I Got Sick
Here's how my month of September has gone so far:
Sept 1: I came down with a cold just in time for my first day back at work. And I had an ingrown toenail that became infected. So I was sniffling and limping around and feeling fairly pathetic. I took Thursday and Friday off work, bumped up my consumption of vitamins and started a course of run-of-the-mill antibiotics for the toe and incipient sinus infection. I figured I'd be good as new on Tuesday (Monday being the Labor Day holiday). My wife and I canceled our trip to Seattle, to rest and recuperate and rearrange the house (that's my wife's idea of resting and recuperating). She had a cold, too; in fact, I'm pretty sure I caught mine from her. And our two-year-old was starting to sniffle as well.
Sept 6: Just as I thought I was getting over the cold, I woke up Sunday night in the middle of the night with a fever of 101 and the tell-tale "flu-like" body aches. Over the next several days, the body aches and fever increased (peaking at 103) and I experienced the tell-tale flu-like "I feel like I got hit by a truck," accompanied by extreme malaise, coughing, and self-pity.
Sept 9: I finally went to the doctor, who said it was in all likelihood the swine flu, H1N1 (although it remains unconfirmed). The doc gave me a prescription for Tamiflu (probably too late to do much good) as well as prophylactic prescriptions for the wife and kids; which, even with some help from Uniform Medical, put a bit of a dent in my wallet.
Sept 12-14: I refrained from taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen for 24 hours, even though I still had a headache, in order to gauge whether I could pass the "24 hours without a fever of more than 100 degrees" test. I passed the test on Saturday night. But then the fever started bouncing up above 100 again on Sunday. So I stayed home again on Monday. (The CDC doesn't seem to have guidelines about what happens if you go for 24 hours without a fever, but then it returns again the next day.)
Sept 15: On the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows (according to the calendar at my desk) I returned to work, having passed the fever test again. I was coughing more, though. The first thing that landed in my inbox was a message from my parents saying there was an article on the front page of their local paper that I should check out. So I did. "Studies: Swine flu spreads long after fever stops." I shared that article with my superiors and suggested maybe I should reschedule my distance ed. instruction trip to the other side of the state and work from home for the remainder of the week. They agreed that that seemed sensible. One of my classes here on campus couldn't be rescheduled and my boss generously offered to cover it for me. (Thanks Bob!) I went home.
Sept 16: The cough got worse and I began to feel like my lungs were swimming in fluid. I had coughed through the night. And when I had finally managed to become unconscious, I had woken up at 3 a.m. in a puddle of cold sweat. My wife had moved into the next room so she could get some sleep. I went to the doctor and got a chest x-ray which confirmed pneumonia. I had already been taking Augmentin for the sinus infection and the infected toe that had preceded the flu; the doc took me off the Augmentin and put me on a scary antibiotic called Avelox, with a warning that one of the side effects of Avelox is that your tendons can start to snap like dried out old rubber bands. So I'm not supposed to do any stretching or my usual daily round of contortion exercises. Weird. (Fortunately I am still permitted to perform as many mental contortions as I want -- one of my favorite pastimes.)
Sept 21: On the feast of St. Matthew (says the calendar at my desk) I returned to work. Still coughing a lot, but feeling quite like the Avelox is kicking the pneumonia's butt and leading me back towards tendon-snapping good health. St. Matthew pray for me.
Sept 24 (today): I ventured out twice to answer reference questions. After the first one, I returned to the staff area and declared, "I infected my first patron!" It's a joke. I'm pretty sure I didn't. For one thing, I didn't cough on him. For another thing, even though I did touch his keyboard and mouse, I had just washed my hands for the 137th time right before I ventured out there. I'm still not ready to run the hundred yard dash, and I'm not even quite up to scaling the stairs to the second floor--where the library resides here at Riverpoint. (I ride the elevator, even though I hate elevators and usually avoid them if possible.) I'm drinking lots of water, swallowing lots of vitamins (along with the Avelox) and refraining from my usual lunchtime stroll along the river with a cigar. I'm on the mend!
So long September, I feel like I hardly knew ya.