It’s that time of year again. The temperatures are dropping and winter is coming. The plants that produce all those horrible allergens slowly go the way of the buffalo and my biggest fear turns to all the perpetually sick people who tend to surround me everywhere I go. It’s not like I have one or several people to blame, it’s really society in general, and working at a university doesn’t help me avoid germs. There’s only so much hand-washing, avoiding door knobs and staying away from crowded areas before I eventually come down with something. Last week my allergies went berserk on our way to Pittsburgh and I just stayed stuffed up/congested all weekend. Monday night I felt like I might be getting a cold/virus and then as the week progressed I watched as I started coughing blowing out multi-colored snot/mucous/phlegm and eventually went to an urgent care facility Saturday morning to be diagnosed with acute bronchitis.
I “love” trying to explain things to doctors who aren’t really paying attention. I realize I was at the urgent care and these aren’t my normal doctors and nurses, but when a guy walks in with obvious breathing issues, hands over a list of 15 medications and tells you “I have severe asthma” you’d think the next question wouldn’t be – “ok…do you use an inhaler for that?” My long list of medications, clearly separated into maintenance and rescue categories, has several inhalers listed. The doc didn’t really know what to do with me. She also wasn’t paying much attention until I said I’ve been to the ER/admitted seven times since June and have been on prednisone since May. Her eyes got really big and then she wanted to know if I’ve ever been intubated before, etc, etc. I eventually left with a 250mg z-pack for 5 days and was told, “you’re probably going to be very uncomfortable for a couple weeks.” I figured it wasn’t worth saying I’ve been very uncomfortable for months.
The weird part is noticing how this is affecting me differently than the other flares I’ve had these past months. I’m actually breathing much, much better than I was in August, but am still struggling. I’m just not bad in the sense that I need to be on supplemental oxygen and monitored constantly. At this point I’m still feeling the need to attempt work due to the ridiculous FMLA situation and I don’t really have any sick/vacation time to use up. Six months ago this would be a stay-home-no-brainer, but comparing how I am now to how I’ve been in the recent past…this isn’t that bad. I’ll really have to make a judgement call in the morning, but the good news is I happen to have a three month follow-up with lung doc #1 scheduled for Tuesday so we’ll see how my lungs sound and if I need upgraded to levaquin or something more heavy duty.