You may recall that in my last post I had mentioned something about going to Seaworld in San Antonio and seeing a haze across the skyline. And that the haze was, in fact, made up of microfine dust particles that flew all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, past Florida, over the Gulf of Mexico, and straight into the air stream that passes through not only San Antonio but also Austin. Likewise, I think I might have mentioned something about waking up the next day feeling like I'd eaten prickly pears or something like that because my throat hurt...from all that stupid sand AND from getting my sinus cavity washed out (on multiple occasions as if the water slides were gigantic Netty-pots)
But by last Saturday, after religiously using my inhaler, eating little red Sudafed pills like they were my special 4-hour treat, ingesting 2 different antihistamines, and sucking on throat lozenges I was feeling much better...or so I thought! We went about our usual Saturday business only I felt a bit sluggish and blah. Part of that business was attending a birthday party for the child of some friends of ours.
Now this party - let me tell you - first of all, this little boy's mom is like one of those people you love - but you secretly hate because she always - and I literally mean ALWAYS throws these amazing parties. Case(s) in point - when her husband officially became part of the Catholic faith (which he did for her - now that is true love folks!) she had this super awesome party with this amazing cake and music and it was pretty cool. Their priest was even there and he was having a ball. Then came her husband's birthday, I think he turned 40 - and she threw him a gigantic surprise 'Cowboy themed' party.
There were 'Wanted posters' and all sorts of Western doo-dads around the place and best of all, she had built a 'jail' where you could get your photo taken! Oh and there was a DJ and lights and well it was pretty darn amazing. Oh, and she and her cousins/friends (she's Filipino and family is super important to them!) did a planned 'Gang nam style' dance! Holy cow, I don't think I could get my sister or any of my cousins to dance in such a coordinated fashion if someone shot at our feet like they did in those old Westerns! Yeah, it was a FABULOUS party - Todd and I even got cowboy hats to wear so we'd fit in with the theme. (Of course, Jessica sort of stole my hat after she saw it the next day!)
But jumping forward to this past Saturday - Lily had planned this super awesome birthday for her now 3 year old son. It was a Thomas the Tank Engine themed party. Can I just say right now that I felt so inadequate as a parent - and my daughter is 16! When she was 3 we had a Scooby-Doo cake for her at her daycare center. Luckily, she's sort of like me - we like parties but tend to like them to be a bit more intimate!
Unlike this party where their kids (2 boys and girl) mingled with what must have been close to 40 other kids (no joke) and probably 40 adults (or more!) There were cupcakes, a giant Thomas the Tank Engine cake, bowls filled full of all the stuff on parent in their right mind would let their under 5 year old eat without having a padded room in which to place them because there was so much sugar. They had these cool games (that Lily made - okay, so I think her family helped too - but the planning - well that was pure Lily!) and face painting and then there was...the...train.
Yes, folks, they had hired a kindly fellow who has a little 'train' that he uses to scoot kids around the local outlet mall. Bear in mind that it was like 103ºF but that didn't make a lick of difference because that train was going nonstop. (No, I did not ride the train!)
I tell you, I was so worn out after a couple of hours, I had to find a comfortable chair just so I could sit down. And my cough had come back, my head had started hurting...again, and I had this weird funky cold feeling in my chest. But even though by the end of the event (and trust me folks, when Lily throws a party - it IS an event) when I had started feeling badly - I was glad I came.
So we get home and by Saturday evening I felt a bit worse than blah because the little headache I had which I thought was nothing more than a simple sinus headache caused by my allergy to ragweed and the rising barometric pressure (yes, I am a walking human barometer - so, too, is my daughter) had started getting worse. I took more Sudafed. Then it started getting worse. So, I took Excedrin Migraine and I thought maybe that'll knock it out.
It didn't. By 2AM my head was pounding as if there was a band of misfit dwarfs mining for jewels throughout the interior of my cranium. Holy cow...it was a full-blown, knock you backwards migraine. After taking an actual pain pill (which I hate because they make me feel weird and sometimes physically sick) And then by 3:30AM or so, I'd drifted off to sleep and had WEIRD dreams. (How weird, I was stuck in a non stop commercial with Ashton Kutchter as Steve Jobs and there was Snapple - I don't even drink Snapple!)
But at least I was asleep - until about 7 damn 30 when some moron from NC called (I glanced at my phone and saw the area code) called asking - no saying 'Hey, man, what you up to?' Here I was thinking something terrible had happened to one of my relatives or friends back in NC but no...it was a nim-num who called and didn't even have the decency to say 'Hello.' But I did. And I do not sound like a 'hey, man'!
I said, "I think you have the wrong number." Followed by, "Oh, uh, yeah" and a hang up. No apology. Just a hang up. I HATE that. So, I was awake. My head still hurt and I felt like poop-on-a-stick! And it was tax-free weekend so Jessica and I got in the car (thank the Lord that girl can now drive) and went shopping. This was followed by a quick visit with a dear friend of mine whom I'd not seen in 7 years! And all the while, I kept smiling - hoping that my makeup job would help mask the internal blah I felt.
By the time I got home, I was running a fever. Awesome. But, I figured - well, if one can get Cedar Fever then perhaps one can also get Ragweed Fever, too. So, I didn't think much of it. I went to bed, had another round of wack-a-doodle dreams and woke up drenched. As in soaked from head to toe.
Apparently the fever I had 'broke'...YAY! I'd be on the road to recovery in no time.
Let's just say that was NOT the case. By Wednesday morning I felt so badly and was coughing so much my chest felt like someone had beaten me with a 2x4 (not that I actually know how that feels - but I've got a good imagination) I got winded going up AND down the stairs in the house. My sinuses were stuffed to High Heaven. And I had gone from feeling 'blah' to 100% miserable!
I broke down and went to the doctor. She ruled out allergies because the one symptom I should have had 'itchy, watery eyes' I did not have. Then she asked if I'd had a fever prior to seeing her (as I'd taken Tylenol and was fever free at her office) I said yes and I told her about the morning when I woke up soaked from having a fever in the night. Then she listened to me breath.
She said, 'Take a deep breath.' So, I did. Then she said, "No, really, take as deep a breath as you can."
I said, "I am. If I breathe any deeper, I start coughing."
That's when we started talking and she asked me if I'd been around any smoke or dust or anything recently. And when I told her about spending the day out in that damn microfine dust from the Sahara Desert she said, "Oh, my, it seems like you might have a bacterial form of bronchitis." She put me on a new regimen of meds including an antibiotic and 2 powerful inhalers and told me to take it very easy the next few days.
When I mentioned it to a writing friend of mine, a great fellow who grew up on a farm in the midwest, he said, "Oh, it sounds like you might have caught a bit of dust pneumonia. Sounds pretty mild thought but you need to take it easy or you could wind up in a hospital."
Dust pneumonia? Well, I being the inquisitive person I am decided to look it up. Lo and behold there is something called Dust pneumonia! (Now I even remember hearing about it while watching a Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl) And just like plain old regular pneumonia - if you don't treat it properly and take it easy when you get it...it can get very bad, very quickly.
So, I have spent the past 5 days doing pretty much nothing except lying in bed writing, editing, reading, and reviewing, Then I go downstairs watch a few TV shows with the family and climb back up into bed. I'm feeling better now, honest, but I know I'm not 'BETTER' yet because I still start coughing if I exert myself. A few more days and I should be right as rain.
Oh, rain, that lovely stuff - I'll tell you one thing, when we had a light rain that washed all that stupid dust and other crud out of the air, I was SO happy.
Now, I shall return to my resting!
And that's all I've got...til next time