Broken Heart

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

 Even I can take the hint. Me, the person who never takes ANY fucking hint to let go, to subside, to be still, can take this hint. 

In October I felt really worn down. My office is on the third floor and by the time I got there I had to rest, panting. I assumed my cardio fitness was shit and I was probably getting fat. I am, after all 51, and my body continues to change as I morph into the bad ass crone I was meant to be. 

I was teaching face to face, as I had done all through the pandemic, and was ( and still am) scrupulous about masking. I still, for the record, mask in public spaces. I don't trust any of those motherfuckers. 

I planned on my COVID booster in early October because - well - I am around 18-25 year olds and they are invincible. I, however, am clearly NOT invincible. (See previous posts)

So there I am, panting up three flights of stairs.  The tightness around my torso began.  "hmmmm", Dawn thinks , "probably a bronchial infection which I should not have because I mask all the time and I better not have fucking Covid."

I go to my doctor. He says "pneumonia" and I agree. It does feel like pneumonia. I now cough and cough and the pressure is getting worse. I do the first round of antibiotics and nothing gets better. I go to the ER and they say "Yep, still pneumonia, take these other antibiotics". Week 2 of antibiotics commence.

"OK", I say. By now my breathing is bad. I use the inhaler. I drink the water. I call in to class because I can't breathe and I certainly won't be able to do my lecture performance for 2 hours at a time. I do some meetings via zoom and black out the screen when I cough so hard that I nearly fall off my chair.  My continual coughing keeps me awake all night.

We go back to the ER after week two.. It's a long night and a million tests are run on me.  Some tests are a little wobbly but nothing really indicative.  I must be fighting off the infection. More antibiotics are prescribed. Week 3 of antibiotics.

I've now been on a month of antibiotics. Nothing seems to be helping. I can no longer stand in the shower so I sit in steamy showers trying to break up whatever is in my lungs.  The inhalers do nothing.  I don't sleep because of the coughing.  My ability to walk has been curtailed from my bed to my bathroom and back. Even then, I have to rest leaning over the bed before I can climb back up because I am too tired to hoist myself back into bed. Terrance finds me in this position frequently because it helps my breathing. 

There is no working my job for me. I can't even care because I can't breathe.  I later find out that the students think I have Covid - really bad covid - and that no one is telling them. 

The night before Thanksgiving I wake up panting. My stomach and gut hurt all the time and I think it is because of the mammoth amount of antibiotics that are killing my gut flora. I try eating yogurt.

Emily is home because of the Thanksgiving holiday and she stares at me while I am propped up in bed.  I tell her that I woke up panting and she rats me out to her father immediately. He declares we are going back to the ER right now. "No", I plead, "They will tell me it is pneumonia again. There is nothing to be done."

He threatens to carry me down the stairs. I barter to eat a little Thanksgiving dinner before I go, knowing that there is no food to be had in the ER. I eat. I am so tired. I need to be helped into clothes and my family maneuvers me down the stairs and into the waiting car.

We arrive and I am ushered into a bed. Around us people with Covid are yelling at the nurses - denying, demanding. 

What feels like 2 gallons of blood is extracted. My veins are bruised from all the other visits so new sites must be  found. I can barely care, but I am compliant and kind to the nurses and techs.  Terrance hovers, fiercely.  I am hooked to an IV antibiotic to which I have a horrifying reaction. I feel like I am burning to death. I vomit, I cry, I keep asking how much longer till the bag is empty. I consider ripping the IV out to stop this horror. 

Terrance is frantic, putting cold cloths on my neck as I plead with him to make this stop.  "I can't do this, I can't do this", I cry.  When the medicine ends, the pain stops.  I can open my eyes and speak again. "That was bad", I say. He is shaken and quiet.  "I've never seen you like that. Even in labor", he says.

I lay on my side.  Laying on my side helped  the pressure in my torso, but makes me cough. Every decision is weighed with the discomfort. We sit, waiting. 

I am taken for more procedures - MRI's with contrast. The dye always feels funny - the hot tingle before it subsides. I return to the room. I wait.  Emily has arrived and sits next to me. 

My doctor eventually arrives. "This is congestive heart failure", he announces. Emily bursts into tears. Terrance shushes her - he is intently listening.  "You are going to be in the hospital for while", the doctor says. 

New medications are pushed into the IV. Saline is immediately discontinued and diuretics are pushed.  The  swelling that I'd thought was dead gut bacteria is, in fact, fluid. LOTS of fluid. The pressure and fluid in my lungs? Not pneumonia , it seems, but fluid building up. I go back in for another MRI. The tech says "This is the last one you can have for 24 hours. Remind them if they try to send you for another one."

The squeezey things are put on my legs to try to move the fluid. I pee constantly.  

There are no beds free in the hospital due to the Covid patients.  Terrance goes home to get me my favorite pillow and some other things.  I sleep in the ER until a bed is freed 28 hours later. 

1 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

All the healing and love

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