Just about the time you get to thinking your immune system can fight off the squirrels in the back yard, something like this happens.
I got the crud. It’s been going around since Fall began in earnest. Half my family has been walking around the house sneezing, wheezing and barking like seals, and like everything else I’ve been exposed to for the past couple of years, I wasn’t worried about catching it. Then last Thursday I went to bed with both a tight chest and a sore throat, and with me that is ALWAYS a bad thing, because it usually means having a horrendous asthma attack right along with it.
I spent the next three days holed up in my room binge-watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and sleeping the rest of the time. I got out of breath merely by walking to the bathroom. Putting on clothing took more energy than I had. Even eating and chewing were exhausting. Today is the first in almost a week that actually been able to stay up for a good portion of the day, although I’ve barely moved from the sofa. The family was trying to get me to see a doctor, but I was avoiding going to the urgent care because I frankly was too sick to get dressed and go out, plus I knew they’d only put me on prednisone for the asthma, which has the tendency to make me manic. It was when I developed severe lower back pain on the right side with an accompanying sharp pain that stabbed me in the chest every time I tried to take a deep breath that I knew I was in trouble, so off I went on Monday morning.
Turns out I had some pneumonia and bronchitis in the mix, and this doctor who saw me was amazing. He bounced into the exam room as if on springs, and talked to me as if I were the most exciting patient he had. Of course, prednisone did come into the picture, and I was honest with him as to why I don’t like taking it. He didn’t even do that slight backing-away thing that so many people do when you tell them you’re bipolar—he never missed a beat and in fact, told me he would let ME decide how to adjust the dose in order to avoid mania. He also gave me the option to taper off on my own schedule. In other words: he listened to me!
So I went home with a sack full of breathing treatments, antibiotics, and of course my old pal, prednisone. I’ve now taken two doses of it, and so far, so good. Maybe it’s because I’m not taking as much as I have in the past (I’ve taken as much as 80 mg, which is a high dose, and this time I’m only on 30 mg for three days and then I taper down from there). Not that I would mind having a little extra energy, but I don’t get happy manic on this stuff, I get irritable and angry manic…and then when I crash, I cry my eyes out for absolutely no reason. None of that is enjoyable or fun. I hope I’ll be able to skip the festivities this time!
Meanwhile, my ankles are wrapped in warm puppies as I hang out in front of the pellet stove, wondering when I’ll be able to sleep lying down again and hoping I’m not up half the night hacking up a lung (again). It could be better, but with the combination of antibiotics and the prednisone, I’m already feeling like I just might live to fight another day.
Now, if only I could just stop coughing so hard that I have to wear incontinence pads…