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February 01, 2005

And yes, I did inhale

“I’m going to treat this like you do have pnuemonia,” said my sawbones. “We did two chest xrays, one just about ten days ago and then this one today. They both look good. But I’m still taking no chances, so you’re going on antibiotics. All right?”

At this point, you bet it was. I’d been lying there on an emergency room cot with a mist-applicator stuck in my mouth, enduring three long sessions of equal parts Albuterol and Atrovente. The aforementioned xray. Three different blood draws (and untypically for VA, very painful this time around). They'd wheeled me in there on a wheelchair and today I’d actually needed it, just like I’d needed an electric cart-ride the length of the building, just to get to the ER.

It was 0830 when I got to the ER, and by then I was already exhausted. Between 2200 the night before and 0600 Monday, I’d had maybe three and a half to four hours of sleep, none of it good, waking myself up with that hacking chest-gouging cough. I’m not entirely convinced I didn’t nod out here and there between events—and there were a few of them.

A lot of running-by-numbers in all this. Do the routine checklist stuff because this was the season for whatever-they-called-this, and evidently the A&A mist treatment had been done so often that they now offered it as a standard feature on the control panel for the hoses and dials, up behind the cot.

Plenty of remarks about getting home and getting somer sleep after this was over. Plenty more remarks directed not at me but to another patient, deeper in the same ER. A nursing home patient who'd been brought there but now wasn’t responding to verbal cues. A different tone of voice being used, trying to penetrate a different kind of fog.

Humbling experience in there. I may have been fighting for my next deep breath — and I was — but at least I was still conscious. That right there bumped me much further down in the priority list.

Posted by Weaselteeth at February 1, 2005 12:10 AM


Goodness WT, that doesn't sound good, whatever it is . The wife just got over a bout of walking pneumonia and from what you describe, it sure sounds like pneumonia. You're doing the right thing and getting the medical attention you need. Rest as much as you can and get well soon.

Posted by: Jack at February 1, 2005 11:35 PM

Jack, if the medicine-bottle labels are anything to go on, they're calling this "bronchitis." I'm now up to two antibiotics and two inhalers, and presently I'm lucky to have the energy to walk 20 feet without major huffing and puffing.

But I'm conscious. That beats all the alternatives.

Posted by: WT at February 2, 2005 06:48 AM

Damn WT, Jack told me you had been laid up.
Bronchitis can sometimes be worse than Pnuemonia..the sawbones only have pallitive treatments for it, and for the most part you just have to ride it through.

I agree with Jack, you did the right thing and got the right care quickly. Hope you get on the end cycle of the bronchitis quickly and get back to full breath soon.

Posted by: delftsmna3 at February 2, 2005 07:43 AM

And here I am in my rattiest Pajamahadeen-wear, just in time for this VIP tour! Glad to see you have Emigré with a Digital Cluebat back up and roarin' along, and thanks for the best wishes about my health. I figure another couple of weeks and I'll be all the way up to a good case of hypochrondria, but until then, hey....

Posted by: WT at February 2, 2005 10:46 AM

Good Lord man.

Sounds like you're as rough off as I was when I made my midnight run from Ohio to Minnesota. After about 3 weeks in Minnesota my new cellmate noted "At least you're not coughing anymore."

Managed to cure me of smoking for a couple months. An allnight jam session at a backhome blues bar cured me of that whole "no smoking/drinking" kick I was on tho thank goodness.


Posted by: Jeff at February 2, 2005 02:51 PM

Hope you get better fast!

SlagleRock Out!

Posted by: SlagleRock at February 3, 2005 02:35 AM

Keep your chin up, WT. Here's wishing you a full recovery. I won't say 'speedy' because that's not the real priority here, understand?

Posted by: Damian at February 3, 2005 11:43 AM

Here's wishing you a full recovery. I won't say 'speedy' because that's not the real priority here, understand?

That's not just babbling, there, eh! In the interest of foreign relations, I'll keep this one on the south side of our border...but thank you for the sentiment.

Posted by: WT at February 3, 2005 12:34 PM

Glad to see you still checking the blog, hope you're feeling much better.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2005 01:20 PM