cold, bronchitisSuddenly last night I

cold, bronchitis

Suddenly last night I started getting a cold. Can tell already it is going to nestle lovingly into my chest and turn into bronchitis. When I breathe, the air coming in feels all sharp and cold and prickly. coughing up nasty orange stuff. Plan: stay home all morning and go into shower to breathe steam once an hour. Drink a lot of hot tea. Do all my homework quick before I get really sick. Possibly go out to cafe with spangle and squid and Ep, though this would be unwise. Get moomin from school at 2:30. Stick him in front of TV and take a nap. Go to class at 5 and suffer in the freezing san fran fog. Bring thermos of hot tea. Come home and read those VIZ comic books.

Note to self get flu shot next week.

From 1990-1992 I had bronchitis A LOT. I found out later that I would have qualified for disability – if you are diagnosed with it more the 8 times in one year, you count as disabled. In 1990 I was in serious trouble. I’d have a week or two of feeling great and riding my bike around. Then I’d get sick again. By 1991 I had developed nasty asthma. All sorts of inhalers and finally a nebulizer, many a late night ER visit. m.m., whatever her foibles and flaws, staunchly stood by me and would pound on my back for hours as I coughed up junk in the middle of the night. “Positional therapy” worked great – you assume a sort of cat in heat position, as perhaps Ayla would when given “the signal”, and then cough in synch with a slow back-pounding. It sounds like you are dying, but it feels great afterwards when you get AIR.

However, when you can’t breathe it’s really hard to sleep. I think this is where my health really started going downhill.

My asthma/allergy doctor kept giving me giant doses of antibiotics, occasional prednisone would make me all happy and productive again.
This got into a cycle where I’d be sick as a dog and unable to do anything, then in the “well” interludes I’d drive myself in a frantic attempt to get everything done quick before the bronchitis came back. Also in a frantic attempt to have fun, ie, go out, stay out late, be all wild, go to smoky nightclubs. Not too smart there, young Badger!

I had a lot of incompletes in school. Eventually in 91 I had to resign from my wonderful library job that gave me benefits, and could not make it to class any longer. I had been getting there by cadging rides and sometimes taking taxis. But I couldn’t walk or bike the… must have been 8 blocks? It was sad. When very sick, I had to ration the trips up and down the 2 flights of stairs and plan them like military campaigns. “I’ll check the mail, and I’ll talk to X, and I’ll eat breakfast and bring food for lunch upstairs and come back to bed.” Not funny to have to rest on the way up a flight of stairs.

M.m. and I moved to berkeley at this point into a really skanky coop called pax house, in the attic. It was really dusty and dirty and I was not only sick with bronchitis, but also had some kind of bout of pelvic inflammatory disease or maybe it was a kidney infection. It was something horrible where I had a high fever and I could barely walk, shuffling at a snail’s pace in excruciating pain. Since we were in the 3rd or was it 4th floor attic without a bathroom, and I could not go down the stairs, I had to pee in a bucket.

M.m. tried hard to nurse me but was not so good at it, going a little nuts, and we couldn’t afford things that would have been really helpful, like juice. But on the whole she was rather heroic and i was completely dependent on her. I think there were some ER visits in there. And we all know how helpful the Oakland and Alta Bates ER is to skanky, sluttly looking berkeley gutter punks. Carloads of steroids and antibiotics later, I was somewhat functional and we moved in with a roommate in oakland.

Hospital bills, a small student loan, and credit cards, which I had used to move and to pay some hospitals, dogged me for years until I had better reconciliation with parents and they just paid it all for me. It was probably all of 5000 bucks total, but with my 6-10 buck an hour earning capacity it was going to be paid off sometime in the year 2015. Very decent of my parents….

Why am I blogging all this… well… it’s why I feel a little freaky when I get bronchitis. It is never as bad as it was then. Then, I was dirt poor and sick all the time and hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in several years. These days, I am in great health all around, I can stay in bed, the bathroom is handy, there are no stairs, and I drink the finest juice in the land, brought to me by my nice family. I can get over bronchitis with no antibiotics, just rest.

But I still have to keep reminding myself not to panic….

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