I felt fine Monday, and was supposed to have lunch with a friend who was nearing her due date and so texted her that if she wanted to opt out because the plague lived at my house, to feel free, I wouldn't feel bad. She took me up on it, and while I felt a little Typhoid Mary, it was a really good call.
I had to cancel another lunch on Tuesday (so sad, break is when I can have midweek lunch out like so many normal people), because I was starting to feel a little off myself. A little tickly in the lungs, a little run down, a little freezing even though it was a balmy 65.
Then Wednesday I had full on chills and a low grade fever and a lovely cough started in my lungs. I should have gone to the doctor Thursday when it didn't get better, but instead I slept until 1:30 and zombied around the house.
Friday I went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with flu even though my temperature never rose above 100. I thought for sure I had something else, because I didn't have the high fever, but apparently if your body aches like you ran a marathon (when I most certainly did NOT), you have a headache, you are coughing a gross juicy cough, and you are exhausted, a low grade fever counts. Great.
Unfortunately, I have asthma. And my asthma is like a kindly ghost, usually -- I know it's there, but because I take really great daily preventative inhalant medicine, it's completely well controlled. I have the ghost in mind when I do things like take crazy cold weather hikes or swim in heavily chlorinated pools, but most of the time it just kind of flits in the background, summarily tamed.
When I get sick, it's a different story. I become like the girl in The Exorcist, wheezing deeply to the point where it seems glass windows should be sucking in and out with my breath, my cough insanely wracking and full-body in nature. When I went to the doctor, apparently there was no color in my face and I was using "accessory muscles" to breathe. She immediately put me on a nebulizer, and I felt much better. She wanted to do a second treatment right away, but the thing about nebulizers is that they are powerful and it makes a body really, really jittery. My heart feels like hamster heart. My hands shake. I really wanted to be able to drive home. So, she sent me home with a modern nebulizer of my very own.
When I was in high school and newly diagnosed with asthma, I ended up in the emergency room due to poor inhaler carrying habits enough that I was prescribed a nebulizer. The thing was huge, the size of a portable turntable, and the liquid medicine that went into it came in these hazardous glass ampule things. They looked like the bubble things on levels, but with pointy, ball-tipped ends. Ends you were expected to snap off at scored points so the liquid could go into the machine. With your finger. I cut myself more than once.
A modern nebulizer is incredibly cute in comparison. It's this compact, about 7" by 7" thing that has a handle like a little radio thing, and the medicine now comes in twist-off plastic tube things. No risk of slitting a finger open anymore. It's really quite amazing how everything gets smaller as it gets more technologically advanced. Except for smartphones. For some reason those keep getting bigger.
Anyway, I am to nebulize up to 5 times per day (but I am finding 2-3 is okay), which is just spectacular. Today makes me think I need to do it more than 2-3, because I had two separate fits that left me feeling like I was being suffocated by my own organs and my body was actively trying to kill me. All because I dared to laugh.
It is really, REALLY hard not to laugh when you live with Bryce. He is just so funny. He has a beard right now, and a beard trimmer I got him for Christmas. It looked like he missed a spot and it was sticking out and making him look rather Confederate General. When I said that, he pushed it all forward and pointed his arm authoritatively towards the kitchen and yelled in a southern voice, "CHARGE! FIRE THE CANNONS!" I mean, how do you not bust a gut with this kind of hilarity?
I seriously thought I was going to die. I was head between my knees, nearly on the floor, crying with desperation because I COULD NOT GET ANY AIR IN MY LUNGS.
And then, when I wasn't suffocating anymore, I sat at the dinner table and cried. I am very cranky on all this nonsense (I'm on oral steroids, too, so I am full of the 'roid rage apparently). It doesn't mix well.
"Aren't you so glad you married someone whose body defies them at every turn? Whose body literally DOES NOT WORK AT ALL?"
"Yes," Bryce said. "Obviously, very glad."
"Yeah, well, it's just great. Breathing? Nope, can't do it. Reproducing? Nope, not here. Eating wheat/barley/rye? NOPE, I can't even EAT properly. Oh, and sucky joints. Don't forget the sucky joints."
He just rubbed my back. You can't really argue with me on that one, because it really does seem like there are so many things my body sucks at. Migraines, too. My head revolts against me regularly.
I know there are so many things my body does right. I mean, I have really good GOOD cholesterol, and my blood pressure (when I'm not starved for oxygen) is actually quite good. I am strong despite my craptastic joints. I don't suffer too terribly much for not being able to eat gluten, because we are amazing cooks (if I do say so myself) and we find great restaurants that take Celiac seriously. I have a great mind, capable of all sorts of fun and interesting things. I can still hike and play the violin and write and read and garden and all those activities. When I don't have the flu, that is. (A positive -- doing a nebulizer treatment is kind of like being hopped up on speed after -- so I am typing this REALLY fast.)
I just feel so defeated by my body. I wish it did me right more often than it deals me poor hands all over the place. I'm probably tired and cranky and throwing myself a big fat pity party, but not being able to breathe pretty much makes you feel as helpless and awful as you can imagine it would.
It makes me realize...I am never going to survive an apocalypse. The food thing could get me...what if all that's left is Wonder Bread? I'd die of diarrhea. But it's the asthma that would get me first. No asthma medication, and I'll shut right down. Strangled by my lungs' failure to properly do their job. I guess that's better than eventually getting eaten by zombies, though, since I can't run fast enough if they are fast zombies due to my bum knees. Although we do love Vermont, and if there are zombies, apparently they never go to Vermont. Maybe they have stockpiles of albuterol inhalers there.
More reasons to love Vermont.
|Well, the mouthpiece didn't get smaller. This looks like I'm putting a spray bottle in my mouth. Looks crazy, but it saves me for sure. Tells my lungs what's what, for at least an hour or so.|