Tough challenges for a tough fighter
Share with readers about a time you had to overcome a daunting challenge. What words of encouragement would you share with others who find themselves facing similar difficulty?
Thanks to Botox, I’ve only had 3 Migraine attacks since March 1st.
I haven’t had a Cluster Headache attack since before Christmas.
I should be celebrating, but I’m not.
If you will recall, on the first day of this Challenge, I shared that my celebrations had been sidelined by a mysterious respiratory illness. I was first treated in the ER on Sunday, March 29th. It’s been a week since I finished the prescribed course of antibiotics. Except for the lack of fever, I am no better off. In fact, the coughing is worse when laying down, so I have been sleeping (if you can call it that) sitting upright in a recliner for the past two weeks. To put it mildly (and as offensively as my self-imposed rules allow), this sucks.
In just about an hour, my doctor’s office will open. The plan is to call and beg to be seen before the weekend, hoping to get some better relief. My alarm is set in case I doze off.
How it all got started…
About four weeks ago I ran out of allergy medicine and kept forgetting to pick some up when I was out shopping. So I started getting all the classic signs of Acute Allergic Rhinitis. I had no reason to believe it was anything other than allergies.
Then on March 25th, it all stopped.
I celebrated the return of Cetirizine’s allergy-blocking power and started making plans. I had so much I wanted (and needed) to do. Most importantly, I really wanted to make it to my aunt’s funeral on Sunday and my uncle’s funeral on Thursday. We weren’t terribly close, but they were my father’s brother and sister-in-law. Had I been healthy, there’s no way I would miss these important events.
My body had other plans.
I woke the next day with a low-grade fever and a croupy, mucous-producing cough powerful enough to wake everyone in the house. I still didn’t think much of it. My fever barely registered above normal. I assumed all the mucous was a result of not taking allergy meds for two weeks and the cough would help break it all up. I took some Guafenesin and Pseudoephedrine, drank lots of fluids, and went about my day.
Saturday night was rough. That’s when I started sleeping in the recliner. I was awake off and on all night, coughing up mucous until it felt like my lungs were coming up with it. Still I thought, “This is good. I’m coughing up this crap so I can heal faster.” That’s when the fever spiked. I hung on as long as I could before waking my husband. By then I was wheezing and having trouble breathing. It was time to get some help.
When we left home, my fever was back down to 100.5°. In the 20 minutes it took to drive to the ER, my fever spiked to 104°. I don’t recall ever having a fever that high. They adminstered some inhaled Albuterol to help me breathe easier and some Acetaminophen for the fever. While those meds went to work on the symptoms, they tested my blood, urine, nasal passages, and lungs…and found nothing. Well, almost nothing.
My white blood cell count was slightly elevated. I was told this was as sign I was fighting some kind of infection, but that it wasn’t Influenza, or an Ear Infection, or UTI and that my lungs were clear. The only guess — and it was just a guess — from the doctor was that I might have an early form of “walking pneumonia” that wasn’t showing up on the the lung x-ray just yet. He prescribed an antibiotic and strong cough suppressant and sent me on my not-so-merry way.
I was relieved to know it was nothing acutely life-threatening and frustrated that I didn’t get a better answer. After all these years dealing with headache disorders I am used to doctors who are confused, don’t know what to do for me, and have run out of options. I can live without a formal diagnosis. What I can’t tolerate is continuing to suffer when there just might be a better way to tackle this. Waiting it out is not in my nature unless I can see clear evidence of improvement.
I would really like to be healthy soon so I can enjoy all this time free from Migraine attacks and bask in the glory of the longest Cluster Headache remission I can remember. After all, there is a mischievous, blue-eyed, chubby-cheeked ornery little cherub who needs some Grandma time at the park.