It’s been barely two months since I left the hospital after a brutal 3-week stay for ravaging pneumonia infections. I spent 19 days on Oxygen – something that I never needed for so long before – and ended up with kidney damage due to my IV antibiotics.
I usually plan my hospitalizations, but this one took me through the ER in respiratory distress. So when I ended up sick again after only five weeks, I felt deflated. A cocktail of three antibiotics over the course of several weeks brought me back to a good place, but now, after a week after finishing them, I am sick. Again.I spent the entire day today doing airway clearance, sinus rinses, taking meds and trying to rest. It’s hard to do when you’re coughing for hours on end, having to run into the bathroom to cough out the stuff that is coming up from my lungs and draining from my sinuses. I was able to get about two hours of sleep but woke up again at 12:30am, my head full, my lungs irritated, and down to the living room I went.
What’s frustrating and scary is that no matter what I do to help my immune system, these bugs have developed incredibly strong resistance to everything from natural immune responses to “big gun” IV antibiotics – even medications that I have never been on! Their very makeup is to survive. How ingenious of them! Bacteria is the most evolved species in the world. And now, because my lungs and sinuses are colonized, the stuff I do can only slow them down. As soon as I finish the antibiotics, they start up again!
Airway clearance. Inhalers. Running to the bathroom every other minute. Trying to calm down my lungs because every cough strains my muscles in my chest, back and neck. Trying to ease the inflammation so that I don’t rupture a blood vessel in my lungs or throat. Staying hydrated. Keeping meds down.
Thankfully, I have a few hours of “my shows” recorded on my DVR. These goofy shows, most of them of the TLC, NatGeo and Discovery genres, keep my mind entertained while my body is rebelling. These shows are “mind candy” – in other words, no intellectual value except pure pleasure. “Dance Moms,” “Toddlers & Tiaras,” “Cheer Perfection,” and various Amish and Paranormal shows are on my candy menu.
Of course, it’s fun to watch other people fall apart on national television. They make me feel good about my life!!
So now the question remains – do I wait call my doctors tomorrow, or do I try to hold on until Monday for my monthly doctor appointment?Obviously the answer will be based on the severity of my symptoms and my vital signs – I have a Pulse Oximeter, Blood pressure device, electronic thermometer, and portable Spirometer, in addition to my Glucose meter, to help me assess how I am doing “by the numbers”.
There isn’t much else that I can do to fight these bacterial infections. I just wish that someone would find a way to defeat them. Even when I’m not actively “sick”, I’m fighting to clear mucous out of the way so that we can obliterate them. We’re running out of options. This is why fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis is so important.
Sigh. It’s not always wise to try to think clearly in the middle of the night. It’s almost 3am right now. But sometimes, that’s when I need to get things out the most. When I’m up, the world is silent, and there is nothing but the sound of my cough. Oh, and “Toddlers & Tiaras”.