Feeling Better

My blog posting tapered off this week because after about Monday, it seemed like the antibiotics really kicked in and I started feeling better. I still haven’t ridden my bike (I missed at least two days it was dry and above freezing — darn it!), but I’m hoping to try it on Saturday and see how much I’ve lost.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this recovery has coincided with my last full week at work, in which I’ve been trying hard to wrap things up as much as possible. I also spent a good amount of time documenting specific job duties and how to do them, hopefully to help the next person in my position.

And definitely fortunately, I am feeling better in time for a job interview tomorrow and then Christmas after that. Good thing I didn’t get sick a week later! After this week things are going to change substantially, one way or another… and with being so sick and then Christmas plus working so much I’ve not even had time to worry about it. Probably for the best, really.

I am looking forward to feeling back to 100% normal, although my doctor said it can be one to two months of recovery from pneumonia. That sounds like such a long time. In any case, I’m looking forward to being active again — a good sign that I am indeed recovering. I can tell that it’s going to be a long, hard recovery to get back to where I was. Yippie.

Grateful for My Immune System

Mountain Sketch 2
I often come back to mountains and sunrises — around here, mountains almost always frame the rising sun. New days, new hopes, new beginnings; grace, hope, renewal; all these come together when I see mountains lit afresh by the sun. Wintertime can bring some of the most staggeringly beautiful days, with snow in the mountains and skies washed clean.

Okay, so my skills as a digital artist don’t exactly reflect the glory I’m describing. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on making it my day job… But it does mean I’m able to stay vertical and semi-thinking long enough to do something. Which is progress! Also probably signs of improvement are my noticing and starting to feel alarmed about the fact that suddenly we’re barely a week from Christmas, and I have a ton left to do. I guess I had planned on doing it the last couple weeks, when instead I just subsisted.

I’m also noticing and caring about the state of my house, which reflects the fact that we’ve shifted into mere survival mode the last couple weeks.

And, finally, I feel sad that I can’t go for a bike ride today. Still no expectation that I would, or should, because I can’t go outside and breathe without severe, relentless coughing, and Benji is still stronger and faster than me. Plus I can’t imagine that long exposure to 30-degree temperatures and vigorous physical demands will help with recovering.

Speaking of recovery, I cannot believe how Kryptonite-y phenumonia is. It really does suck all my strength. I’ve lost almost 10 lbs in the last 10 days, and let me tell you, it isn’t mostly fat (darn it! I worked hard!…and I guess I will work hard some more). I’m starting to understand that there won’t be some day when I bounce back and feel normal, and everything will go back to how it was. No; I’m going to actually spend time recovering.

I haven’t had a disease that required actual recovery in a long time. Again, I feel so grateful that my regular life doesn’t involve that kind of deep, debilitating illness that trashes all my plans, strains my relationships, and throws “normal” out the window. These last couple weeks (and the next few weeks of recovery, too, I imagine) have helped me remember and appreciate the most basic blessing of all: health. The expectation of waking up in the morning able to function, participate in life, and contribute to my family and coworkers is a blessing I take for granted every day. But for now, at least for a while, I’ll remember to stay grateful for even that simple, fundamental thing.

I’ll leave you with a sunrise photo I took, which may do a little better than my doodle at expressing why I love sunrise over the Cascade mountains.
Sunrise and Mt. Baker from San Juan Island

Pneumonia Gets Old

A couple Mondays ago, I started getting a cold. It was a weird one — all coughing and headache, not really any runny nose. The coughing got worse over the next few days, and finally on Friday I started developing typical cold symptoms: Stuffy nose, burning eyes, low fever, exhaustion.

All weekend, I rested. Ian took care of everything while I spent Saturday and Sunday in bed. Unlike with most colds, I didn’t even think of going for a bike ride. I was too tired to get out of bed, let alone do anything physical (especially in the 36-degree rain falling that day). In fact, I was too tired for anything at all. Watching Netflix on my Surface was exactly the level of activity I could sustain. That was with taking Dayquil every 6 hours, which normally makes me a bit hyper.

By Tuesday night, I had not only not gotten any better; I had started spiking a fever of over 100 in the evenings, as well as feeling even more exhausted, which I honestly didn’t think possible. Ian, Mom, and Deborah did a lot of the hard work with Benji, because I literally didn’t have it in me to do more than just say, “OK… whatever…” Tuesday night I finally gave in and called my doctor. She said she wanted to see me, so I scheduled an appointment for Wednesday afternoon.

I expected her to just tell me I had a bad cold and go home and rest, even though it had been 10 full days and I was worse than ever. But instead she listened to my lungs and said that in addition to having some good wheezing, it sounded like I had some pneumonia in one of my lungs.

Well, NO WONDER I felt so crappy. If I had any energy, I would absolutely have felt something about it.

She prescribed a high-dose 5-day course of antibiotics, plus an inhaler to help with the coughing. Fortunately, coughing hasn’t kept me awake at night (at least, nothing Nyquil couldn’t suppress). I took the first dose, a doubled-up one, on Wednesday evening.

And felt yet more exhausted Thursday morning. Alas, evidently chest infections don’t respond to antibiotics as quickly as UTIs or mastitis. Fortunately for me, Benji went to school and then my in-laws took him overnight! Unfortunately, we had planned that so that Ian and I had intended to go see Rogue One with a theater full of friends, and I still felt too sick and tired to go. Ian took our friend Travis instead. Lucky guy. I took my next dose of antibiotics and watched some more Netflix.

I am so grateful to live in an era where antibiotics still work; and grateful that my immune system can fight this disease off. Getting sick really helps me remember to be thankful for my overall good health, something it’s easy to take for granted when you have it.

About My Job

Meanwhile I have also put in 21 hours of work for the week, slightly higher than average, even while sick. I’ve had a lot to do, and it helps to be able to do it at home in my pajamas. I started writing down directions for the tasks I do, but it’s gotten to be such a long list, I don’t think I’ll finish before the end of the year.

That may be changing, however. I’m doing a new job interview next week, and I’m already excited/anxious about it. If this job happens, we’re looking at enormous changes to our life from how it has been the last four years. Really, after December 31 everything will change one way or another, since I’m leaving my current job for something new then anyway.

Overall, I’m excited for this new phase in my life, if also concerned about how it might all work out. But I’m going to take a leap of faith and trust that, whatever happens, God is in charge.

Meanwhile, I will probably spend most of the day in bed with Netflix and my Kindle again, letting my body get better. I’m ready to move on!