While you were sleeping...

The world took some interesting twists and turns...

New Year's Eve was just how it should have been - from our traditional early few cocktails with friends at Caffe Boa, followed by heading next door for some decadent sushi at Sakana, and this time, complemented by a stop at the Bell's party to spread a little New Year cheer before heading home just in time to see the ball drop in NYC. Just as it should have been...

It was a good year, 2008. It was a full year, it was a hard year in many ways as we dealt with far too many medical things, but interspersed with the hard bits were always things that made them seem not so bad... the Grand Canyon and spring training baseball and San Diego and the golf tournament and New York and seeing friends and baseball and weekends camping on the Mogollon Rim and Cincinnati/Kentucky and lots of hikes and the 3-Day, of course, finished off by the most incredible winter wonderland Christmas we could have hoped for.

It was good, despite it all. It really, really was.

This is old news, isn't it. Back to 2009...

We hiked on Thursday and Saturday, Friday I wasn't feeling fantastic, and Sunday I started coughing. Monday I went to work but by the time I woke up on Tuesday, I had a fever of 103-ish. Not so good. I immediately call and make an appointment with my primary care physician (who I don't like anyhow and am firing next time I have to go back there) who looks at me with her unexpressive eyes and tells me I have bronchitis. (Of course, when they take my vitals, my temperature is normal, my blood pressure is fine, and my pulse is normal - stark contrast to the fact that I thought my heart was going to blow out of my chest in the waiting room and the fever at home.) So, we leave, I'm feeling dizzy, I sit down on some chair in the hall and she tells me that I probably didn't drink enough water. Gah. Homeward bound. Two days, and nothing improves. Wednesday night I wake up with 104 and Greg says enough is enough. In to Cavalcant's the next morning...

Nutshell version? I didn't go home for 8 days...
They checked me into the hospital the afternoon of 1/8 and kept me until 1/16. Pneumonia. Not just pneumonia (would I do anything the simple way?) but a SUBSTANTIAL pneumonia.

Strangely enough, in my 37 years and various and sundry health challenges, I've NEVER spent a night in the hospital except for the mastectomy when they surgery was so late they put me in a room and let me go in the morning. This? This was a whole different ballgame...

I learned quite a few interesting things about the hospital during my stay.
  • When you pee in the "hat" in the bathroom and it looks like you haven't hydrated in a month and a half, it's an illusion.
  • Food service, at least for those of the vegetarian persuasion, is sorely lacking. Or perhaps it's just that I can't get myself to eat grilled cheese, mac and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly each night for dinner. Fruit only goes so far. Then the nutrition people come up and start telling you you're not getting enough protein. No shit. (Side story - I finally agreed to a scoop of tuna salad, which they decided to bring me as a bedtime snack. WHO brings a scoop of tuna at 8:30pm??)
  • The phlebotomists there ROCK. Seriously ROCK. These chicks didn't miss my temperamental, small, rolling, over-used veins ONCE. And believe me, I probably got stuck no less than 35 times over the course of the week.
  • A thoracentesis doesn't hurt quite as much as I thought it would. However, I wouldn't have guessed that I had a wine bottle's volume full of fluid that needed to be extracted.
  • I wonder how many bags of IV antibiotics I went through? Not to mention the hydration, the potassium, the 2 units of blood...

Finally, finally, at long last they let me come home. Finally.

It was hard. Really, really hard. Ironic, isn't it? I've been through so much with the cancer but this was really difficult. It was hard to be away from Greg, hard to feel so incapacitated and know that there was nothing I could do about it except allow them to keep me as long as they needed and treat me so that I got better. I did learn quite a bit during those eight days though...

I learned patience, or at least, I made an effort to be patient. I'm still learning.

I learned that I needed to take care of myself this time and not worry about everyone else all the time and that work would be there when I was ready.

I can't quite seem to find the words to explain how amazing Greg has been through all this. The hospital stay was the longest we've been apart, and the being apart was hard. The little things - just waking up in the morning, the rolling over in the middle of the night. But he was there every morning after I woke up, and every night until before I went to bed. He juggled trips to the hospital, the dogs, work, fielding calls from friends and relatives, the house...

I always thought I knew how much one person could love another, but I'm continually reminded how fortunate we are that we managed to find one another in this world. There's no way I would have made it through any of this without him.

So, here I am at home. I'm off the antibiotics, and last Friday the doc told me it would be about a week before I saw marked improvement. I'm hoping this is the week. I do feel better, and my fevers have been much lower - only one a day, typically. Progress. Slow progress.

(Kudos to anyone who actually made it through to the end of this novella... yes, I realize it's not fiction but I wish parts of it were.)

4 comments:

    Sorry to hear you were so sick, but glad that you're on the mend.

    And, as always, you awe me with your self-possession, self-awareness, serenity, and gratitude.

    I love you and have empathy for what you are going through with pneumonia, but you still have to get Mom and Dad from the ariport! :)

    as usual, such grace and self awareness and beautiful writing.
    Sorry that you had to go thru all of that and so very glad you are on the mend!

    Kiss,Kiss

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