Yeah, I’ve been a bit quiet for the last month or so, but there’s a good reason. I’m pretty sure Mother Nature is out to get me! You see, the snow, ice, and sub-zero temps no longer bother me, so she decided to throw me a fastball.
Just over a month ago, I noticed a mild sore throat one Friday afternoon while walking home from work. No biggie, I thought, it was just the usual road-salt induced dryness. After all, there had been a cloud of salt hovering over Main Street for a few days.
But by the following Monday I was at 102° F and hacking up a lung nearly 24 hours a day. I didn’t sleep more than 5 hours that first week of wretchedness, but somehow managed to work two days anyway. I don’t remember much, though. I can’t even say if I was achy or sneezy, as it’s all a blur. I’m pretty sure I had a guest spot on Walking Dead, though.
At the end of that first week I went to the doctor, which in itself should tell you how sick I was. But as expected, she told me that I did not have the flu (most people never do) and that I should just “wait it out” with a decongestant. (I’d have never thought of that!) She did prescribe cough syrup with codeine, which turned out to be quite worthless, as well as antibiotics to fill “only if needed.” At that point, I just needed to breathe.
Any time I reclined even slightly, I felt as if I had less than half a lung to work with, and it was busy trying not to drown. I was certain I’d suffocate if I did manage to fall asleep, so a few nights I sat up on the sofa, dozing off here and there, propping myself up with pillows to make sure I didn’t slump over.
When the threat of pneumonia became real, I did get the antibiotics and generic Mucinex to stave off death for a few more days. But all of Waterbury could still hear me coughing and wheezing, and I started expecting friendly postcards from local funeral homes vying for my business. I think the cold kept the buzzards away, at least.
The next week, I was back at work every day. I was okay as long as I sat upright, stayed still, and didn’t talk or laugh. The ability to breathe at night was slowly returning, and by the end of the week I suddenly felt great—invigorated and overjoyed that the battle was nearly over! I still coughed a bit here and there, especially after any kind of physical activity. But I felt human again! I was sure it was all over, but Mother Nature had one more trick up her sleeve.
Although I was barely coughing anymore, I unexpectedly had one final bout of hacking—floor-shaking, hold-on-for-dear-life, hide-yo-kids hacking. It happened so suddenly and violently that I pulled muscles in my back and ribs! (That’s a first, too!) Nicely played, cruel fate! Nicely played! My reward for surviving the lung-plague was another two weeks without sleep, not to mention intense pain with every movement—and breath. I’m just now approaching full recovery, nearly two months after it all began.
I learned long ago that the shitty stuff tends to linger. It always has for me, anyway. But it does eventually end, and that’s what has always kept me going. I also never forget that things could always be much worse! But I had never been this sick—nothing more than a 3-day cold. And as much as I’ve seen and done, I had definitely never felt so powerless to nature. So, of course I’d like to thank Mother Nature for the lessons learned.