It’s official. I have pneumonia. I have not felt well for some time, in particular the last 2 weeks since I have had a hacking but non productive cough, worthy of a very large tusked walrus sitting on an ice flow in the Arctic, a blinding headache that splits my head in two horizontally and is excruciating every time the walrus in me barks and each day for the last ten days, in the late afternoon I start with skin prickles that develop into full blown cold shivers and a few hours after that I am enveloped in a copious film of hot, slimy sweat. And talk about being dog tired.
Each day I have awoken, I’ve thought today is the day I am going to feel better but it doesn’t happen. My breathing is scary, it feels like I am in the Andes and there is not enough oxygen in the atmosphere. When I cough, I have to stay still to catch my breath. Talking is painful as I don’t have enough breath. I have no energy, no strength, no stamina, no concentration and sway like an A board in the wind because I am so dizzy. I can’t think. My brain seems to have just about left home. Or maybe it is in that jar by the door I keep loosing.
So I went to the doctor this morning who gave me quite a scare. The lady doctor I saw has a reputation for being a very no nonsense down to earth sort of person. She was so nice to me and understood completely how I was feeling, described my symptoms down to a T, I was surprised although I did not want her to think I was being lazy or a malingerer. She listened to my chest from different angles, put her stethoscope away, then said, ‘how would you feel if I hospitalised you today?’ I looked up aghast as by this time, I had sat down with my head in my hands, trying to wheeze in a lady like way. She said, ‘you do not seem to understand how ill you are. You are very seriously ill: your lungs are a mess. It’s only because you are so strong you’ve managed like this for so long. You have pneumonia and one or two other infections going on in there, by the sounds of things. You can go to hospital today or you can stay at home for two weeks.’ ‘I can’t, the pigs,’ I heard myself say but was actually thinking, I need to be at work, there is so much to do.
So I called by work and spoke to Stu, who was making some cheese for some customers who were going to put their finishing touches to it, explained, apologised and drove home very, very carefully. Tuesday is Lydia’s day off.
Having being told that I must eat so that my tummy has a lining for the antibiotics and the steroids I now have presented itself as my first challenge. I’m not hungry and I have fairly irregular eating habits; for the last month or so, I’ve eaten very little and enjoyed none of it. No sign of losing weight, though! Eventually I found a can of tomato and butter bean soup. That’ll do I thought. I’ve eaten half but taken the tablets, so job done for today.
Afterwards, I took to my bed and the cold shakes happened, followed by the sweats which were horrible as my knees were upright, with my laptop balanced on them and stuck to the quilt cover and I’m thinking, there’s a million and one things I should be doing here. First I decided to put the washer on to wash all the sweaty T shirts as I am running low. I did my usual leap out of bed thing. Wrong. My legs gave way and I sank to the floor, hurting myself by not being able to move quickly enough. It took two attempts to lever myself against the side of the bed to get up, then I panted and felt even more dizzy. I picked up the washing basket and started to move down the stairs with it. And nearly fell down them. I don’t know why, maybe some sort of optical illusion where you think you know where you are putting your feet, but obviously aren’t. Then the walrus came out so I had to sit down on the stairs barking and wheezing, then gasping, in a lady like way, of course. This had taken 15 minutes so far and I’d only just started. Well, I won’t go on, it’s all a bit pathetic, yes, but it is also serious and to be taken seriously.
I’ve never had pneumonia before and I didn’t know it was like this. The smallest things like walking up the stairs becomes a big thing when your energy and strength are zapped because you don’t have enough oxygen in your body. Feeding the pigs is the biggest thing I need to do and I’ve got it sorted though it takes me time and lifting the bucket is tough, they may be getting smaller rations by the end of the week. So, I’ve figured that as long as I can feed the pigs, myself, make cups of coffee, it’s got to be a question of time, patience, staying in bed, keeping warm, actually getting some rest and being sensible and not doing anything outside these things.