The sickening consequences of getting sick

By Bruce Stambaugh

I hate getting sick, absolutely hate it. But then, who doesn’t?

I wasn’t alone in my winter woes. Lots of people everywhere were sick with a wide variety of ailments.

Initially, I had a minor infection which one doctor had diagnosed and prescribed an appropriate antibiotic. Take the pills and it will get better. I did and it did, except that I started to feel worse, but in a different way.

I had no energy. I started to cough. I sneezed from time to time, too. My wife fled to the guest bedroom.

I slept, but when I woke I felt worse. I also dreamed crazy stuff, worse than the ones where I dream of being in the middle of a large crowd wearing no pants. At least I hope those were dreams.

I ached all over. My stomach rumbled, but fortunately, nothing more. I had gotten my flu shot. Maybe this strain wasn’t in the shot.

I went to bed chilling. The next morning I woke before 5 with a fever. I tossed and turned for a couple more hours until I called the doctor, who told me what I already knew. Go to the emergency room.

I felt horrible. I could hardly stand up straight. My breathing was short and labored.

I coughed and wheezed my way into the emergency room. The personnel there couldn’t have been nicer, even the ones that took my blood. They were just doing their jobs and they did them magnificently.

The doctor told me I had clinical pneumonia. The discharge papers said acute bronchitis. I wasn’t going to haggle over semantics. I was a sick puppy, and I just wanted to go home.

Like a good patient, I drank and drank and drank, hot tea, water, juices. I ate some, too. Mostly, I slept. Of course, I took more prescribed medications, which probably added to my drowsiness.

As time progressed, one symptom led to another. The infection brought the fever. The medication loosened the lungs, which caused me to cough more. The sustained coughing led to some unpleasantries not suitable for family reading. The more I coughed, the worse the headache.

The coughing was the absolute worst part. I sounded like a coon dog chasing a coyote. I didn’t want to be around anybody and nobody needed to be around me. My good wife hid out downstairs.

Once the medications fully kicked in, I slept really well. I would go to bed at 9, wake up at 8 the next morning, get up, clean up, eat breakfast, and take a two-hour nap. I never nap, especially in the morning.

I managed to wake for lunch, which was usually one of my wife’s wonderful homemade soups, chicken noodle, potato, chowder, tomato. After lunch, I’d take another nap.

My eyes watered too much to either read or write. I would cough some more, take more medication, eat supper, watch some college basketball, and then go to bed.

In the slow process of healing that lasted days, I lost track of time. I couldn’t distinguish one day from the other. It was hard to believe that an entire week had lapsed.

I’m hoping this week will be better and that I can get back into a more normal routine. But if that does happen, I’m going to miss those morning and afternoon naps.

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