H1N1 GOT ME

What more is there to say? I just spent a week of hell. Heat, over and over the heat. Then the fatigue and body aches, restlessness, chills, fear, and coughing. I was mostly worried about my children--I mean, that's my main concern and always will be--but on Thursday, that's when it turned on me and brought me to my knees. The day before I thought I was all done with the flu and could now concentrate on the kids without distraction, but then something went wrong. My chest was filling up and when I coughed it was deep, and painful. Then I coughed some more. My throat began to ache and I felt as if I lived under a world of goo. I had this feeling of dread running through me on a constant loop. By dinner time I was thinking some pretty serious stuff: swine flu, coughing . . . death. I would never think of such desperate things, but my lungs were doing things they have never done before. To put it plainly, I could tell that my body was at the beginning of losing the fight, and I had to do something.

But here's the deal with this virus, you can't just call your neighbor over and ask them to babysit, or your family, or anyone. It's highly contagious. I had to wait for my husband to come back from his day long Texas trip so that I could drive myself to the hospital and get checked out. He finally got home--I went to the ER. They said I had early pneumonia in the bottom of my lungs and gave me some very strong antibiotics, painkillers, an inhaler and a prescription for some very strong cough medicine. Then they sent me home. Relief. I wasn't going to die.

It was a strange sensation walking through the hospital waiting room so late at night with a mask on my face; I felt like a leper. Down the corridor I could hear a child screaming, she probably had pneumonia too, and much worse than mine. I had to stop and say a prayer.

When I drove home that night in the dark, cold October world, I thought a lot about life and how grateful I was to be going home to my children. The antibiotics have made me nauseous, but I don't care. I'm so happy to be alive and to have another chance at everything: writing, singing, art, love.




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