Writing from the Sickbed

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On Wednesday of last week my wife woke up sick with the flu. We don’t know if it was the dreaded H1N1 or just seasonal flu, but she had a fever of 102 and a lethargy that, coupled with the whole-body ache that accompanies the flu, kept her bedridden for a good 70% of her time with the illness. On Sunday she was feeling better and she decided to venture out of the house with me; just a short trip to the dog park with Ellie (our labradoodle).

That Saturday, I woke up with some aches and a bit of a cough. But I didn’t think too much of it. “It isn’t the flu,” I told myself. I didn’t have a fever, and apart from the muscle aches, there weren’t any other flu-like symptoms (and believe me, I looked for them). I was also bolstered in my “it’s not the flu” by the steadiness with my blood-glucose numbers — they were staying in my normal range, and for me that’s a good indication that things aren’t too bad (although obviously it’s not the only indicator I use).

I chalked up the way I was feeling to allergies.

It’s fall here, and with the leaves blowing everywhere — and with them piling up wet and moldy in the drive and gutters and yards — I figured maybe my body was drained from the seasonal allergies. Leaf mold is one of my major allergenic enemies.

Guess what I ended up doing for four hours on Saturday? I swept up the five-inch carpet of wet leaves from the driveway. Then I raked leaves that had fallen in the front flowerbeds into piles and put them into collection bags for composting. Then I mowed/mulched the leaves in the backyard.

Real intelligent on my part, right?

Why am I talking about this? Not sure. I’m writing this blog entry almost a week later, at six in the morning, sick with bronchitis. I don’t know if there is much sense to be made of my story. But I want to get a blog entry written this week. Yet because I’m sick, because I’ve been up for the past three hours, I’m just going with it…

Sunday I didn’t feel great, but again, no flu symptoms. I woke up each morning congested, but after the morning dog walk, I was fine to get through the workday. On Wednesday night, however, I woke about two in the morning with tightness in my chest, a deep chest cough that wouldn’t let me get back to sleep (with its requisite mucus), and a sore throat that felt as if it began high in the way back of my mouth and extended to both ears. I knew this feeling, and I thought “bronchitis”; I also thought, “respiratory infection.”

I realized that with Type 1 diabetes, the smart thing for me to do would be to make an appointment with the doctor. Yes, whatever it is I have may have gone away on its own, but why take a chance?

So yesterday I went in and described my symptoms, and the nurse practitioner prescribed three things. I got on a course of Z-Pak (brand name azithromycin), was given some Flovent (an inhaled steroid), and got a bottle of cherry Robitussin with codeine for the cough.


And you know, for all I thought I knew about bronchitis, I realize I knew very little. It could be caused by a virus, but it could also be bacterial. Should I take antibiotics or not, then? There’s proliferation of doctor-prescribed antibiotics-taking these days, and the nurse practitioner acknowledged this, but she said that because of my chronic illness, it was a good idea to be on the safe side.

She recommended staying home from work and resting up through the weekend. That’s what I’m doing. And with the medicines in my system, and with a late-night (or early-morning) temporary sickbed insomnia, I thought I’d try to write my blog entry this week. (So cut me some slack if this is less than captivating!)

Sure, I could have called it in this week and used my illness as an excuse — believe me, I wanted to. But why not share a somewhat-incoherent 700-word blog entry with those of you with the staying power to make it this far?

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