How did I get here, my friends? To a place where my throat, lungs, and stomach forsake me? I ask you, but in truth of fact, I know the answer and I’m gonna share it with you.
Let’s start with my throat and lungs. Diagnosis: bronchitis. Miriam Webster defines bronchitis as “acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes”. Lexico (powered by Oxford) (?) defines bronchitis as “inflammation of the mucous membrane in the bronchial tubes. It typically causes bronchospasm and coughing.” I include the second definition because it is clearly more dramatic.
I know exactly how I contracted this “dis-ease” and the culprit was me. I mean, really, it came wafting from my sister but I’m the asshole who shared a plastic cup full of wine back and forth with her at the Great Wolf Lodge KNOWING she had a cough. I wasn’t concerned at the time because I felt like I was bound to get sick anyway and I might as well get it done with while I was on leave so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it when I returned to work. Incorrect. Turns out that the symptoms faffed about for a few weeks and only emerged the week prior to going back to work and then REALLY took effect just as I was about to go back. Stupid stupid stupid.
Now, I am on Amoxicillin, DayQuil, NyQuil (dependent on time of day), and something called “Benzonatate” to stifle coughing. Let me tell ya, as long as I’m hopped up on these goofballs, the bronchitis is doable MEANING that yes, I’m still coughing but no, I’m not actively dying. Morningtime is a different story entirely. In the morning, my body has used up every single ounce of the medicines that make it bearable to live and I am now a zombie that has a bone rattling (yet unproductive) cough. During the day, my cough is bad from time to time but that usually tells me it’s time for more DayQuil. I’ve been going to sleep around 11pm and not waking up until around 11am this week. The NyQuil is the culprit there. My mistake was that I bought DayQuil and NyQuil “Severe” (or as I like to call it “Intense”). I went straight to that because the last time I had a cough like this, I was fooling around in the minor leagues with regular old DayQuil and NyQuil before realizing there was a professional option. Once I skittered up to the “Intense” version, I was like “This is IT”. However, I think with this illness, it’s sort of like using a bulldozer when all you needed was a hammer. It’s a little much is what I’m saying. Like, I don’t need to be unconscious for twelve hours every day. I think tonight, I’m going to take DayQuil before bed and just see how I do with that. If I wake up at a reasonable hour, maybe I won’t be so much of a hacking zombie.
Now let’s talk about what happened with my stomach. Guys, it’s my own damn fault. As you know, I recently had gastric sleeve surgery. This is a surgery where they laparoscopically go into your abdomen, snatch out half of your stomach, and staple up the tube that remains. This is in the service of losing weight. WELL, I’ve had some complications since surgery even though I’ve healed well. It’s extended the amount of time I’ve been on medical leave by quite a few weeks as well. Most of my complications have been fatigue and focus-related however, I was also having trouble swallowing pills or any kind of dense food like meat, eggs, or veggie meats. The docs thought this might be the cause of my fatigue because I wasn’t able to get proper nutrients. It turns out that wasn’t the issue. However, I think I did have some swelling that went down over time. I had an Upper GI Xray that showed that it was narrow but fine in there. In fact, I’ve been eating much better lately and able to eat a wider variety of foods. This is something I’ve been very grateful for and I’ve expanded into trying new things because of it. Not all of these things have been good for me but it’s important to know my limitations for what I can have.
Enter: pizza. During the holidays, we had a few days (ie. holidays) where I ate fancifully and I was glad to be able to do so. But then, we went back to eating normally (or my new normal anyway). Tonight though, I wanted to try to eat frozen pizza. It’s cold and windy and we wanted something cozy and warm but also easy to make and eat. We had a frozen pizza in the freezer and decided to try it. Before surgery, we used to cut a frozen pizza into four slices and each have two. So I gave Kristyn her two and I gave myself one. I ate it slowly (while watching a video with Kevin Nealon and Kristen Bell hiking) and felt fine! I was happy that I could have that one slice of pizza and not feel uncomfortable. In fact, I felt so fine that…and you can obviously see what’s coming…that I tried to eat the second piece. I know, and so do you, that I should have put that second slice in the fridge and eaten it happily for lunch tomorrow. But noooooo…I wanted to “see” what would happen. I did cut that slice into two and started slowly eating half of the slice. Everything was going fine and I finished it. The second I popped that last bit of crust into my mouth, I knew things were definitely NOT FINE. In fact, I made Kristyn eat the other half so that I wouldn’t see it or worse, try to eat it.
It is clear to me now that this was a stupid thing to try. Pals, I’m in no medical danger whatsoever just fucking full like I ate three plates of Thanksgiving dinner. I had to pace around the apartment for a long time patting and rubbing my stomach like a pregnant lady. Learning lesson: Coleen, don’t eat pizza AND IF YOU DO just have one slice AND WITH THAT SLICE have a piece of fruit or a salad or something light if you’re still feeling hungry BUT WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO is have another slice EVEN IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S POSSIBLE for to eat that second slice IS TO SUFFER.
I will tell you about one victory I’m experiencing though: drinking water. I’ve always been a big water drinker. I never drink anything but water and coffee, really. But then when I had surgery, for some reason I couldn’t drink plain water anymore. I don’t know if it was the taste or texture or what but I just couldn’t do it. We had to start buying Gatorade Zero so I could get fluids in. Lately though? I’ve been able to drink as much water as I want. One weird thing though is that I can’t drink it too fast. I’ve actually been getting better and have been able to gulp it sometimes but sometimes if I do that, it’s a big mistake. It’s like there isn’t enough room in my stomach for all the water that I just gulped down and it feels like a drain backing up. Still, I count this as a victory because I thought I was doomed to never drink water again.