Postcards from the Undertaker

Yeah, I’ve been a bit quiet for the last month or so, but there’s a good reason. I’m pretty sure Mother Nature is out to get me! You see, the snow, ice, and sub-zero temps no longer bother me, so she decided to throw me a fastball.

Just over a month ago, I noticed a mild sore throat one Friday afternoon while walking home from work. No biggie, I thought, it was just the usual road-salt induced dryness. After all, there had been a cloud of salt hovering over Main Street for a few days.

But by the following Monday I was at 102° F and hacking up a lung nearly 24 hours a day. I didn’t sleep more than 5 hours that first week of wretchedness, but somehow managed to work two days anyway. I don’t remember much, though. I can’t even say if I was achy or sneezy, as it’s all a blur. I’m pretty sure I had a guest spot on Walking Dead, though.

At the end of that first week I went to the doctor, which in itself should tell you how sick I was. But as expected, she told me that I did not have the flu (most people never do) and that I should just “wait it out” with a  decongestant. (I’d have never thought of that!) She did prescribe  cough syrup with codeine, which turned out to be quite worthless, as well as antibiotics to fill “only if needed.” At that point, I just needed to breathe.

Any time I reclined even slightly, I felt as if I had less than half a lung to work with, and it was busy trying not to drown. I was certain I’d suffocate if I did manage to fall asleep, so a few nights I sat up on the sofa, dozing off here and there, propping myself up with pillows to make sure I didn’t slump over.

When the threat of pneumonia became real, I did get the antibiotics and generic Mucinex to stave off death for a few more days. But all of Waterbury could still hear me coughing and wheezing, and I started expecting friendly postcards from local funeral homes vying for my business. I think the cold kept the buzzards away, at least.

The next week, I was back at work every day. I was okay as long as I sat upright, stayed still, and didn’t talk or laugh. The ability to breathe at night was slowly returning, and by the end of the week I suddenly felt great—invigorated and overjoyed that the battle was nearly over! I still coughed a bit here and there, especially after any kind of physical activity. But I felt human again! I was sure it was all over, but Mother Nature had one more trick up her sleeve.

Although I was barely coughing anymore, I unexpectedly had one final bout of hacking—floor-shaking, hold-on-for-dear-life, hide-yo-kids hacking. It happened so suddenly and violently that I pulled muscles in my back and ribs! (That’s a first, too!) Nicely played, cruel fate! Nicely played! My reward for surviving the lung-plague was another two weeks without sleep, not to mention intense pain with every movement—and breath. I’m just now approaching full recovery, nearly two months after it all began.

I learned long ago that the shitty stuff tends to linger. It always has for me, anyway. But it does eventually end, and that’s what has always kept me going. I also never forget that things could always be much worse! But I had never been this sick—nothing more than a 3-day cold. And as much as I’ve seen and done, I had definitely never felt so powerless to nature.  So, of course I’d like to thank Mother Nature for the lessons learned.

…Bitch. 🙂

7 Replies to “Postcards from the Undertaker”

  1. Glad you are feeling some better! I’ve been under the weather as well, but did actually have influenza type a! I can honestly say I’ve never been that sick in my life.

  2. Something was just off with my symptoms, so I was sure it wasn’t the flu. Besides, with my luck, I KNEW it would be some “mystery virus.”

    And it’s probably my own fault—when I eat a lot of raw green veggies, my immune system is amazing. Needless to say, I’ve been eating terribly for the last few months. Sigh.

  3. Clearly I need to read this blog more often!! As I read this that mostly dormant mothering urge was causing me to think about catching the next plane, train or automobile to Vermont as fast as possible to help ensure those postcards could be returned to sender — “your services are not required just yet–so back off!” So glad you are on the mend– which is excellent news — especially since my mothering and smothering tendencies are easily confused by the uniniated. 😉

    Looks like Old Man Winter has more snow heading my way…should make for an interesting week!

    Stay healthy and try not to do any more damage to yourself before Spring!!

  4. I’m hoping to be fully recovered by our spring, which appears to be abut 3 months away! HA! And every time I get up off the sofa, I still feel about 80 years old, trying to avoid using those muscles. 🙂

    We got about 16 inches of snow Wednesday and a few more on Thursday. Good times!

    And after warming up to 40 yesterday, we were down to 5 degrees last night. Everything out there is likely a sheet of ice covered by another dusting of snow we go last night. Some dramatically public fall on a sidewalk ice-slick will finally do me in. I’ll try to blog it as it happens, though. 🙂

    Hang in there, spring is coming!

  5. Glenn!!! I was writing you an email, then came to check your site and for something and saw your new design AND the latest blog post. What In The World?!?!

  6. HA! I wish I knew. I’m going to have to give that battle a name! Any suggestions? I’m leaning toward “Waterloo.” HA!

    I’ve definitely never had anything even remotely like it, and the pulled muscles (or bruised ribs?) are STILL healing. Sheesh!

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