Sick #3

I’m really getting fed up with being sick.

I took the antibiotics, I rested, and I was getting better.

But now, I feel like I’m getting worse again. The Cough is sneaking back more and more often. I still have moments of choked breath from it. And although I am up and moving more, I still have shortness of breath, tightness of lungs, and the least little dry sensation in my throat will trigger a cough. Cue: red face, ringing in my ears, spots before my eyes. My ribs and my core muscles are starting to ache again as the cough pulls at them more often.

This illness has taken time from me – and not just from a whole month of enforced rest. Yes, rest is important for recovery but I still can’t use my time as I want to. I can’t go for a walk, go to the theatre, or a restaurant; I can’t decide what I want to do and go do it because potential coughing or breathlessness or exhaustion gets in the way.

Instead I am still having to plan activities around the least active route: bus instead of walking, walking slowly instead of my usual pace, or worst, staying put and not walking at all. My level of fitness has decreased to such an extent I get breathless from the 10 minute walk between the train station and my work office. It is just poor fitness or are my lungs suffering in some way I don’t know about? I know I am not fully recovered yet; should I be back at work? Am I putting myself at risk of relapse by pushing myself to do more, move more?

My throat feels itchy and tight, like it’s closing up. I can’t talk for long or my voice goes scratchy and the scratchiness triggers a cough. The fear of choking is starting to lurk at the back of my mind again. There is only so much tea I can drink in a day to keep my throat open and lubricated.

I don’t know what is going on with my body. I have had x-rays, I have had blood tests, but I have no results. Whatever has made me ill, I don’t know it’s name. I had blood tests on April 18th and I get the results on May 23rd – more than a month later.

This illness has also made me fearful. I have booked a holiday (trying to reclaim my time, make it my time to do what I want, not what is best for the illness) but I don’t know how well I will be able to handle it. How will I cope with three hours on a plane? Will I start coughing through the night again? Will I get exhausted from walking around and have to cut days of sightseeing short to go back to the hotel and rest? Will there be enough places offering tea to keep me going?


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