping.)
Oh, incidentally, I did get a chance to play with my new 50x-zoom camera a couple weeks back. I also got to play with my new tripod... which I still need to get used to. The following photo is the result. (Probably would've been clearer if I hadn't been trying to wrestle a tripod into submission in the dark on a frosty porch.)