Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Longing for a walk

Drove into town with my husband again today. The sky is a bright blue and the temperature hovers at around 13 degrees. Just right for a snowshoe or a skiing expedition.


I just want to take a walk. My poor dog has been faithfully laying on my bed with me, but I know she'd rather go for a walk too. I am tired of knitting and thinking and I am tired of being tired.

Story of my life.

I'm starting to arrive at my "regular flare-up" level of sickness. I have these levels of illness worked out in my head ranging from how I was this last Jan which is "not sick at all" to "can't get out of bed" which is how I was last week. I have to keep reminding myself, that unlike the Lyme, which doesn't much seem to care what I do, that this pneumonia can relapse and it will be bad if it does.

I had this experience a couple of years ago actually. After I went on the thyroid medication which helped so much, I really had to re-learn about acute illness. I had plain old influenza and I went on an accident call on a cold winter night. The next day I discovered what happens if you have the flu and you don't rest. You get worse. Big revelation there.

This is actually one of the biggest problems with so many chronic illnesses. You want to find a pattern. You want to find what makes you worse and what makes you better. Its a way of getting control. Trouble is, it's often pretty random. Frustrating to both oneself and the peopple close to one.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Still here

I continue to recover. I'm tired and weak and a trip down the hall seems to take eternity, but I can breathe and stuff, so all is good.

Today I have made my first journey out of the house that doesn't include a dr's visit. I'm down in Hubby's office snarfing up broadband.

I can't help compare and contrast the Lyme and the pneumonia. Pneumonia is a scary thing. According to the American Lung Association, it was the number one killer in America before 1939. Even today, its the number one infectious killer, although, now most people it kills are elderly.

I want to write about medical hubris and societal attitudes towards sickness and health. I want to write aobut how we got to this place in the early 21st century where we can sure so much and yet people keep suffering from chronic debilitating stuff, but I'm in need of another nap.

Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I may yet live

Visited the dr today to check up on my chest. Unfortunately, my doc has been out of town this week so I saw his covering doc. I must say, bacterial pheumonia is one of those things our medical care system is just fantastic at treating (at least for those of us with insurance, but that's a whole other blog). I take my antibiotics, my fever goes away, my phlegm goes from yellow and copious to grey and scant. My chest was still very tight and worrisome though, so out of his modern medicine bag of tricks he pulls an albuterol inhaler. Voila! I can breathe. Some cough medicine so I can continue to rest and heal. An admonition not to overdo it and a directive to see my own doc next week and I'm on my way.

So very, very satsfying. So very very different from the Lyme.

To quote a favorite character from a favorite TV show "No impossible battles with ancient enemies against overwhelming odds. They were the bad guys. We were the good guys. And they made a very satisfying 'thump' when they hit the ground!"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Valentine's Day Blizzard and pneumonia

How did it get to be Wednesday? Last time I checked it was Thursday.

Little saga to tell:

We had a freind here who was supposed to catch a flight back to JFK on the 15th. Well naturally, we were snowed in with the Valentines Day Blizzard (worst since 1883). He cancelled his flight in favor of one on the 16th, but we found out that the plow guy couldn't get to us until late on the 16th or possibly the 17th. No problem, we figured. A neighbor and good freind volunteered to take our guest down to town where he could catch a shuttle to Burlington. We only had to get our guest down to the plowed part of the road. This turned out to be a quarter mile away. My husband and I donned our snow shoes in order to tromp a path to the road since 36 inches of powder is no fun to walk through. We had a wind chill advisory that night, but this only means you need to cover up well to prevent frost bite. I put on my stuff and made sure my face and my husband's face were covered, grabbed my poles and off we went.

Have you ever snowshoed at night on new powder? If you're at all into winter, its one of the most sublime pleasures to be had.

Remember that cold I spoke about in my last post? I was busy being a festival of secretions, but its just a cold right? As we walked, I noticed a little tightness in my chest, and I seemed more easily winded than usual, but I brushed it off as not having been walking as much as usual. It was nice to have a few moments alone with husband and we tromped a path and were back to the house inside of forty minutes.

When we got back, my chest felt tight and I was tired so I went to bed. Woke up, sent hubby and guest out the door took more cold medicine and went back to bed.

After that it's a blur...At some point I woke up with a terrible fever and coughing copious yellow gunk. Hot bath, more cold medicine, back to bed. Hubby offered to take kids into town on our now plowed driveway. Sure fine whatever. I slept. Hubby came home and said something aoubt perhaps this was reaction to new drugs. I said something noncomittal and went back to sleep.

Woke with serious aching limbs and fever. Endlesss round of hot baths and cold medicine. Lying in one of those weird fever dreams that feel so much like having imbibed some less-than-quality mind altering chemicals (some really bad tequila I drank once comes to mind)

On Sat it occurred to me that this wasn't normal.

Called my friend the nurse and asked her when one should worry that a cold has turned to bronchitis.

This is depressing.

One of the problems with having a chronic illness is the length of time it takes for it to sink in that one is acutely ill.

On Sun I called the doc on-call over the weekend and got myself some antibiotics prescribed. Unfortunately, by this time, my bronchitis had become pnuemonia. A relatively long recovery for my poor lungs is expected.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Here I am again

Still tired, only now I have a roaring cold. I've started this new medication. I feel like Nicole Kidman in The Others. Or, more precisely, her children since they're the ones with the extreme sun sensitivity. I am sitting in my darkened bedroom, since the sun could actually burn me through the glass. I have ordered some fancy expensive sunglasses. And since its cold, I can wear a balaclava outdoors for awhile. For spring I have ordered a hat and I will order some sun gloves (yes they make them) from Coolibar. They make special sun protective clothing. Did you know that an average summer shirt is only about 10 SPF? So I also ordered a couple of shirts to wear over my T shirts. I'm also ordering what's known as a "rash shirt" and tights for swimming. These are basically a long sleeved, long legged swim suit--think wet suit.

This regimen is experimental, although the drugs are not. Its similar to a regimen they use to treat arthritis. The biggest side effect is the aforementioned sun sensitivity, but as with all Lyme treatments, it's likely that I will feel worse before I feel better.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

More on Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue requires one to be short and to the point in one's communications because long conversations wear one out.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Chronic Fatigue

I'd like to write a post about how my chronic fatigue is flaring up right now, but I'm too tired tonight.