I was on vacation the week of February 13th. It was lovely. After a very busy holiday season and depressingly just as busy January, it was a very nice little break. I came home feeling ready to work and with a plan for a productive rest of the month. Sadly, it was not to be.
I’m sick. I don’t normally indulge in public airing of grievances but, as I cannot recall ever having been this sick in my whole life, I feel a need to record this ridiculous week of misery for posterity. I think it’s partially because I feel like some people don’t believe I’m really sick.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s the TL; DR version: I’m really f-ing sick.
Here’s the longer version:
I had a sore throat last Sunday as we were travelling home. Now, my husband and I load up on Airborn whenever we go on vacation and we rarely get sick travelling so I just assumed it was acid reflux or something stupid. We got home, unpacked and I worked. I figured a few hours of work that night would mean I could take President’s Day to hang out with my husband (who was off) before we went back to full throttle.
I woke up the next day and my throat was completely swollen shut. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I couldn’t swallow, couldn’t talk and when I tried to cough it was a bit like when Elmer Fudd fires his gun while Bugs Bunny has his finger in the barrel. Helpful Husband was extremely concerned and would also not stop asking me questions, which, of course, I couldn’t answer. I finally wrote him a note that said something like, “I love you and I know you’re just trying t help but I really can’t talk so stop goddamn asking me things!” I took aspirin, the go to for reducing swelling and, after a few hours, the swelling went down. Except that apparently the swelling had been the only thing keeping the unstoppable torrent of coughs down. I started to cough which didn’t help the still tender and painful throat.
So, clearly, I had a cold. We changed our plans for Monday and just had a chill day at home and I figured I’d be better by tomorrow. I cough my way through Monday night without ever actually getting a moment of sleep until Tuesday morning.
I wasn’t better. I was much, much worse. I was coughing much more frequently and my whole face hurts like my sinuses are trying to make a break for it. I also felt… weird. Not just overtired, like drugged even though I was only on some over the counter stuff. I was actually feeling almost drunk and was definitely not thinking clearly. But I didn’t have a fever. The doctor says it will probably get better on its own and to call if I still have it in a week. I don’t like taking hardcore drugs if I don’t need to so I said OK. Doctors know best, right?
Hillary DePiano doesn’t take sick days. It’s not in my vernacular. What is the difference of sitting and watching TV and sitting and working at my computer? is how I feel about it. I spent a miserable day “working” at my computer which basically means trying to work while coughing constantly, blowing my nose and being basically legally drunk. But it’s fine because I was sure I’d be better tomorrow.
Husband protests but I moved to the guest room both because I didn’t want to get him sick and because I didn’t want to keep him up while I coughed all night. I spent a night coughing in the guest room bed until it was Wednesday.
I was now on two nights of no sleep, I still felt high, and, while my face had stopped aching, I had a new problem. I couldn’t stop coughing. I mean that literally. I would cough and cough and cough until I finally gagged. Then I’d cough again and the cycle would begin anew. Nothing worked. I drank tea, took cough medicine, sucked on hard candies and still just coughed while doing these things. I was afraid to eat and afraid to move too far from the bathroom because I kept gagging.
By Thursday, all this gagging had taken it’s toll. Pissed off stomach acid + no food in my stomach + my stomach being stupid anyway + post nasal drip = horribly nauseous. I’ll be fine, I think, as long as I just sit here very still and make no violent moments… oh wait, I’m writhing with full body coughing fits every five minutes and running into the bathroom every time because I start to gag. Awesome. I only worked a half a day because I realized that I was making too many mistakes, though I was feeling much less cracked out though I’m still as overtired as ever since it’s now been three nights of no sleep.
(Side note: You should look at my Twitter feed for this week. Other than a few small complaints, I’m remarkably chipper aren’t I? That’s just a testament to how much I control my image online. I really try not to whine and complain publicly and I feel like I did a pretty awesome job of that this week. Well, except for this post. ;-))
I am not the kind of person who says, “I feel like I’m dying” even in jest and I must have said it over a thousand times that day. I know that there are much worse things in the world to be sure but this was awful. I lay in bed that night, coughing, relieved that I wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep because I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up.
Then, a miracle! I DID fall asleep for 3 hours, woke up for 2 and then fell asleep again for another 3. I actually felt a little better! I was still cough-cough-gagging every few minutes but my sinuses no longer ached and my throat, amazingly, didn’t hurt at all anymore. I thought, finally! I’m getting better and I was downright giddy as I jumped out of bed on Friday.
Then I looked at myself in the mirror and freaked out. See, I felt like there was something in my eye the night before even though I didn’t see anything but since that was sort of the least of my problems I didn’t think anything of it. My eyes looked horrifying. I won’t go TMI on you so let’s just say that they were a color that eyes are definitely not supposed to be and were doing things that eyes are most definitely not supposed to do.
I called the doctor. I tried to stay calm while waiting for my appointment. I watched some TV and tried to focus on the fact that I mostly seemed to be getting better. Except that about an hour into my TV watching the coughing changed from cough-cough-gag to just Russian Roulette where random coughs will make me gag with no warning.
I get in the car to go to the doctor’s office. Mind you, this is the first time I’ve driven in two weeks, my eyes are doing all manner of disgusting things that are impairing my vision and I’m alternately cough and gagging every few minutes. I’m already the least desirable motorist when I pick up speed and my side view mirror starts to fall off. I try to fix it through the open window before deciding that the cost of a new mirror is not worth dying in a car accident for. The mirror managers to hold up but it’s bouncing all around as I drive adding yet another distraction to the mix. (Husband apparently hit my mirror the other day and never thought to mention it, I learn after the fact.)
Against all odds, I get to the doctors but my cough has gotten much worse. I’m in the waiting room coughing and gagging with my horrifying Queen of the Snake Demons eyes and everyone is giving me a wide berth. When the doctor finally comes to see me, I’m hacking away and she says, “You’re like the 7th person I’ve seen for a cough today.”
“And,” I say between coughs, “the funny part is that I’m not even here for the cough.”
She looks at my eyes. I have a very bad case of conjunctivitis. I should have noticed the warning signs and come in before it got so bad! I’m told. I just kind of shrug because, with all the other chaos happening in my body right now, how was I supposed to notice anything? She asks if the cold has been getting any better. It has, a little, I tell her thinking of the fact that I finally got some sleep last night. She tells me to wait until Monday and, if it isn’t better, she’ll give me meds for that. So I walk out of there with only meds for my eyes.
As if it knew exactly when the doctor’s normal hours ended, everything gets worse by Friday night leading into a miserable weekend. The worst part about the cough/gag thing is that, usually, when you throw up, you feel a little better afterward. But when you throw up because you can’t stop coughing, you not only don’t feel any better afterward, you actually keep coughing while you are throwing up making the entire experience that much more awful.
To complicate matters even more, I developed an ear infection on Saturday where the sides of my head ached and I couldn’t really hear out of either ear. According to the internet, those are common to get with colds and heal on their own and, luckily, a few hours of aspirin made them hurt less.I had been trying to make light of this miserable situation on Friday night by saying to my husband that after getting this cold and then the conjunctivitis now at least my third disease would be free. I think I jinxed myself and the ear infection was just to spite me.
By Saturday night, we’d come full circle and my throat swelled closed again, this time with congestion until I started to have a panic attack because I couldn’t breath. Medicine did nothing. Sunday it happened again, even worse.
I decided that was the last straw and called my doctor this morning. The hardcore stuff is coming at long last. Let’s hoping it starts to work before I develop random disease #4.
I’m so over being sick. Well, I mean, I’m obviously not “over” whatever is wrong with me but I’m “over” the whole being sick process and…
You know what? I’m going to go lay down.