The Flu

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I religiously get a flu shot…I know, I know, you get sick from flu shots, (cough, cough.) I am not entertaining conspiracy theorists tonight. I get a flu shot because I have asthma, serious asthma, like the kind that makes my fingernails and toenails turn blue from lack of oxygen to your extremities.  I don’t need to get the flu anymore than Custer needed more Indians, Carter needed Liver pills or any other idiom you can come up with today. The flu leads yo bronchitis, pneumonia and hospital stays for me, none of which I find particularly appealing.
     I started feeling crappy 3 days ago, a horrendous sinus headache, the kind that makes you want to drill a hole in your head and let the fluid out.  Yesterday the cough arrived along with a slight fever and the exhaustion that I couldn’t shake. This morning I woke up with chills, shakes, a herd of asthma elephants on my chest and a fever if 102.5. After dosing w Nyquil and my regular meds did nothing I finally admitted I needed to go to the Dr.  I called and got an urgent care appointment for this morning and  dragged my sorry butt there. My boys knew I was sick, I broke my own 2 cardinal rules. I left the house without:
  1. Makeup
  2. A bra

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     At my Drs office I saw a lovely Physicians Assistant, she diagnosed me with The Flu, the vernacular for Influenza. This diagnosis came via lovely nasal swabs, something that if I never have to have that again..I will be just fine.
     She prescribed me Prednisone Pills to reduce the inflammation in my lungs, and Cough Syrup with Codeine to calm the wracking cough so I could get some rest. I really lobbied for Antibiotics stating that she could reduce the inflammation all she wanted, but there was an infection brewing in my compromised lungs. My lobbying was to no avail, she was not budging.
     I spent the remainder of Saturday and all of Sunday doing what was prescribed, taking my meds, rest, fluids and a whole lotta NOTHING!!!  By Sunday night my Peak Flows kept sliding back down, 400 with a breathing treatment…then within 2 hrs I was dipping back down. By hour 3 I would be struggling to stay at 275 for that last hour until I could have another treatment.
     By 2 am I knew there was an ER visit in my not too distant future. I had promised my dear friend Lora Pearson that I would not try and tough it out and let it get so bad. I knew that my hubby had to work, and with no one to open his shop for him, or plow his lots him taking me was not an option.
     I hated to do it, but I woke up my 18 yr old, he was so great about. What 18 year old wants to get up at 4 am and take their Mom to the ER. But Kyle was the best!!!  He called his gf, yes at 4 am, cuz she made him promise he would. I growled at him, really waking the poor girl at that hour. But promises are promises. ☺
     We braved the snow covered roads, as he drove me to the ER to get my cranky, noisy, crispy sounding lungs checked out. As usual once we started the trek to the hospital and I knew that we were headed for help my lungs freed up, the anxiety cleared and I began to feel a little better. Not a million bucks better, but tolerably..I am not gonna die before I get help better.
     Kyle kept me as calm as one asthmatic patient can be on snow covered roads, with snow still falling, and crazy New England drivers everywhere. All that being said, I was never so happy to see the Cooley Dickenson Hospital Emergency Sign
     As an asthmatic child a trip to the ER meant a shot, or a few of them. There isn’t much I dislike in this world more than needles, I wouldn’t make a good junkie. Things have changed in the world of respiratory medicine since I was diagnosed 46 years ago. Now treatment consists of a nebulizer treatment, usually with Corticosteroids involved.  IV antibiotics for the bacterial infection that has taken up residence in my lungs as well as a chest X-Ray to rule out, or in this case confirm the presence of pneumonia in my lungs.
     All of those were done, nebulizing treatment, with Corticosteroids involved, Chest X-Ray for confirmation and a dose of IV antibiotics before they set me free.  I realized while I was sitting in the exam room waiting, after the X-Ray was taken, but I didn’t have the results yet. The last time I was in the ER for an asthma attack Kyle was with me too. It was just in a completely different way. I was pregnant with him last time. My then PCP would not let me self-treat with my nebulizer when I was pregnant. So as a nervous soon to be mom I listened to him and trudged to the ER.  This time he was the grown up who shuttled me there.
     After all was all was said and done, the final paperwork was handed out. Prescription for antibiotics to take for 10 days, a new inhaler, and a note that says I can go back to work on THURSDAY!!  Specific instructions from the Dr that I was to rest, take my meds, push the fluids and keep using my nebulizer.
     Today is day 2 at home, as my dad would say “I am beginning to feel like a Million Bucks, all green and wrinkled”.  I am sure I will feel even better tomorrow, my body had been trying to tell me something. I was just a little too stubborn to listen, I guess I had to be smacked over the head with it. Call me dense, stubborn, or just plain Irish, but I got the message now, really I do!!!

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