No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whooping Hanta Tin Man Virus

It's been a nutball month for health around here. Since it's the last day of November, and I got sick at exactly 12-midnight o'clock on Nov 1, I'll write up a summary of it here and then move on into healthy-ier December. Thank the lord.

Turned out I got pneumonia, as some of you may recall. Then it turned out I stayed quite tired, and my lungs remained crackly when I breathed laying down, and I kept a cough long after I finished that round of anti-biotics. But when I went to the on campus clinic here they said my lungs sounded fine, I didn't have a fever, and I should just wait to recover. It can take a long time to heal up after pneumonia. So, off I went. Then another two more weeks went by and my lungs were more crackly. I was started to suffer deliriousness off and on; my body was having flu like aches; and my lungs were making lots more noise. But only when I was breathing laying down. See, the thing is, even when I was really really sick (how sick DO dogs get, by the way, since people often say "sick as a dog"?) and got diagnosed with pneumonia my lungs never did make noise through a stethoscope when I was sitting up. Tricky dang lungs. So, anyway, I was staying sick even though I'd been told I was fine, and it was starting to not only really bother me since I couldn't actually leave the house and do anything, it was starting to worry me too.

A few days ago I saw the most adorable little mouse in our house, and right after screaming I thought, "oh! isn't it cute." and then I screamed again. And then I decided I MUST have hantavirus. Hantavirus as EVERYONE knows is passed from mouse to human via mouse poop. It is NOT passed from human to human, thankfully. Those humans that spend a lot of time together will tend to both have it since they likely were both exposed to the same mouse poop. But, even so, we bipeds don't get it from each other. Further, amazingly those cute little scream inducing mice don't get sick from the virus at all. They just carry it around, healthy as an ox, and then poop the virus out.

Now I see mice out of the corner of my imaginary vision everywhere, and for a whole day was certain I was laying here continually breathing in hantavirus. I had ALL the symptoms too, you know.

Then I found out my friend in Seattle had pertussis. YOU KNOW. Whooping cough (that's a whooping crane just there, you know)--a disease called that because it is characterized by vigorous coughing followed by a WHOOPing noise echoed from the chest of the cougher as their lungs struggle to take in air. My friend in Seattle had it. SURELY she could have given it to me over the phone.

Then, I decided I'd go for a short walk (5 minutes) just to get out of the house for a bit. Only, half way into my 5 minute walk I suddenly developed this weird pressure, and then also pain right in the center of my chest. And then I was having trouble breathing. And then I couldn't talk and stand in one place at one time cause it demanded too much air of me. So I turned around and promptly went back home. Except I was still having chest pain after sitting down. And I was now coughing excessively too. And I couldn't get enough air. And now CLEARLY I WAS HAVING A HEART ATTACK.

So, I did what any sensible person with a hanta-whoop-pertussis-virus-cough induced heart attack would do. I drove myself to the emergency room.

After 5-hours of testing and observation in which it was first ruled out that I had any remants of pneumonia left, and then ruled in that I COULD have a pulmonary embolism, and also ruled IN that I could have something wrong with my liver or kidneys, and then ruled out again that anything was wrong with my liver or kidneys, and then briefly ruled in that my heart really could be broken, and then ruled out again that it could be... they FINALLY decided to settle things once and for all and give me a ct-scan. Cause, see, the thing was, with the symptoms I was having if I didn't have pneumonia something could be really wrong.

So, I got iodine squeezed into me while I was pushed into a little tube of photographic magic in which they took 600-pictures of the inside of my chest.

It turned out there was no clot (no embolism) in my lungs. THANK GOD. There was pneumonia.

See, it was a good thing I finally went to the emergency room to get checked out cause even there my lungs, while sitting up, sounded just totally fine. Even after an entire month of trying to fight off a bacterial infection STILL my lungs were vain enough to sound pretty for the stethoscope. Amazing. Clear as a bird (how clear are birds?). And so a clinic would have just thought I had some standard upper respiratory infection. And then MAYBE the clinic would have been big enough to have an x-ray machine. But my pneumonia was determined enough to hide itself there too. Be pretty for the picture. (I really actually kind of admire that lung determindness to strive for perfection, to be honest.) So, it took the cross-sectional radiation-laden invasiveness of the ct-scan to show my bacterial infection in the middle lobe of my right lung.

I've spent the whole month of November in bed. I don't think I even have legs anymore, actually. How could I if I haven't needed them to move in anyway at all? But, now I'm on two different "synergistic" types of anti-biotic, and I really just think I'm gonna head straight into healing right up this time.

In the meantime, my friend that has whooping cough and I are doing the only reasonable thing people with such illness can do. We're making commemorative t-shirts.

1 comment:

  1. Dang girl!

    So glad this craziness is on its way out and you can thing is for sure, you're actually dang healthy (because I know of no one else in the world who could harbor nasty whooped-up mouse-induced bacterial pneumonia and, even though be in bed, actually still function in any capacity), and that is a total plus! In fact, we may need to take your blood in order to make an antidote...

    I need to post a new blog to your page to check out...we can laugh at it together.