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1918 . . . . . all that.

I’m just getting past the nearest to death bout of ‘flu I’ve ever had.  I’ve had a few but not like this.  Thought I’d cheer you up with what’s about for this autumn.  For you evolutionists, it’ll be a lot worse by the time you catch it and for you creationists, “ye all be doomed”. 
As I fall into neither camp I seem to have got away with my hide but I’m very debilitated at the mo.

I woke up about 1am-2ish last Tues night with my chest so tight I was unable to breathe. 
I figured last exit was upon me but by sitting upright on the edge of my bed found that it was relieved somewhat and rubbing my chest (I can’t call it massage) helped the pain and eased my breathing. 
After about half an hour things were ok again, if not great, and I could lie down and wait for the shooting pains down my left side, or whatever.  They didn’t come and I dozed fitfully until the lark arose and so did I.

Next day I was pretty reflective about all of this.  I’m old enough and stressed enough for a heart attack, who isn’t ??  There’s no sign of it among my older brothers though our father keeled over with one just a few years older than I am now.  It could just be some weird ‘flu.  The symptoms didn’t quite match what I’ve heard of heart attacks but that could be because the guys who had them didn’t recover to tell the tale.  (I returned to this thought many times over the next few days.)

Next night I woke 2 am ‘ish.  Tight breathless chest again. The whole left side of my trunk from the median line front round to my spine and from my shoulder into my hip felt like
I imagine having been beaten up would feel but from the inside. 
The skin of that area was hypersensitive, even the touch of my finger caused pain.  I was in a lot of pain.  Trying to haul myself up to the edge of the bed (the bed’s on the floor) was excrutiating. 

I sat upright again and tried the same strategy of rubbing my chest and doing breathing exercises, which kinda helped again but on my l.hand side felt like I was being beaten up from the outside as well as in.  Lying down and breathing was impossible so I sat upright in bed and barely dozed through the pain for a few hours.

I have this bold and rash attitude to pain that it’s something you endure.  Part of my holistic approach.  It’s only gonna last a day or two and if it goes any longer than that I seek some analgesia in progressive stages.  If it isn’t diminishing after five days it’s time to seek professional help.  This approach has given me experience of a lot of pain and accounts for most of my visits to the dentist.

Thursday morning I was down to Tesco’s for a bottle of own brand brandy (and some iron rations, just in case).  Put some spirit in me.  My walk was slow and laboured, somewhat lopsided.  Walking eased the pain but there was still a lot of it.  If I tried to walk at regular pace I ran out of breath, it was the same if I did any kind of small physical exertion.  (My heart was going like a jack hammer through all of this.  When quiescent it was in the high 90’s, walking sent it astronomical.)   I recalled that my mother gave up knitting when she found it gave her chest pains.  Woa.

Thurs afternoon and eve were spent spooning brandy down me and standing upright, the only strategy for breathing and easing the pain in my side.  Obviously this technique was going to involve a lot of patience.  The alternative was to go and present at Casualty but
I figured I had better odds at survival if I just kept vertical for a coupla days.

I went to bed about 11 that eve and tried to sleep sitting upright in bed.  Two sleepless hours later it was all but over for me.  My breathing was so shallow with the pain that I couldn’t draw enough breath to sustain me.  It was only the stabs of pain that were sustaining me.  No shooting pains but spontaneous stabs under my ribs front and back that made me gasp, and a few other muscles, kinda places you would’ve got stitch when you went out running when you were a kid. 

I tried to make my peace with God.  He was having none of it.

G: It’s no good you skulking round here.  You knew when you left there’d be no coming back.  We both knew.
D: Yeah, but I wanted you to know ....
G: I know everything, you know that.
D: Yeah.
G: And we both knew how it would end.
D: Yeah.
G: But only I can know when it will end.  Now stfu and get on with it.  You are not and never will be eligible for shriving.

And he was gone.  It’s a very raw and fundamental God that I know.  I don’t think of Him as having any personality traits but if I had to describe Him that way I’d say, “angry”.


So at some absolutely Godforsaken hour of that morning I was standing with my palms and forehead against the bedroom wall in the only posture that didn’t have me slowly drowning in shallow breath. 
I could think of only one option, it might be possible to arrange the living room sofa so’s I could sleep upright on it.  It backed against the wall and judicious arrangement of cushions might offer near vertical repose. 

I dragged the duvet into the living room and on the way remembered that a couple of years before, I’d had a guest who was into drinking and pill masked hangovers.  I should check the kitchen drawer.  (the kitchen drawer is barely openable and full of all sorts of unlisted crap).  I did and there was a packet of Nurofen containing one dose.  I necked it down followed by a hefty slug of brandy.

The sofa ploy worked and, bolt upright from my bottom and just a slight angle to my legs,
I rested through the night.  The pain killers took about an hour to kick in but helped.  Next morning I slo mo’d out into the street and bought a couple of packets. 
They recommended a max of four doses a day but as I found the effects wore off after a few hours that had to be thrown to the wind.    Compared to what I was experiencing I’d sooner take my chance.

I spent the next two days pretty much chained to the sofa.  In that time the pain attenuated and it redistributed itself into a girdle around my lower ribs and waist.  Half way through my third  night on the sofa I found that I was more uncomfortable there than if I lay down so I made my way back to bed.   The next night I slept well enough to dream, well, two nightmares and one weird dream each punctuated by leg cramp, which is a regular night for me.

And that was almost it.  Almost.   As I said at the opening I was v.debilitated.  A few days of pacing around has got some of my strength and walking speed back up.  The ‘flu continues as I’ve started having sneezing fits, I’m now able to fill my lungs with air and sneeze.  But ..... about 4 days after I got back to dream sleep my legs have become swollen.  I’m now in a second day of this.  I don’t know if it’s a further progress of the ‘flu or a consequence of my Nurofen abuse and I don’t know if there’s any way of telling, short of it never subsiding.

Errrr ...... in case you hadn’t noticed, this has been a lot longer in the writing than I first anticipated,  covers abt a week and a half.        Hey ho.


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