Sunday, February 20, 2011
I've Been (cough cough cough) Sick
I still love Bug Bunny and other Looney Tunes cartoons, and Tex Avery who created the many colorful characters. One little guy popped up every so often, out of the blue. Close your eyes and visualize the usual chase scene; someone would open a random door and there would be this pathetic little "thing" shivering inside. The door opener's face would blanch. In a wiggly, strained voice, the "thing" would offer this explanation as to his appearance, "I've been sick."
I can't remember what the little "thing" looked like exactly, but this cartoon character is close.
For the past two weeks I have taken on various forms of this character's features -- mostly, I looked unrecognizable even to my own self. It started as a sore throat, which became swollen tonsils. Viral pink eye eventually glombed both of my eyes shut. My nose ran, with non-stop cough running a close second. My tongue got blisters and the skin of the roof of my mouth was peeling. My chest hurt. Dwain rubbed Vicks on my neck, back and chest. The rubbing motion hurt terribly. It was then that I realized every ounce of skin on my body hurt, like it was sunburned. When I developed a fever, the doctor that I had seen three times in two weeks, finally prescribed a Zpack to knock the infection in my chest out quick. Dwain said he felt left out since he'd never been prescribed a Zpack. Poor Dwain!
Let's see. How many pills was I taking anyway? Before he went to work each day, Dwain pulled out a piece of paper and made a list of all my medications along with instructions of what time I was to take each pill. Then he would phone home to make sure that I'd actually taken each pill when I was supposed to AND that I had not overdosed. That's how groggy and out of it I was. The funny thing is, no doctor ever told me what exactly was wrong with me. My family doctor told me (and she should know, she's had cancer and endured chemo) that chemo has a way of creating its on unique illnesses. Evidently, drippy nose and chemo cough are two of the more common problems. Basically, it's very hard to know how to treat them. Standard medications do not always work because, like she said, these drippy noses and coughs and the sore throats and infected eyes are unique to each individual. The theme I heard over and over and over was, if you develop a fever, call or go immediately to the emergency room. How high a fever? Mine got to 100.2. I'd hate to know what it would have felt like to have a fever of 101. Thankfully I never had to resort to the emergency room.
Bless his heart, Dwain has worked his little heart out trying to make me well again. He's cooked so much chicken soup that I'm not sure he'd ever eat it again, unless forced. He makes a mean pot of chicken soup though. He's basically done all the cooking and done all the grocery shopping. My appetite has been on the sluggish side. Never say die Dwain brought home more bottles of V8 Fusion because he knew that with every glass I drank I was getting a full serving of fruit and vegetables. I drank a lot of Fusion. Then he decided that my neck needed to be covered more. Cold neck = sore throat and cough. And since I could not reasonably go around wearing one of his socks safety pinned around my neck all the time, he brought home turtleneck sweaters and turtleneck shirts; ~so many, in several colors. I like them all, but I love my Dwain. Everyone should have a Dwain.
This is Sunday, the 20th of February and this is the first good day I've had in two weeks. Something has finally clicked inside my body. Or let's just pray that it has because I don't believe I could take another week of this. Hand's down, the coughing has been the absolute worst part. There have been nights that I only slept between coughing fits.
Here are helpful hints to those of you who may endure a similar coughing horror; Benadryl, Lifesavers candy, a heating pad, your very own bed and two pillows. You need to sleep in a bed by yourself so that your coughing doesn't disturb your spouse all night long. Take one or two Benadryl to help dry up the drip. Once you turn in, pop a Lifesaver into your mouth (I know you will not like this idea Lynn -- it's the dentist in you). The hard candy will make you swallow, swallow, swallow. Place the heating pad against your upper back and your head on top of two pillows. I don't know why, but the heating pad controlled my cough better if I placed it again my back rather than against my chest. I tried it both ways. Something about the warmth of the heating pad stops that out-of-control cough; your body will relax.
It took Dwain and me two weeks to discover what worked and what did not work, for me anyway. I return to work on Tuesday. Coughing and court reporting do not good partners make so let's hope that between tonight and Tuesday morning, that cough dries up totally.