Or, how I learned never to go back to the InstaCare!
October saw a great many things for me- most notably a new job- I ended up with bronchitis towards the end of the month. Tragedy. I missed all of the haunted houses during my favorite time of year. I didn't really think anything of it, I work with kids and germs are in the job description, right?
The cough never really went away, though. I still struggled to breath, got winded very easily and when I woke up in the mornings fresh faced and ready to greet the day after hitting the snooze button at least twice, I had this deep, grating, nasty cough. It was complete with all the gooey bits I'll only mention there. I sounded like a smoker without ever having the added benefits of coolness that cigarettes are supposed to imbue you with.
Oh well, I have asthma, maybe my long term inhaler wasn't working for me anymore. I made an appointment with a pulmonologist, but couldn't get in until December.I didn't worry, it wasn't like I was dying or anything.
November saw me enjoying my work and contemplating going back to school to get my Master's in Education. I was looking at houses to rent. Every morning I was a little stiffer, it was a little harder to get out of bed. My feet, knees and back ached. This isn't a big deal, though, I kept telling myself. I'm on my feet, hunched over, sometimes even crawling across the floor, all day long. Of course I'm tired, I work with very young kids.
December is when everything really hit the fan.
I was already stressed, working for a public school system meant that I was not going to get paid for two weeks out of the month. The holidays were coming up, life was getting hectic.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. That silly little cough had grown. After passing out at a meeting the first week in December, a passing out that no one noticed because we were sitting in chairs and watching a movie. I went home and spent the next few weeks in a fog. Not even the friendly kind of fog where everything is comfortable, cozy and you get to spend it inside wrapped up in warm blanket . No, it was the scary movie set in England fog where all the ghosts and monsters lurk and you don't have a working flashlight.
The meeting was on Friday, by Saturday my fever was high enough that my brains were probably wishing I came equipped with an AC. I decided it would be a good idea to see a doctor, little did I know I would have been better off waiting it out until Monday.
I go to the InstaCare, aside from the ER they are the only place open. A flu test is done, unpleasant. Who decided that the best way to check for the flu is by ramming a stick up someone's nose? Are they trying to mummify me? Good thing I have had this particular experience before so I know not to make any sudden movements lest I should be forced into forgetting math. A subject I'm not particularly fond of anyways.
The decision is made that my lungs sound pretty bad, I should get a chest x-ray. We stroll back to the x-ray room, well, the nurse strolled I wandered aimlessly back and forth from one side of the hallway to the next like an extra in a Romero film until I eventually stumbled my way to the x-ray machine.
The room is dark, a little forbidding. I am positioned against the wall/machine arm. The way they make you stand makes it seem like they are about to give you a public flogging or something.
"Alright, I'm going to need you to take a deep breath and hold it."
I tried, I really did. When I came too, luckily there was a chair I was able to flop into rather than falling on the floor, things were kind of swimming. I had to sit for a few minutes before I was able to try again. The nurse, in tones that were entirely too cheery for my taste said, "Well, at least we managed to get that one!"
I still had one more x-ray to go. They needed a side view. Once again I was told to hold my breath, once again I blacked out. It only took me the first time to notice the pattern, but after this second time around it seemed the medical staff was finally catching on. "Hmm, it's like you're not getting enough air or something."
Hooray! You figured it out, can I go back to the room now?
I stumble back down the hallway and wait and wait and wait. I just want to go home to bed, but apparently I died in the x-ray room and this is purgatory. Finally the doctor comes in and it's not as cool as you'd think that he doesn't look any older than I do. I just turned 24, are they handing out medical degrees out of high school now? Where was I when this happened?
"It looks like you have the flu, your lungs look fine." He left.
That was it. To say the least, I am skeptical of the flu diagnosis, specifically since he gave me an antibiotic. Oh well, he is a doctor. I think. I'm pretty sure. I hope.