Sunday, November 20, 2005

Relapse - More Tales Of Illness

I thought things were getting better. During the morning and mid-afternoon, I felt like I was getting over my illness. While I still cancelled my weekend plans, at least I wasn't coughing as much. Thoughts of seeing (gasp) a doctor, entertained late Friday in a conference call with wife and mom, were put to rest as I was confident that the worst was over. The day declined slightly but steadily from there.

My first disappointment was discovering that despite my best efforts, the sty in my right eye had jumped across my nose to the left one. Though I was careful about which hand wiped which eye, I think the volume of fluids flowing from the infection made it inevitable.

My lagging appetite showed little sign of improvement. Around 1 PM I remembered that I hadn't eaten all day, so I forced down about half a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Rosco was happy to eat the rest. Later my wife suggested Pillsbury cinnamon rolls; obviously she was craving them. I only managed to eat two, and I've been known to eat an entire roll of eight in one sitting. For dinner I tried to eat some chicken nuggets, a comfort food for me. Again, normally I can eat a whole package of more than twenty. Tonight I barely managed eight (I would have stopped at six but I had heated up two more).

Since my wife had taken off work (note cancelled plans above), we watched the DVDs I received this past week: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, which has been greatly anticipated in progressive circles, and Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, which only cost $5 with a pre-order of the Wal-Mart movie. I intend to review the Wal-Mart movie soon.

After viewing every DVD feature, we watched the 10:00 news and a decent episode of Saturday Night Live. Their all-commercial episode must have been very popular because they did a lot of commercials this week, including a couple of replays. Of course, it is not a good idea to watch comedy when one is fighting a cough -- laughing set me off every time.

I wasn't as worried about going to sleep tonight as I have been on previous nights. I thought last night's results were reasonable, so I set out to mimic my routine exactly. Same medicine, same body position, etc.

Despite my best efforts, everything went horribly wrong. I couldn't suppress my cough long enough to fall asleep, and I had bizarre visions flowing through my head. Like commercials for Barbie dolls of Paris Hilton (whom I loathe, in case there was any doubt) and a broad array of action figures depicting characters from movies I've never heard of. Do they put psychedelics in Robitussin? I lay there coughing intermittently for a restless couple of hours, wondering what I had done to draw God's ire, or maybe which particular sin had been the deciding factor for Him. Wacky dreams plus religion -- it would be a long night.

Around 3 AM I awoke with the most intense coughing ever. I tumbled onto the floor to get myself upright in hopes of clearing myself up, but the paroxysm worsened to the point where I feared I might lose all ability to breath. As I knelt on the floor leaning over the couch, I told myself that if it came to that, I had to shove the couch hard into the wall to wake up my wife in the bedroom on the other side to save me.

When my coughing fit eased, I staggered toward the bedroom. My wife was still awake, and she insisted on making me some tea. I'm not much of a tea drinker, but she was sure that would clear out the devils in my throat. When she asked what I thought of her first concoction, I said, "Squirrel piss." She had mixed cinnamon tea, honey & lemon tea, honey, and a splash of Seagrams 7. While I have never truly sampled squirrel piss, it must be similar. Then she made just cinnamon tea, which was okay, and blackberry tea, which was weird but drinkable. Altogether, the tea guaranteed I wouldn't sleep too long -- my bladder wouldn't let me.

I took a different Robitussin, "honey cough," which made me think they could get together with the famous Russian dancer and market "Baryshni Cough." It was a huge dosage of three teaspoons, and there should be a warning for diabetics on the package -- it was super-sweet. It promised to suppress coughs for 6-8 hours, but its true range was more like 30 minutes, not quite long enough for me to fall asleep again. At least these honey coughs were not like the throat-ripping or trachea-blocking coughs I had earlier. After coughing for another half-hour, I gave up all hope of sleeping and went upstairs to read e-mail. I'm still here, and the best I can hope is that I won't be coughing when my body decides it's too tired to stay awake anymore.

This wound up being my worst night yet. If Friday night had been like this, I surely would have visited a doctor on Saturday, assuming we could find one in our HMO that was open. A Sunday doctor visit is out of the question, though, so I'll just have to see if I get better by Monday.

Obligatory gross-out story: Just before going back to bed again at 5:30, I blew out the largest booger I have ever seen in my life. An appropriate shade of green, it measured roughly 1.0"x0.5"x.25". I was truly impressed, even excited (surely I wouldn't have to blow my nose again for a long time). Although Rosco begged, my wife wouldn't let me feed it to him.


Chris said...

Wow. You have truly gone off the deep end. Tea should help, but if you're coughing up that much stuff, this sounds more like walking pneumonia than just a normal bad cold ...

David Johnsen said...

I should have noted that the volume I was coughing up decreased substantially since Friday, an encouraging sign.