Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 242

We moved. Draper to Farmington.
It's been harder than I expected. 
I'm guessing it's been harder because I've been sick. The first symptoms hit me September 6. So I'm on Day 19. It was just a cough. Some other people in my office also had a cough so it was easy to determine where I had gotten it. Slowly as each day passed, the cough worsened. Nothing was helping me. I tried Jamba Juice's Cold Buster, I ate lots of oranges, I took cough syrup, nothing. I finally broke down on September 17 and went to InstaCare on my lunch break. The doctor was really nice, until she started telling me her theories of what it might be. She asked if I was up to date on my tetanus and I said I believed I was (I'm going to get my booster now, just so I can say with 100% assurance that I'm up to date). The nice doctor explained that whooping cough has been going around and that it could be possible I had caught that. My heart literally dropped. She started asking my lots of questions about my symptoms that would pertain to whooping cough and I answered no to all of them. She prescribed me some antibiotics, cough suppressant for the daytime, and cough syrup for the night time. She then checked my ears, nose and throat. "Wait a minute, I think there's something in your left ear." So she takes another look. "Yup, something's in there but I can't tell. Let me see if I can get it." She grabbed some green stick thing and started poking around my ear. Nothing came out. "Well, I guess if it doesn't bother you then no big deal." Yeah, easy for you to say. Now I have to worry about if I may have whooping cough and I have something in my ear!

I walked out of the office sobbing. 
I tried calling my mom at work but she didn't answer so I called my sister in law. She sweetly talked me off the ledge and told me if I had whooping cough then everyone around me would have been coughing by now because it's so contagious. She made me feel so better. I began my pill popping regiment and I started to get better. 

Two days later, I woke up and started to get ready for work. I coughed, like I had done for the past 2 weeks, but all of a sudden I couldn't breathe. Not like a I'm-choking-can't-breathe, but a can't-suck-the-air-in-worse-sound-of-my-life can't breathe. It was absolutely terrifying. 

I grabbed the door frames with both hands and just stood there trying to suck the air in and listening to my throat wheeze from the attempt. I'm guessing it lasted a minute, maybe less, but it felt like 5 minutes. I sat on my bedroom floor and noticed that I was real sweaty and was shaking. I honestly didn't know what to do so I just texted my boss and said I was staying home for the day. So many things ran through my mind. Did I choke on phlegm? No, because nothing came up. Did I choke on air? Is that even possible? Was it my asthma? I didn't think it was asthma because I can't recall ever having an asthma attack. 

I told Eric about it when he got home, didn't seem to phase him because it hadn't happened again and I was fine. Took my medicine and went to bed. Around 3 am, I woke up coughing and had another "episode". It woke Eric up and he started patting my back as if I were choking. It didn't last as long as the first one, but it was still scary. Eric was horrified and kept asking "What was that?" I told him I had no idea. It would happen one more time during the middle of the night, right around 3 am, two days later. I brushed it aside thinking it was just happening because of my cough and once the cough went away, the episodes would go away too.

Fast forward to Sunday. I woke up feeling awesome. It seriously was the first day since the 6th that I felt normal again. I didn't have an urge to cough and I had slept amazingly throughout the night. I felt better. I attended the Brigham City Temple Dedication with my brother and his wife at their church. As I went to drive home I remembered I had something in my car for my other brother, James, and his wife. They live down the street from the church so I took a quick detour. I was able to play with my nephews and hold the new baby and tell James all about the Dirty Dash. After about 15 minutes I decided to head home to eat lunch and relax. I walked out their front door, crossed their lawn, then when I got to the sidewalk I coughed a little bit. Bam. 

It hit me without me realizing it. I kept trying to suck in but just couldn't. I started to walk back to the front door thinking it would be good for James to hear what was going on but then I thought about my nephews and how it might scare them to see me like this. So, the next rational thing to do was to sit on their grass and just keep trying to suck the air in. I don't even know how long it lasted but it had to have been at least twice as long as the first one. Once I caught my breath, I just sat there. What do I do now? Should I go back to InstaCare? Should I go to the hospital? Should I just go home? Instead, I dialed my parent's house knowing they would be home from the dedication. My sister answered and I struggled to ask if Mom was there and said I needed to talk to her right away. That's about the time I started to sob. I was so scared. Mom told me to go back inside the house and she called Jackie to let her know what was going on. 

Jackie literally rubbed breathing oil on my feet to help calm me down while James called Zach to see if he could come over to give me blessing. I just sat there and cried. I had so many emotions running through me. I was scared, confused, embarrassed, weak and I was wishing Eric was there. My brothers gave me a blessing and I cried harder. I felt so loved at that moment. I sat there a little bit longer before deciding to head home and go to bed. Zach and his wife were going to come get me in a couple hours to head to Draper for a birthday party so I knew I would only be alone for a little bit.

The birthday party was fun and it was so nice being around everyone. I just had the thought in the back of my mind the whole time that I was never going to cough again because I was terrified of another episode. It finally came to a head and I tried to stop it which resulted in my gagging myself and starting another mild attack. I walked directly to my mom, knelt down by her and started to cry again. Oh, so much crying that day. We talked and we decided that I needed to call my allergist in the morning and try to get an appointment. It was nice to have a plan but the fear of coughing was still there. 

Eric and I finally got home around 9:30 and started to get ready for bed. Next thing you know, I cough and have yet another episode. I immediately sat down and tried to process everything that was happening. Eric came and sat by me and I held out my wrist so that he could take my pulse so that we could see if my heart rate went up and how much. It was a much shorter episode and I wasn't as panicked. We decided that I needed to skip work and go straight to the doctor in the morning. Eric was sweet and called my boss for me since I was having a hard time talking. I went to bed feeling very anxious about everything which is probably why I had yet another episode in the middle of the night. So all in all, on Sunday I had 3 1/2 episodes. That was enough for me.

I woke up the next morning wishing that the clinic opened earlier than 9. I had called them the day before during the birthday party to get their hours and they said it was open 9-5. I woke up around 8 and just started feeling anxious again. I got on my knees and prayed for strength and for a calmness to come about me. I felt extremely better and had the sense that I needed to call the clinic. So I did, and guess what? Someone answered. I told her what was going on and she said she could get me in right at 9. This was at 8:20, which meant I had 5 minutes to get out the door. I put on an outfit from Saturday, it was the closest thing to me, ran some mouthwash through my mouth and walked out the door. I know I looked like a hot mess but I didn't care. I was there at 8:57 am.

At my clinic, each time you go you get to do a breathing test. It's a tube hooked up to the computer to show your lung strength. When I was little, the picture on the screen to blow down was a picture of the three little pig's houses. It was always fun trying to blow down all the houses like the big bad wolf. Now, it's just a picture of candles. I blew as hard as I could each time but noticed my scores were in the 60-70% when they are usually in the 80-90%. They took note of that and after talking with my doctor and explaining what was going on, he decided to have me do a breathing treatment then take the test again to see if my scores improved. 30 minutes later I took the test again and my scores were lower. Perfect. 

My nice doctor made me feel so relaxed and confident that he knew what was going on and that our new action plan was going to work. He assured me that come tomorrow I would be feeling lots better. He did ask me to go get a chest x-ray just to make sure nothing else was going on in my lungs. (X-ray came back normal, nothing to worry about). He then gave me 5 prescriptions. Predinisone (the evil miracle as he put it), an antibiotic, a daily use inhaler, an air chamber to use with my daily use inhaler, and a new rescue inhaler. Lucky me. I left the clinic and drove straight to the hospital for my x-ray. I was in and out in 15 minutes, it was great. My cute Mom met me at the hospital and took me to Costco to get my prescriptions filled. I was so nervous about the inhalers because those puppies are expensive. I got lucky though and my insurance covered everything but the air chamber. I still spent over $100 but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. 

I got to spend the afternoon lounging on my parent's couch and sleeping. They took such good care of me. They even drove me home to Farmington where I randomly started to cry because I felt like I wasn't going home. To me, home was our old apartment in Draper. (My doctor warned me that the Prednisone might make me overreact to certain things. So far it's all been emotional). 

Today was rough. I'm still not 100% back but I do feel better. I had a few moments this morning at work where I thought I was alone and I got really scared but after talking to myself and telling myself I was fine I seemed to calm down. (Again, I'm blaming that on the Prednisone). I even got up the courage to cough. I had to sit in someone's office while they were there, just in case, but I did it. I coughed, and no episode. It was slightly amazing. 

Eric just walked in and asked what was I doing. I told him I was writing everything down that has happened so I wouldn't forget. He asked, "How could you ever forget something like this?" He's right, but I'm hoping one day in the near future all of this won't be running through my head and I can look back and say, "Oh yeah... remember that one time I was sick? I had forgotten about that."

It's like I'm bearing my testimony at church but I have to say thank you again to my family. I'm lucky to have such compassionate people be around me who care about me. I'm also grateful for Eric. I know I've worried him the past couple of weeks and while I know I wasn't doing it on purpose, I still feel extremely guilty. Hopefully tonight we can both, for once since this all started, get a full night sleep without having to wake up. 

The End. 

1 comment:

  1. Andrea, that is all so scary! No wonder you have been on my mind so much this past week! I'm sorry that you have been so sick, that sounds awful. I'm glad that you're doing a little better now. I'll keep you in my prayers, but let me know if there is anything else I can do for you :) Love ya friend!