Thursday, April 04, 2013
Random acts of illness
Oh, I've been sick before. Back stuff, mostly. And, some very bad colds - maybe even the flu, once - where you just feel more miserable than actually sick-unto-death.
I have never had pneumonia. I wouldn't recommend it. Ever.
See that symptom chart above? I had every single one of those symptoms.
Every. Single. One.
The high temps are the worst. 102.2. Feeling so cold on the inside and yet burning up on the outside causing your whole body to have a bad case of the shivery-shakes. And then, in the middle of the night, when the fever breaks, you wake up in a cold pool of your own sweat.
Lovely. Um, not.
It's the worst - exceeded only by the fear that, as you listen to yourself wheeze and feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest, you are going to die. And then, you're afraid you won't die.
No, no. Wait. The worst is feeling like your arms have turned to stuffed sausage and every joint in your body - from your jaw to your elbows to your knees and feet - hurt. Which makes you nauseous.
No, no. Wait. The worst is feeling all of this and hearing your doctor say, "You have to drink 8 glasses of water a day. You can't let the mucous get caught in your lungs or it will turn to cement."
And so, sick as you are, and as difficult as it is to breathe, as difficult as it is to remember the count (Was that the fourth or fifth?), you "push fluids". And, run to the bathroom every 20 minutes.
Despite my allergies, I have a pretty strong immune system. I take a daily multi-vitamin, plus supplemental Vitamin B, C and D as well as Calcium. I get regular exercise, good amounts of sleep and I eat quite well, thank you very much.
My doc says that I probably picked something up on the non-stop airplane trip I made to LA to see one of our daughters a week ago. That clearly wasn't helped by my allergies which went into overdrive with all the Easter lilies on the altar last Sunday.
So, here's the thing - the point of this blog post: I know people who have had pneumonia. I know it used to kill people. Still does, in some places in the world. Today? In this country? Why, all you need is a good antibiotic, maybe some steroids, an inhaler, and, oh, yeah, lots of fluid.
I've been pretty blase about pneumonia. I mean, it's a very treatable illness with an extraordinarily high recovery rate. I am so sorry if I have been dismissive of those of you who have suffered with pneumonia in the passt.
I never knew that even the relatively short time from diagnosis to treatment to recovery could be so miserable. And, sometimes the parts of the treatment seem worse than the disease.
Oh, you probably never felt dismissed. At least, I hope not. I know how to be empathic. I've discovered that sympathy is better than empathy. Much better. I mean, empathy is a good thing, truly, but there's nothing like someone who has gone through what you're going through to really hear you and understand and communicate that understanding.
And, now, I can be even more authentic as I sit with you when have pneumonia. Which I hope never happens, but if it does, I'm your girl.
Maybe that's the point of this whole episode in my life. And, it must have a point. I mean, it couldn't just be a random thing, right? Like, I just happened to be sitting on a plane in the very seat where the person before me was harboring pneumonia, or breathing in the recycled air where someone on the plane was coughing and sneezing and I just happened to get it for absolutely no reason at all.
Look, I "do" randomness. I love randomness. I think randomness enhances life, if we are open to it and let it in. Yes, even the bad stuff.
I just don't believe randomness doesn't have a point or a lesson. That, in fact, is the best thing about randomness. It's like a pop quiz the universe hands you - except when the universe gives you a pop quiz, the only "right answer" is the lesson you learn from the experience.
So, that's why I wrote this post.
Oh, and because I got to complain and whine for a few minutes.
It's annoying, I know, but I'll tell you what: It's just as effective but feels much better than having to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Random acts of illness. Just one of the universe's 'pop quizzes' where the only way to fail is to not learn the lesson it brought you.
I thought that up all by myself.
Which just goes to show what weird thoughts can flow through a water-logged brain after drinking 8 glasses of water a day.
Oh, and insufferable boredom.