Pneumatic, Pneunomic, Pneumonia
We got home late Tuesday night from spending Thanksgiving weekend in San Francisco.
I go to work on Wednesday and it’s all good.
I go to work on Thursday and I’m still good. I get up to leave about 10 minutes after 5 and I suddenly feel tingly. Cold – sure. But our office is always cold. I get home about 5:30, change clothes and let the dogs out. As I go outside I begin to feel chills. Just then, Paula and Daughter 2 come home. I jump under the blankets and tell Paula that I’m really cold. She puts her hand to my forehead and says that I do feel a little hot. I rub my legs together to try and generate some body heat while Paula puts the thermometer in my mouth. After a few minutes, I’m trying to call out to her to remove the thermometer because my teeth were almost chattering and I didn’t want to bite down on it. She confirms, yup – 99.5°. I have a fever.
After resting a few hours, it got worse. Now my body ached. This seems to all be pointing to: The Flu.
I get up to bocha but feel weak and dizzy. And sore from head to toe. I force myself to take a shower thinking that maybe the hot water might help. Nope – now I felt faint. I’m calling out to Paula and knocking on the shower sides to let her know that I need some help. My vision was starting to turn “tunnel” and for me – that means I’m almost ready to drop. I get out from the tub, pat myself a few times with the towel, then I had to wrap it around my waist so I could sit on the side on the tub and put my head down to try and get some blood up there. Paula comes in and sees me sitting there and starts wiping my head with another towel. I ask her to stop as it felt like every single strand of hair was hurting. I was explaining how I felt like passing out.
Paula patted me down some to dry me off. I was hot and sweating. I was cold and shivering. I was sore and felt like fainting – sitting on the side of the tub in an almost fetal position. In a weak voice, I cry out “Help me”.
Paula crouches down a little bit in front of me, turns her back to me and tells me to hold on the her shoulders so she can lift me up. I say no. I wasn’t asking for help getting up. The kind of help I was asking for – she couldn’t give me. I was pleading to a higher source.
I finally do gather enough energy to make it to the bed. Paula brings some underwear for me and puts it on me while removing the wet towel from the bed. Then she somehow manages to get a towel under me and one on my pillow – because I was just burning up. She brings me some Tylenol and a cup of water to drink it down. By then, I’m moaning and groaning in pain. I tell Paula that my hands are so cold that I can hardly feel my fingers. Since we had just returned from S.F. and her wool gloves were right there, she decided to put them on me. As she did, she said “Yeah, your fingers are a little purple”.
It was a very long night. That was the worse that I have every felt. Yeah, I had the flu before and chills and sweats – but never felt like fainting. Or in so much pain.
Tylenol never seemed to work well on me. Did nothing for my headaches. And in this bout when I took it, it made me break out in a sweat for the first hour. Then I was good for the next three hours when it wore off. Then I’d have to struggle through the pain for another two hours until I could take the next dose. This cycle went on all day Friday. I had to miss Paula’s company’s annual Christmas Dinner party. I felt so bad. She was so bummed.
Saturday morning Paula drives me to see my doctor. I tell him what’s been going on and that my temperature was now past 101°. Actually, Paula tells him most of the info because I’m sitting there – totally out-of-it. Like a zombie. The doctor listens to my back and chest and hears wheezing. And from the sounds of the symptoms, it was all pointing to the flu. I ask about the lower back pain that I was struggling with since the onset of this illness. That is the culprit that has been keeping me from getting sleep when the Tylenol wears off. He said that it’s just muscle aches from the flu. He prescribed me some medicine for my breathing and since it was less than 48 hours since the symptoms began, he started me on Tamiflu. He said that the Tamiflu should help speed up the flu process to get over it sooner.
We get home and I take the meds – along with the Tylenol. I continue the cycle of sweating, sleeping, moaning & groaning until I could take the next dose of meds. And now – it seems like the asthma medicine was keeping me awake while the Tamiflu was burning my stomach. And my fever was not subsiding.
On Sunday, I switched from Tylenol to Aleve. The Aleve helped a little bit more than the Tylenol and I got a solid 6 hours of sleep. But Aleve is 1 pill every 12 hours so I still had to deal with the back pain until it was time for the next dosage.
On Monday, the doctor calls me to check on me. He was concerned because he said that I didn’t look too good on Saturday. I told the doc that I was feeling better and I was able to get a solid sleep the previous evening. He said that maybe the Tamiflu is working. Now if the doctor had called me an hour later – it would’ve been a whole different story. I suddenly started burning up again and the body aches were returning. I was in for another long night. Instead of Aleve, this time I took some CVS generic Excedrin. The back pain subsided however I only got maybe 2 hours of sleep – the rest of the time I was just wiping myself down from the fever.
Tuesday morning, Paula calls in a doctor’s appointment for me. My temperature is now around 99.7°. The doctor sends me downstairs for X-rays. I wait for them, return the report to the doctor and he confirms it: PNEUMONIA.
He prescribes me some antibiotics – finally. See, my doctor believes that antibiotics shouldn’t be prescribed unless absolutely necessary. And I agree with him because I don’t want my body to build a tolerance for antibiotics. I think this is the first time in over 10 years that I’ve been given antibiotics.
Anyway, by the second dose I’m feeling better. The lower back pain is gone, my sweats have now become more like hot-flashes, and my temperature finally broke 100°. Still can’t get a solid sleep though. I feel like coughing when I lie flat so I try to prop myself up. But I keep sliding down. But I feel like I’m on my way to recovery. No more chills. No more back pain. No more stomach pain. If anything, my rib cage hurts if I cough too much.
Pneumonia. Wow…people die from Pneumonia. Maybe I picked it up when we were in S.F. But it came on so suddenly. Half an hour. And so severe. Paula said that if my Saturday appointment wasn’t the last one of the day, the doctor would’ve sent me to X-ray then to check for Pneumonia. I should’ve just went to the doctor on Friday instead of waiting. The spooky part is that the doctor said “if the antibiotics don’t start helping – you’d have to be admitted into the hospital”. Praying works wonders.
And Paula is my rock. She brought me my meds, drove me to the doctor, sat in to explain things to the doctor, held me up, wiped me down, made me chicken noodle soup, okai, toast, jello – anything just so I would eat something for taking my meds. I remember asking her “Is this what it’s going to be like when I’m old and become an invalid?”. She just looked at me. And I quickly added “So long as I let you have dogs?”. She said yes.
Oh yeah, through the worst nights – maybe it was delirium – this “earworm” kept running though my head and I could not shake it. This particular version of it is now on my “Most Hated Christmas Songs” list.
Have you ever experienced something like this? Maybe not just from an illness but an injury or something similar?