A Touch of Pneumonia

Been through a bit of an ordeal over the last week. I’ve had sinus trouble since term started, which worsened at the start of May. Saw GP#1, who put me on antibiotics. I continued going to work, because I wasn’t all that sick.

Then, last Monday, I developed a sore throat that went from non-existent to “swallowing razor blades” over about 2 hours. I left school early without attending a normal Monday meeting, calling in at a supermarket on the way home for Strepsils. On Tuesday I was no better (my nose started streaming) and I phoned in to work sick. I had to see GP#2 for a medical certificate, which I got, along with the opinion that it was hay fever (which I disagreed with). On Wednesday, the sore throat went and the coughing started. I was near the end of the antibiotics at this stage (yeah, yeah, not helpful as clearly viral). My neighbour, Mary, came and checked I was okay as she noticed my car hadn’t moved and I hadn’t brought in the newspaper.

Wednesday night was awful. I coughed more than slept until 4 am, and after that I could not sleep, and was too worn down even to cough much. I was having trouble breathing, but couldn’t really acknowledge the seriousness of it (it was probably the point at which I should have called an ambulance…). I finally got up at 7am and realised I could barely move and things were very foggy. Breathing was hard (and still I had a shower – I am an idiot!). At 7.30 I rang my parents, 200km away. They worked the phone, contacting my brother and sister and found my sister could get me to the doctor, and they packed and drove to Sydney.

Unfortunately, the GP practice I go to is down near where I used to live. I’ve been going there my entire life except for the four years I lived in Armidale. I will find one closer to ‘home’ once ‘home’ is a little more static and definite. My sister is in a similar position, and also still goes to the same practice. So after a not-short car trip, I got to the doctor. GP#3 (I had wanted to see GP#2, just to point out it wasn’t hay fever, but he wasn’t available) managed to get some Ventolin into me, which improved my breathing (my hands went from white to pink), then sent me off to hospital with a referral letter of “pneumonia(?)”.

So my sister drove me to the hospital-of-my-birth. I got into triage within about 20 minutes of arriving and then went nowhere for something like 2 hours. The emergency department beds were full since they had too many patients waiting for beds in wards and couldn’t move anyone out. They couldn’t get me out of triage because my blood oxygen saturation was “borderline” (I hate to think what it was before the Ventolin!). I was leapfrogged twice by sicker patients brought in by ambulance. My parents arrived shortly after I entered triage and my sister was able to go home. Mum and I listened while the poor nurse on the triage desk copped flak from some angry, selfish woman who couldn’t understand that anyone was sicker than her.

Eventually the doctor had to come to triage and begin treating me. Then I finally got an emergency department bed. No pillow though – I heard one harried nurse complain that they go to the wards and don’t come back. By the 1.30pm nurse hand over, I finally had a cannula in my arm, and was awaiting IV antibiotics, a drip, drugs and chest x-rays. The x-ray took the longest. Mum had actually gone back to my house to sort out things as by this point as it seemed clear I was going to have to be admitted. And then the x-rays came back clear – to the doctor’s surprise. This meant they didn’t have enough clinical reasons to admit me. I’m quite glad, in retrospect, since it would probably would have been a horrible night in the emergency ward. So Mum and Dad came back for me at 4.30-5 ish and I was released with Tamiflu, antibiotics and a medical certificate until 1st June. The “pneumonia” is probably debatable, but it is a faster communicated explanation than “influenza plus chest infection secondary to an upper respiratory tract infection”.

Back home I managed a bit of soup for dinner (plus enough pills to make me rattle) despite nausea I had been suffering from all day. Dad headed back home to Port Stephens. He had been going to move my car to the bottom of my driveway so my Mum would be able to drive it, but it didn’t happen. I tried to lie down and get some sleep, but the nausea made it too hard. I ended up throwing up everything, and then still feeling so nauseous and in pain that Mum nearly had to call an ambulance to take me back to hospital. Finally I managed to keep down a single Panadol and fell asleep. Two hours later I awoke in far less pain and then managed to sleep another five hours. Panadol is my new friend.

Friday was bed and barely getting up except for the bathroom. I moved to the couch in the evening and took delivery of a lovely white flowered cyclamen plant from my work colleagues in my department at school. I didn’t sleep much better on Friday night because of coughing.

Saturday was half-spent in bed, the other half on the couch. One of my work colleagues delivered a white flowered cyclamen plant from the staff association. I didn’t see it until she’d gone – then had a coughing fit from all my giggling about it (for the record, I love cyclamen and I didn’t have any before this, so I’m very happy!). My coughing eased off and I got my first proper night of sleep.

Yesterday I had a shower and washed my hair – which wiped me out for the whole morning. I finally managed to sit at my computer for a bit. And I slept well again. Today, I’m at the computer more (hello blog!) and have arranged Coles Online to home deliver lots of groceries tomorrow.

Mum has been wonderful and will probably be here until Thursday, depending on how I am (although she has nearly run out of knitting – gasp!). Calli is in heaven since she now has two staff to service her needs, and my lap is near permanently hers to sit on – she’s been my shadow. She didn’t like it when I went on Thursday and did the biggest leap across my bed on Thursday evening when I returned home.

I’m not heading back to work before 1st June. The school has someone taking my lessons, which is a load off my mind. One friend has described it as being “wobbly as overcooked spaghetti” which is fairly accurate. I’m not taking visitors, due to the influenza and I’ve had the flu jab every year for the last nine years, including this one, so heaven knows what strain of flu I have. I don’t want to give it to anyone. I’m not yet knitting all the time, but have stuff to photograph and put up here once I’m up to it.

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One Response to A Touch of Pneumonia

  1. discoknitter says:

    Sounds horrible! I hope you’re feeling better soon, and able to enjoy some quality knitting and kitty time 🙂

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