Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Wednesday, May 07, 2003 When Allergies Attack
There are things one doesn’t appreciate until they stop working properly. Like one’s lungs, for instance.
The symptoms of my new allergies have been getting more severe, especially at night. Monday night I got in bed, pulled Strat’s favorite thermal blanket over myself, and waited for him to galumph up onto my chest like he does every night. Then my throat began whistling as if I’d swallowed Bob Dylan’s harmonica.
Normally I’m pretty good at dropping off to sleep once I get into bed. Trash and I have had any number of conversations in which I’ll end a sentence with a Dagwood Bumstead-esque SKNXKXX. But drifting off into dreamland is another matter entirely when simply filling my lungs is as easy and automatic as inflating a football from the inside.
I figured if I could get away from the cat, and the cat blanket, and all the choking drifts of cat-molecules floating around the room, I’d be okay. I told Trash I was moving to the second bedroom. It’s closed off to the cats at all times because Strat seems to think it’s his spare bathroom, so I figured that once I got set up in the house’s nearest equivalent to a clean room, I’d be fine. Trash was welcome to join me, but I was escaping the poisonous feline miasma one way or another. I probably should have explained my theory to her, as she was in a stage of sleep in which she was unable to read my mind as well as she normally does.
I popped a couple of Benadryls, relocated, and waited for my breathing to settle down. Two minutes later, a sleepy Trash was there. With the cat blanket. And the cat. My hypoallergenic haven was compromised. We had a penny-for-your-thoughts moment. Although I used a bit more profanity than was strictly necessary.
Back upstairs, where the physical effort of breathing continued to resemble that of bench-pressing without the use of arms. I lay on my side and closed my eyes, willing my fatigue to overtake my breathlessness so I could get to sleep. I figured I’d be less uncomfortable if I could get unconscious. And if I was going to suffocate, I sure didn’t want to be awake for it.
Eventually I even gave up on that, and Trash got more and more worried. I mentally calculated my chances of having picked up asthma, emphysema, or SARS over the past few days. We decided to go to the emergency room after an on-call nurse heard my loud wheezing over the phone. While Trash was talking to her. In the next room.
People complain about long waits at the ER, but those people are doing it wrong. They need to go to ERs in the suburbs after midnight on a weekday complaining of severe respiratory distress. My butt never touched a waiting-room chair. And I would have had my pick of them, too. But I had my temp and BP taken by the time Trash finished parking the car. Minutes later, I was sitting In a curtain area, and what can I say about hospital gowns that hasn’t been said a million times before? I do like that they’re so nice and soft from being worn by thousands upon thousands of desperately sick and injured people before me. And I got to keep my pants on, presumably because I don’t breathe through my ass. At least, not unless I really want to impress the ladies.
By the time I got my back freeze-branded with a stethoscope, the Benadryl had kicked in and the wheezing had stopped. So they decided I was faking and “turfed” me, as they say on ER.
No, not really. They hooked me up to a steam bong and had me suck on nebulized Albuterol for ten minutes. Then some other people listened to my back as if it contained gossip-worthy neighbors, wrote me a small ream of prescriptions, and sent me home. There were some long waits interspersed in there too. I’m not entirely clear on the sequence of events, because by this time the “may cause drowsiness” part of the Benadryl had also kicked in and I was actually falling asleep while putting my shirt back on. When we finally got home around four a.m., neither of us thought I should go to work in the morning.
So I didn’t. I slept past noon instead. Then I went and got my drugs and dosed myself up. Things are looking much better now. I haven’t had any more wheezing episodes, I slept through last night, and I think the purple unicorn is almost ready to be friends with me.
Speaking of SARS—what a terrible name for it. “Severe Acute?” Isn’t that redundant? And repetitive? They should call it SARRS. Or SARRRS. You figure it out, I’m sick. posted by M. Giant 3:36 PM 0 comments