Friday, May 6, 2011


I interrupt this recap of our amazing Australia vacation to fill you in on the week since returning home. The day we ended our dive trip, I started having cold symptoms. Not ideal on vacation, but not completely unexpected... Nick had a slight cold so I figured I caught it from him. We plowed through our adventures in Cairns and Sydney fueled by Tylenol, Sudafed, Mucinex, and caffeine. Sunday morning just before it was time to head to the airport, I could tell something was different. The Tylenol or something wasn't working. I was really out of it, completely uncomfortable in my own skin. So about an hour before the start of our 15-hour travel back home (long layover), any semblance of my previous state of health broke down around me. I will spare you the details, but the lingering effect was an extremely high fever. Basically since Sunday morning I have had a temperature between 99.3 and 102.4 and a rolling cough that makes my lungs ache with every breath.

It has been an absolutely miserable week. I was thrilled when they fit me in at the clinic the day after we got back, but frustrated hearing it was viral bronchitis. Of course being viral, there's nothing they could do but try to treat the symptoms. The doctor actually had me choose which medicines I wanted to try and told me there was no guarantee that any of them would help (thanks for the ray of hope, doc.). They then did a chest x-ray and found pneumonia, also viral and also untreatable. So I left there Tuesday morning and they said call back on Friday if the fevers were still high.

Tuesday to Friday does not sound like a long time by normal standards. Three days in my life usually fly by in a blink of fun and business. But three days where you are unable to do anything outside of arm's reach of the couch are a miserable three days. Especially considering all the awesome things I was missing out on - golf with Nick, Cinco de Mayo party at youth group, Bible study, wine night with the girls, kayak trip, starting with a personal trainer this week. Okay, so I had a pretty great week planned. By day five of this hell (yesterday), when my biggest trip of the day was out to the yard to lay face down in the grass in the noon Guam sun (my neighbor actually texted to make sure I was okay), I was at my low point. Five days of high fever, no end in sight. And even so much as reading email or Facebook took too much energy. MISERY!

At this point, as I was laying in the sun, I had to reflect, and eat my own words a bit. Have I not been writing about this whole joy/suffering connection on occasion here? Am I not studying Ecclesiastes, the 5,000 year-old text which tells us that life hurts sometimes and there's nothing we can do about it? And isn't it because I want to be doing joyful things like golf, and working out, and sitting up straight that make being debilitated so hard?

So I swallowed my words. And a triple dose of Tylenol. And at about 1 a.m. last night, the fever FINALLY broke!! Again, will spare you the details, but I was SHOCKED to read 96.0 on the thermometer. Today has been quite a roller coaster. I started out so joyful that there was hope of recovery, but the reality of the illness was quick to rear its head again during the middle of the day. But I seem to have found the right cocktail of meds to lead me to feel like myself again for a bit (though a little foggy, I must admit... and I hope this all makes sense).

I am realizing now I spent this entire week as a ghost of myself. When Nick came home from work today, we talked for about 10 minutes, and I realized it was the first conversation I've had with him all week. Amazing how you can live in the same house as someone for a week and still feel like you miss them. He has been an amazing caregiver. He has filled my Gatorade, made me food, cleaned up after my many messes, brought me blankets, and generally kept me as comfortable as possible. I am so grateful he was here with me this week.

So that's the update from me. I can only hope I will eventually look back on this week as my low point on Guam. Because the thought of having a week worse than this one is pretty unbearable. I look forward to sharing more about Australia with you once I have the mental energy and enthusiasm to do it justice.

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