Being sick is no fun. Being really sick is worse. Being really sick and all alone is no fun at all.
Two weeks ago, a Friday night, it was just an irritation in my throat. I thought I had been taking relatively good care of myself lately, and despite feeling a little tired and a lot stressed, I had no idea my health had slipped to this point. I had started regular workouts again and decided to quit smoking that night, pending a phone call.
So, to just get past this dry, scratchy throat and I’d be on the home stretch to feeling better…
So, just to clarify what Pneumonia feels like to those who don’t know…apparently it presents as a dry, scratchy throat…and then suddenly…DEATH (warmed slightly). A thick, deep, tight, cough, blood, lots of blood, rasping for air, headaches, hot and cold sweats, vomiting, fever, burning hot eyes and tense stomach pain from all the incessant coughing, lethargy, discomfort, loss of appetite, helplessness.
Then there’s the tears, because you feel so damn awful, and you just don’t even know what to do about that. It doesn’t seem to be getting better or going away. It just feels like you will be like this forever, and maybe just die right here in this hot/cold flushed spot, huddling your dogs to try and suck every ounce of body heat from their uncomfortable furry little bodies, while they wriggle to get away, yet want to stay and make you feel better simultaneously.
So, two doctors later, it was a trip to the hospital courtesy of the banana truck (ambulance), with the transport officer stating several times for the record that I was ‘extremely unresponsive, and if my breathing didn’t slow soon, I would hyperventilate’. (Just for my own record here, I wasn’t unresponsive, he was just a jerk).
Within an hour or two I was stabbed, prodded, x-rayed and connected to bags, tubes, needles, who knows what else, and they had booked me in for the luxury package 4 day stay, for the low low price of your sanity/dignity (or what’s actually left of it). Pneumonia in both lungs and a secondary viral infection causing chest and throat infection with pharyngitis. Apparently all quite uncommon in someone as *cough* young *cough* as me. Guess I’m just special.
Within a 4 day bracket, they pumped 5 litres of iv fluids, 3 courses of extremely harsh pneumonia specific drugs, painkillers and half a litre of uncut penicillin into my screaming veins. I started going stir crazy lying in a hospital bed, tethered by plastic tubes and machines that beeped, and then screeched, and then flashed warnings at me when I tried to bend my arm slightly in defiance…or even discomfort.
And now, I’m out…home, free, recovering, and one other thing. 14 days Smoke-free!
The decision to quit was pending a phone call, which I did receive that night. So I quit. Of course, being sick likely made it easier to stop. I was sick, coughing, feeling awful…yet for the first three days I was still craving cigarettes. The fourth day put an end to that, and I haven’t really wanted one since. I chopped up and threw away what was left in my last ever packet and haven’t regretted it.
I am very aware that I no longer do it, and sometimes look for a ‘thing’ to do to fill that gap in time…but it’s not a cigarette I look for. I’m pretty sure that I’m feeling better for it. My lungs filtered out the pneumonia and all the toxic smoke junk all at once I think, so while it may have been ‘cheating’ to quit now, it wasn’t easier-trust me. A mass exodus of all that rubbish from your body all at once, is probably the most feral thing you could imagine and then some.
Last night was the first night in over 2 weeks (or 5 months really) I was actually feeling human again. A hot (kind of) home cooked meal, excitement, affection, and the perfect medicine to make a full recovery. A week now, to get some energy and strength back, and everything will be even better again. Yes, baby steps, sure. But steps. Forward steps. Steps.
Keep moving Kids. If you stop still, they’ll try and tie you down. And take care of yourselves.