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I’ve been away, walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Ok, that’s alittle extreme, but I have been very sick for the past week or more. I don’t know the cause except to say that it was not covid. Hubby took me for testing. It could have been a form of Death Flu or an Intrepid Infection. Or it could have been an adverse reaction to my new medication which compromises my immunity even more severely than before, and could have led to the contraction of a Death Flu or Intrepid Infection. In any event, I’m going to live!

Thank you to those who sent hugs and well-wishes to my 2 Facebook status posts, typed in the few moments of lucidity that I had. I needed them desperately. Hubby popped in my bedroom door now and then, masked and hugging the door like a long-lost relative; otherwise I went days without any human touch (except the EMT who was way too personal! But I’ll get to that).

My birthday was overshadowed by nausea on the last Friday of April. I assumed it might food poisoning because Youngest Son cooked dinner and I wasn’t sure I had preheated the oven to the right temperature. The day was a quiet one. I watched figure skating from the Olympics, played Minecraft with Youngest Son during his lunch period, and Overwatch with Oldest Son before dinner. Oldest Son ubered me a Cora’s chocolate and strawberry crepe for brunch. I had worship rehearsal so took homemade chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream icing to share with my team. I finally got to open my gifts at 10 p.m. before settling into bed.

By Monday afternoon, I had an epic sinus headache and felt tired, but I often feel tired when I’ve been up really early and leading worship on Sunday morning. The headache continued on Tuesday so I took a Tylenol and carried on. By Tuesday evening, I knew it was no use. I probably had a sinus infection. On Wednesday morning, feeling worse by the minute, I feared Covid. I slept all day. Hubby picked up a thermometer and RAT kit on his way home from work. He also brought work home with him because he couldn’t go in if I did have covid.

The RAT was negative.

Hubby stayed home on Thursday so he could take me to the covid clinic, which I booked as soon as they opened. At High Noon, he dropped me by the wooden gangplank leading to the clinic, and I stood waiting for my turn… in an empty room. I hoped that if I dropped on the spot, someone would notice. But the lobotomizing PCR test came back negative as well. I was advised by the nurse to call my rheumatologist and she wished me a “great day”.

I made it back to the car without passing out. “Great day” accomplished.

My rheumatologist’s assistant was thorough and sweet, and within an hour I had my answer: stop taking the medication and if I still have the fever in 2 days, to seek medical help. Awesome! And just when the medication was starting to work. Oh, I wasn’t ready to dance a jig, but I was nearly back to “normal”.

Hubby ran me a bath Thursday afternoon. I vaguely remember requesting it, or did I just say I was going to and he jumped in to help? I didn’t have to imagine the pervasive funk that followed me; I could also see the growing pile of sodden jammies and blankets I had sweat through, especially at night. I don’t understand why, lying still and sleeping, my weary body would work so hard to squeeze every last drop of liquid from my person.

Friday evening, Hubby arrived with flowers and Gatorade! Shortly after, Youngest Son brought in a bag of chocolate covered almonds and a bag with 4 O Henry’s (O Henry!) and laid them on the floor by my 2L bottle of gingerale.

Ah! My Mother’s Day gifts?

My Hero!!

By Saturday evening, my bed was a complete disaster. I had 3 different blankets rolled in to balls, each a different thickness. I slept with the thermometer, my iPad, a half box of Cheerios, a package of crackers, and a portable DVD player, loaded with the 1970’s British t.v. series, Upstairs Downstairs. I listened to several of them when I was too tired to watch. My nightstand was cluttered with am assortment of oddities and the gingerale, gatorade, and chocolate were still on the floor. Hubby brought me a Tim’s tea that morning, but I still had no interest in tea.

Yes! I was that sick!

I will never forget this past Mother’s Day!

I called telehealth Sunday morning for advice since I still had a fever, and I explained my sorry tale three times. I still can’t grasp what really happened, but before I knew it I had consented to an ambulance. I think they heard “some chest pain” in my list of symptoms and latched onto it like I was dying. I was transferred to the 911 disbatcher, and when she put me on hold, I started hollering for Hubby. This was his fault.

I’m sure the shocked look on his face mirrored my own.

I could hear the sirens in the distance and dropped my head in my hands. As if a shiny blue and white ambulance showing up in my driveway wasn’t going to be enough of a spectacle for the neighbours, did they have to announce themselves too?

Only it wasn’t an ambulance. It was a shiny red fire engine!

Most nosey neighbours seeing or hearing an ambulance outside watch discreetly from the window so as not to invade anyone’s privacy. (I’m aware of the irony in that statement. Plus that’s what I do). But isn’t there something about shiny red fire engines that draws people out more? Certainly when there IS a fire, the street becomes a block party! I started imagining folks hovering on their front porches and little children lining the street.

As 2 firefighters clambored into my room, I blurted out, rather mortified, “I’m not dying! I only called for advice”. I was told to stay calm and was asked a bunch of questions about my symptoms, my personal information, and my medications (with a lot of Ma’ams I might add), and he wrote it all on his glove. As he was writing I could hear Party Number 2’s sirens singing in the distance…and ever closer.

Now I really was disturbing the peace.

The firefighters were summarily dismissed by the EMT and he apologized. Firefighters are only supposed to come if I weren’t conscious, which I clearly was!

I never thought a simple phonecall…on Mother’s Day…would result in hot firefighters in my bedroom, or worse, a man in a hazmat suit unbuttoning my nightie and handling my boob (for an ekg). It was the first physical touch I had experienced in days, having been cloistered in my tower for the better part of 5 days. It was far from titillating, and I muttered sarcastically under my breath, “Happy Mother’s Day”. He apologized several times. I just smiled and assured him “it was fine” and to “just do what you need to do”. Afterall, he was there to keep me alive should a serious problem exist. He was also kind and compassionate, not wanting to add to my distress. It is something for which to be noted and admired in most of our healthcare professionals, not overlooked or dismissed in favour of budgets, schedules or our own feelings because it sometimes takes so long.

He confirmed my heart was not in distress, and Hubby and I decided not to detain him any longer. I signed the waiver, and with a wave, he told me to “feel better soon”.

Our neighbour came knocking 10 minutes later to find out what was going on, and what could she do to help?

I didn’t want to leave the house ever again except under cover of darkness.

That afternoon, my friend helped me connect with a clinic that would book me a phone appointment. The doctor called me 2 hours earlier than expected, and after answering his questions, he asked me if I could come in right away. I’d have to leave the house in broad daylight.

It was a short journey and a short appointment, but I was exhausted when I got home. Hubby ordered our celebratory Mother’s Day meal while I went to book a bloodwork appointment. Normally, appointments have to be booked weeks in advance, or would require a long wait in a poorly lit, very uncomfortable room filled with the “masses”. To my astonishment, God blessed me with one opening! I snagged it.

The Chinese food was meh, but the company was wonderful. I was “allowed” to eat downstairs with my family.

Both bloodwork and x-rays were accomplished Monday morning. I already had an appointment with my GP on Tuesday, so I called to see if I could do it by phone, knowing I’d be too weak to drive into the city. I was politely rebuffed and rebooked for June 1st.

Why not? I had survived this long.

I’m on the mend. This week I’ve focused on small jobs between long rests. At least until yesterday afternoon, when my GP called with my test results. I have to see her first thing this morning. I feel like I’ve been called to the principal’s office.

The internet obliged me with all sorts of information on horrible, life-limiting things these results could mean…assuming I remembered correctly what she said (it’s kind of a blur), so with trepidition, I will arise early and venture forth into the city. In rush hour. It would seem I’m still caught in an ocean of wave upon wave of jolly good health news and I had better hurry up and learn to surf.

On the plus side, Spring arrived while I was sleeping. At the beginning of last week, between my drawn curtains, I noticed little red buds on the maple trees out front. By Friday, those buds had changed to yellow blossoms, and Hubby reported tiny pops of yellow and red in the front flower bed. Passersby have traded their winter coats for exposed white (so white!) flesh. Now I can sweat through my clothes, outside of bed too.

Welcome…allergy season!

If you’re allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if that thing is a cat.

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