Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I had two attacks of pneumonia in less than a month, the first hit me on a cruise in the Meditteranean and then I had a relapse on our return to Struisbaai on 30 April. Since then I have been in perfect health. I have attended yoga classes daily, taken regular, long walks, had some short trips away, had a good appetite and generally felt on top of the world.
Last Monday night after enjoying a hearty meal of braaied pork and vegetables, I sat down to watch some TV. And wham – pain in breast and down the right side of my back. “Indigestion!” I thought and did a few stretches. The pain did not go away so I just ignored it and then went to bed. Well, the shivers started and I said to The Earl – “I have pneumonia!”
“Nonsense!” came the reply. “You can’t get it just like that!” I took my temperature – 38 degrees C but I didn’t feel that ill!
The next morning I went straight to the doctor who took blood and sent me for an x-ray.
I felt pretty rotten and went home to bed. The phone call from the doctor came at 6 and he said – I’m afraid you have pneumonia and to be honest I don’t think you ever quite recovered from the last bout, as your CRP count (an indicator of inflammation and infection) is very high. Come and get a script for more antibiotics tomorrow.”
And so I was on medication for three days. It was a long weekend here in South Africa and my youngest daughter, Lollz and one of my grandsons, Josh arrived to stay on Thursday. I was already feeling better and could even manage to eat a little dinner that night. After dinner, I felt a bit tired so went back to bed. Then it happened! The squatters from the right lung decided that conditions weren’t to their liking and transferred to the left!
What an infernal cheek. Oh, the pain! I had a terrible night and phoned to report the invasion to the doctor the next morning. “We need to take drastic action to evict them,” he said. “Come and see me immediately”
Ah – some stronger poison, I thought. But no, he needed to call in reinforcements. Somebody with a more aggressive approach to bugs who squat in old ladies’ lungs. “You need to go into hospital,” he said.
I was on the verge of tears. “But Doctor, my kids are visiting!”
He was not interested in my story. “You will go immediately!” he said. And so after quickly packing a bag, The Earl drove me the 123 km to Hermanus Mediclinic.
Now I know pneumonia conjures up visions of a patient being very, very sick. But seriously, I did not feel that bad! The only thing that I was annoyed about was having those little buggers invade my health for the third time in two months! Yes, my breathing was a little painful but I was sure I could cope with just getting more oral antibiotics. But that was not to be. I had an ECG, another x-ray and a CT scan to make sure nothing sinister was lurking and causing these relapses. Then I was admitted to the ward and put on two different intravenous antibiotic drips as well as Jet Fuel – a multivitamin drip to pep you up! Twice a day a physiotherapist pummeled me to within an inch of my life. Her mission was to get me to offer up a sample of my phlegm. When I did produce and the sample sent to the lab the specialist was over the moon and thanked the therapist for it! An unusual and much-appreciated gift it seems.
Other lengths to see the squatters off, were regular sessions on a nebulizer each day. Those lovely nurses apologetically woke me in the middle of the night to get the required number in! Blood pressure and temperature were also taken throughout the day and night! “If the illness doesn’t kill me the treatment will!” I declared. My complaints fell on amused, deaf ears!
But seriously, although I was annoyed at being confined to a hospital bed for five days, I can’t complain about the excellent treatment and care I received. Everybody from the cleaners to the paramedics, the nurses, therapists, and specialists were kind, friendly and accommodating. Every day somebody came in to ask if I was satisfied with the state of the ward, the food and the care I was receiving. I even had a daily checklist to tick and could comment on anything with which I was or was not happy.
I wish I had not lost my appetite because the menu looked so good but when the food came I could only nibble at it. One morning a nursing assistant put my tray in front of me, “Is that all you ordered?” she said, looking disapprovingly at a bit of scrambled egg and a rasher of bacon. “I hope I can manage even this,” I said. And when I did, I proudly announced – I ate all my breakfast!” She responded with – “Don’t brag – a mouse could have managed that!”
Although I could not be there for Lollz and Josh’s visit, it was great they were there to keep Grandpa’s mind off worrying about me. They all came to visit on Saturday and Monday and other relatives who live closer to Hermanus visited on the other two days.
I was discharged on Wednesday and thankfully my appetite has returned. There is nothing sinister causing my malady – it was just Pneumonia. I have now had a vaccine called Prevenar so hopefully, this is Goodbye to Pneumonia for the rest of my life! I am back home in perfect health and another two daughters and four grandchildren are visiting!