So, I rolled over and gasped to Charlie, something like, "I'M DYING. Please tell the children I love them!" And the man whom I adore, opened one eye and said, "That cough doesn't sound so good, Jen. It sounds like your lungs are filling with fluid. I'm sorry you feel so ba .... zzzzzzzz."
If my lungs really were filling with fluid, surely my husband of almost 17-years would have woken up and been a bit, how do you say?
But the sound of snoring told me he wasn't alarmed. So when he went back to sleep, I took a hit (two, three, who's counting??) off my inhaler and rolled over on my side, hoping sleep would come for me, too. But it didn't. Because I was trembling with the chills and my hands and feet felt numb. And the coughing, coughing, COUGHING.
So, I climbed out of bed and started a hot shower and as I'm depressing shampoo on my hand that is shaking like a leaf, I notice that my arms from the elbows down were white. Totally and completely white, the kind of white that one might expect to see if a body part was deprived of oxygen. Much like my feet ... that, hey! They were white, too!
My delicate cries (GASP, GASP, GASP, I'M DYING!!!) that Charlie needed to help me, were "energetically" responded to as my husband very slowly climbed out of bed, and then sleep walked straight in to a wall on his way to call the urgent care center to check their hours.
Despite the fact that it was now 3:30 AM and I was seeing stars and felt lightheaded, I thought it would be a good idea to drive myself to the doctor.
- I didn't think it would be a good idea to drag the kids out of bed so Charlie could drive me (Charlie? CHARLIE! Wake up! I'm leaving, now! Call you later!)
- Calling upon a neighbor to come over and watch the children was not even a consideration because surely this isn't really THAT serious;
- An ambulance would be WAY OVER REACTING;
- No one is on the road at this hour (hence less chance of accidents);
- The urgent care center is just up the street.
(But cannot be completely sure. We're still relatively new here, after all.)
So I drove myself to the doctor. Very slowly. Doing my best to stay ON the road and not hit any trees. Within five minutes of walking through the urgent care doors, they gave me a steroid, antibiotic and had me hooked up to a nebulizer. It took an hour for the nebulizer to run it's course and once it was complete, they gave me a chest x-ray.
While the chest x-ray image was developing, I was back on my little gurney hooked up to a second one-hour nebulizer with an IV in my arm and a sweet young nurse completing a blood draw. She was beautifully humming, "You're So Vain" and I mentioned, I love Carly Simon.
I asked if she knew that it had been suggested that song was actually written about Warren Beatty? She shrugged and told me she had never heard of Carly Simon nor Warren Beatty. So I said, "Have you ever seen Bugsy? Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet! Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet! Twenty dwarves? ... took turns? ... doing handstands? ... on the ... ? ... carpet?" she shook her head no and summoned for the doctor.
He hadn't heard of Carly Simon nor Warren Beatty, either. And that's when I realized I was at least 10 years older than anyone there.
Within two hours of that, I was loaded in to the back of an ambulance by the most adorable EMT drivers ever and transported to the hospital where I'd remain for the next four days.
(I was about 15 years older than them... Say, wait a minute! Are you sure you're old enough to drive?!)
Pneumonia. Who knew it could be so serious?
Here's a picture of Charlie, taking a picture of me, as he held vigil by my bedside. I've long been convinced that I need to have etched on my headstone, "See, I TOLD you I was sick!"
While I've always appreciated those in the medical community, including those who MAKE medication, I'm particularly favoring them, now. For without the medication that I so quickly received, I have no doubt that I'd be gone.
This whole experience has been a little unnerving. Especially when I was in the hospital and my blood pressure dropped to the low 70's and my heart monitor set off the "CODE BLUE" alarm not once, not twice, but EIGHT TIMES. There I was, propped up in bed watching a marathon of "Law and Order, Criminal Intent" nibbling on Jell-O, when a team of nurses came (repeatedly) storming in to my room with a crash cart. Boy, were they glad to see that I still had a pulse.
There are some underlying issues that my doctor's think led to this sudden collapse and which will need to be thoroughly investigated. Namely, what appears to be my body's inability to create a little something called "cortisol" which is linked to adrenal insufficiency.
(Here's a fun fact: Normal levels are supposed to be ~9 to 25 mcg/dl. Mine were a whopping <1.)
Over the next few weeks, I'll be visiting several doctors to get to the "root" of the problem. Personally, I think it's stress. Wouldn't you know, I've been saying (and saying and saying and saying) how stressed out I've felt for the past year and if something doesn't change soon, I'm going to drop like a rock.
Why must I always be right?
To be honest, I could/should probably still be in the hospital. And they certainly would have kept me there, laying in bed, looking at the ceiling, while antibiotics and steroids restore me to health. But I really needed to get back to the homestead because not in a million years would I have ever missed this (the long-awaited and much-anticipated first stage performance):
Also, Charlie left yesterday for a business trip to California so *clap! clap!* sick time is over.
Today, when I went to the doctor, I was told that I should do nothing except rest, hydrate and take my medication. Oh. Sure. That sounds reasonable. Except, I've got four young children. And although we've got babysitters that have been dropping through, those four young children have homing beacons that take them directly back to the mothership. And for whatever reason, my children, who usually sleep all night, were up last night beginning at 11 PM on 90 minute cycles, until 6 AM this morning.
They're actually a very nice supplement to my medication.
There's really something very healing / rejuvenating about a three-year-old that crashes asleep on my chest with promises of, "I here. I take care of you, Mom."
Things will be fine.
I'm sure of it!
If not, the children know our address and if they see me fall down, they've been taught they just need to pick up the phone and dial "911."