16 days. That’s how long this upper respiratory infection has been going on. A steroid zpack suppress the symptoms the first week, but they came back full force when I finished the pack.
Yesterday, I finished ten days of an antibiotic. I’m convinced taking them produces its own side effects, so I’m glad to be finished. I’m better, but I still have congestion, a nagging cough, and body aches. I’m starting to wonder if this has more to do with being old than with being sick. Most likely it’s a combination of the two.
It snowed on Friday and the office was closed. I’m also off from Martin Luther King Jr Day Monday. That gives me a four-day weekend to continue to recover. I’m thinking it would do me some good to bundle up and go for a walk, rather then lie around the house like I did all day yesterday.
I went into the New Year weekend on steroids prescribed for a viral upper respiratory infection. A test ruled out the flu, but I don’t see any difference. As I took the last pill on Tuesday, my symptoms came back threefold, with the addition of fever. I never made it to work this week and brief trips out of bed to the bathroom or the kitchen left me weak and breathing rapidly. I’ve been free of fever since Thursday but still—up until this morning I have had no energy and I have felt rotten.
Three amazing women cared for me: daughter, sister, and mother. Ruth shoulder the bulk of it as she was physically here in the house on her last days of winter break. Sissy stepped up with text message check-ins and a delicious, ready to cook meal. Mom is driving up today.
Several friends called or messaged to wish me a speedy recovery. For both family and friends, I feel the support, I feel humble, and above all, I am grateful.
Here are some things being sick has taught me or perhaps reminded me:
- In general, friends hope you get well soon. Close friends check in with you regularly. Family knows what you need and does it, whether it’s attention (or to be left alone), food, or some task (like cleaning out the litter box or picking up more kleenex). Both friends and family are a blessing.
- When I’m sick for any length of time, I start questioning my self worth. Unable to work, I begin thinking they’ll realize they can get along quite well without me and I’m going to lose my job. Socially, folks are meeting up for coffees, drinks, dinners, Sisters are bar crawling and going about their ministry, and even the birds that I’ve fed without fail are finding other feeders full of seed. Who needs me?
- Pets, especially Fred the cat, are a great comfort. He has stayed by my side. My cough might briefly send him off the bed to the floor, but it doesn’t take long for him to come back, sometimes napping on my arm, sometimes sleeping at my feet as he’s is now.
- It’s hard to be single and be sick. This is the first time I’ve experienced it and the topic deserves its own blog post.
- I start to wonder if this is forever and if it is, what will that mean? I realize that for many people, sickness is their reality. It stirs compassion within me, and causes me to resolve to be more like family than friend (see above) if I have the choice.
I feel better this morning. I’ll enjoy Mom’s company today and stay home. I’ll shower, dress, and tackle putting Christmas away (but slowly). Monday, I’ll go back to work and step back into that reality.
However, those bullet points raise subjects worth exploring: How do I define my worth? At age fifty-three, I’m single for the first time in my adult life. How am I dealing with that? What kind of friend am I?
Spending time answering these questions may be my New Year resolutions.
The view during my savasana.
The wait is over. Test results cane back today. I’ll take it.
*WARNING* Old man post to follow.
At fifty, I recently had my first prostate-specific antigen test (PSA). The results came back showing an elevated level, so it was off for my first visit to the urologist. She explained to me that there are three reasons for elevated PSA results. 1) a faulty test; 2) a recently stimulated prostate (as a result of exercise, sex, even excessive cough); 3) prostate cancer. This being my first test, I’m now scheduled for a second one at the end of the month.
The second test will look for further elevation. 1 and 2 above fluctuate, but 3 steadily rises. My urologist wants to give my prostate enough time between tests (about six weeks total) to do its thing so the results of the next test will be measurable. If the next test comes back the same or higher, she will schedule a biopsy.
Here’s the kicker: testosterone feeds prostate cancer cells. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with low testosterone, so I give myself a shot as a supplement. While I wait for the next PSA test, I’m to lay off of the testosterone. Queue the fatigue, sleepless nights, ringing ears, dry skin, and general malaise that drove me to getting testosterone in the first place.
I’m going to ask my husband to hide my little vial of testosterone because I know I’ll be jonesin’ for it. It’s going to be a long three weeks.
If there’s a doctor reading this, please correct in the comments section any misinformation I may have represented. Also, consider developmenting a slow-release capsule thing that one could have surgically packed into the space where the prostate lies. Men in this situation could have their prostate gland removed and replaced with a long-term testosterone delivery thingy. Let’s say they need this thing replaced every two years. You’d make a fortune!
You can find out more about PSA testing, here.
It’s outside in Central Florida, so hot yoga it is!