Where the Week Went

Succumbing to SicknessEmpty hospital bed in upright position with rumpled sheets

  • What: Disappearing days
  • When: Parents get ill
  • Why: Productivity disappears
  • Where: The hospital

Well, I’d say I don’t know where the week went, but it turns out, I do. Not working on blog posts, obviously. Nope, instead I got unexpectedly ill, not that I ever get sick on purpose or any time it’s convenient. And because I’m the mom, things came to a crashing, screeching halt. If you’re like me and don’t take enough breaks (guilty!) and do everything yourself (guilty!) because otherwise no one gets fed and hangry people do not make for a happy healthy household, then learn from my hard lesson.

I was fine on Sunday afternoon, even after my kid’s birthday extravaganza fun with variable weather conditions at best and entertaining 40 folks, 20 of whom were under the age of 10.

Then, I wasn’t fine. I had such a bad headache I not only couldn’t stand, I couldn’t move. I managed to make it to the medicine cabinet for over the counter help, which….helped. My headache didn’t go away, but people needed dinner and school stuff had to get reviewed and well, every parent knows the chaos of a Sunday evening during the school year.

I ate dinner, waited to take more meds until bedtime, and passed out…for maybe 3 hours. Then nothing would help the headache. I couldn’t turn my head without blinding spasms of head pain. Then I couldn’t swallow without blinding spasms of head pain. But because I’m me, I didn’t want to bother my husband or drag my kids out of bed and there was NO way I was driving myself anywhere and have you SEEN how much ambulance rides costs? I did not get out of bed, I did not pass go, I did not go. Not in the night, not in the morning, not even when I heard my youngest son’s cries, which always act like a siren call for help.

My husband made me the first available appointment with the doctor at noon because I couldn’t handle a telephone much less talking. I took more over the counter pain relief which kicked in after two hours and didn’t provide much in the relief category, but got me to the office courtesy of my shuttle driver also known as my husband. There, they couldn’t figure out the cause of the intense head pain (not a migraine, not a sinus infection, what else is there?) but gave me a shot of serious pain relief and sent me off with a prescription for pain meds and nausea relief. (The pain was so intense it made me feel like vomiting.)

If you’ve read my other recent prescription trials and errors, you know this probably isn’t going to end well. Sure enough, the first drugstore didn’t have that pain relief and said it wasn’t manufactured anymore. Huh? So we tried a second pharmacy with the same result, though I had to come home first because even sitting in the car proved excruciatingly agonizing.

We (ha ha my husband – there is no we, there is no I, there is only a fetal ball of pain moaningI spent the remainder of the day trying to reach the doctor to get a new prescription that could actually be filled. The doctor had warned me to take the first dose within four hours of receiving the shot.

That did not happen. By the time the doctor called back around 6 p.m. (my appointment was at noon, remember), I had spiked a fever around 100.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Not bad, but turns out it’s enough for serious concern. We went straight to the ER, in that way where the kids needed dinner first.

At the ER, we told them of the suspected meningitis which earned me an immediate mask (I wouldn’t get to take that off until the next morning around 11 a.m.) and a “fast” track through the cumbersome ER channels. We checked in at 6:50, got called back around 7:30, saw the nurse at 8:00, and the doctor came by around 9:30 to kick off the real fun after the kids went home.

Woman in hospital bed with mask covering lower face

It took two doses of morphine and another shot of even more pain relief to put a dent in my skull of pain. At some point, I could no longer move my eyes without setting off the throbbing fireworks of sparkling pain around my temples and down the sides of my face, much less the ever present band of murderous intent that was now my constant companion.

I took more tests, and they ran more labs, and finally by 5:30 a.m. they got very concerned with the lack of results in either pain relief or cause and started giving me everything they had.

Guess what? I perked up around 11, after five physicians and many more nurses, all of whom went above and beyond to help me. I waited for a bed to open in the hospital starting at 5:30 when we both knew they weren’t about to send me home, but it had to be isolation which takes time to prepare. Then I got to the end of line (yay for daylight hours and the upper echelons of healthcare professionals) and ran into the infectious disease specialist and some test results. I got to take the mask off, which was nice because I was no longer so cold (my fever had risen to over 102 by the time we got to the ER) and it fogged up my glasses and they cleared which is not the best condition for clear heads under normal circumstances. And we are so far from normal we were in Wonderland somewhere, but I had no trouble saying adieu to that mask.

So that perked me up, as did my first meal in well over 24 hours and actual pain relief and my temperature hovering closer to 100 and other vitals starting to feel reasonable as well. At this point I had been upgraded to the only ER patient room with an actual attached bathroom (out of 22), and the morning nurse felt sorry for me being stuck in the emergency bed for almost 19 hours so she upgraded me to a real bed. That, the fluids, food, and proper meds had me pretty much beaming.

And then this happened.

So no blog posts for you, my friends, only this cautionary tale of woe.

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