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Most of this is a letter I wrote to my friend, responding to an email she'd sent when I was sick... details after the fold.

Secondarily- I meant it when I said get (you and K) and J (the baby) the shot(s) for flu. I would have called you when you sent this email, but have been laid out on the couch since Sunday. The flu I thought I recovered from turned into bronchitis and pleurisy, shortness of breath, wheezing and rales, necessitating a visit to the ER with the full workup and being sent home with about 5 meds-major antibiotics, NSAIDS, vitamins, breathing treatments and painkillers, and only tonight have I not felt like hammered shit. I really thought, and was quite frightened, when (my husband) literally carried me into the hospital, that I actually might die of flu complications, of all things. One of the good things about that visit, if there can be one, was that my nurse could curse like a sailor, with eloquence and grace.

Upside is, (my husband) has been devoted in helping me turn over or got me up out of bed when it hurt too much to do so by myself and also fed the animals when I couldn't lift the feed sacks, and me when I could barely swallow- chicken noodle soup and ice cream. He even managed to duplicate Souper Salad's Tuna Skroodle down to the last flavor. I don't know what I would've done without him if I'd had this way back when nobody was taking care of me...god bless a good husband. I still can't really cough without a pillow to hold, and he's still helping me sit/stand up when the meds are waning. Get the shots, lady. You can damn sure bet I will next time.

I spent a week (after I thought I was over the flu) trying to treat this with Aleve, Motrin, vitamins, and Benadryl. Didn't work. My best friend and also my husband, both paramedics, as I was once, kept trying to tell me this was more serious, but I kept insisting that I could manage it, that we couldn't do anything else.

The hospital we went to is a small community hospital about 45 miles from here- we don't have a hospital here any longer. I told them straight up- I have no health insurance and no job, therefore no income. They said, we understand. No problem. And I really got the full workup, no pay at the counter, no we can't treat you, and I feel better today.

I could have gone to the clinic here in town two days earlier, but I was so convinced that I shouldn't create a paper trail to a pre-existing condition, or that we couldn't afford whatever it would take. I was wrong. Those are the feelings that healthcare for everyone should be able to eliminate- panic, worry, waiting til it's really expensive.

I got lucky, just to be treated so professionally despite my ability to pay. I'm getting better and I'm gonna live. Everyone should.

Originally posted to postmodernista on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 02:57 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good news that you're recovering (8+ / 0-)

    and that you were able to get the treatment you needed.

  •  Thanks for posting this... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, myrealname, postmodernista

    It might help the rest of us avoid waiting too long.  It sounds like you had a very nasty flu--and a scary close call.  So glad you're on the mend.

    So... this was just seasonal flu-- not H1N1?

    •  don't think so (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jiffykeen, gmb, PsychoSavannah, marykk, juca

      I don't believe they tested for that- I was seen and treated within 2 1/2 hours, but the antibiotic course is helping, which makes me think that it was just the plain old flu.

      But who dies of the flu? If you read, you know that plenty of people do, and I thought that I might be one of them at that moment but not before, just out of pure stubborness- I not as sick as some folks, don't need to take up the time of the professionals, might not help anyway.... stupid, stupid, stupid.

      •  Glad you're recovering (13+ / 0-)

        the antibiotic course is helping, which makes me think that it was just the plain old flu

        but antibiotics combat bacteria, not viruses, including the flu.  Of course, virus can make us vulnerable to bacterial infections.
        I'm sorry you had to plead for help at a hospital rather than just go knowing you had a right to treatment.  Here in Norway everyone always knows they will get all the medical treatment they need at nominal or no cost, as simple as vær så god.

        "... it wasn't so much the underworld you had to fear as the overworld." ~Ian Rankin

        by Andhakari on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 03:28:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Secondary infections are what kill people. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terabytes

          Flus weaken the immune system, then common bugs such as strep do the tissue damage.

          Google [ jim henson 1990 death ] for a typical example, where a simple low-temp illness turned deadly.

          Henson was in North Carolina, if memory serves. He went to a doctor. The symptoms did not indicate a bacteria infection.

          By the time he got to New York Hospital, a couple weeks later, he was dying of strep in his lungs. Same flavor of the bug as Scarlet Fever.

          Erythromycin is one first-rate inexpensive antibiotic for strep. There's strep everywhere. So common in the general environment, you really can't get away from it.

          Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

          by vets74 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 08:01:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Who dies of the flu? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sidnora, PsychoSavannah

        Several thousand people a year, actually.

        Glad you're not one of them. Thanks for the POV.

        neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

        by khereva on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 04:09:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even folks who are aware (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fury, khereva

          of that stat often think it refers to infants, the elderly, and others with compromised immune systems. I'm here to concur with postmodernista (glad you're on the mend!), plain old seasonal flu can be plenty scary, even for otherwise healthy people in their primes.

          The LH got the flu once, when he was in his early 30's and otherwise healthy as a horse. He ran a fever of 105, was delirious, it was the middle of the night, and I had to call a doctors-on-call service to the house (otherwise I'd have had to call an ambulance). Thank God, by the time the doc arrived his fever had broken (down to a mere 101.5) and the crisis was past. But he was still in bed for about a week, and he lost 15 pounds in 10 days.

          Another healthy single young male friend was so sick he had to go stay at his parents' house because he was too ill to take care of himself.

          Flu is no joke. I'm over 55 and I take the shot every year. I'll be having it next Weds.

          The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

          by sidnora on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 07:01:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, it's probably in the hundreds . . . (0+ / 0-)

          most die from something else - for example, from opportunistic bacterial infections (which seems to be the case in this situation, as antibiotics seemed to be helping the recovery . . .)

      •  If you had it to do over... (0+ / 0-)

        at what point would you go to the Dr.?  I've heard of other cases where people wait-- to the point where it is sometimes too late-- saying to themselves, "It's just the flu, the Dr. can't help, anyway."

        I wonder how we know when the flu turns dangerous, possibly life-threatening?

  •  I'm glad you're on the mend post. (3+ / 0-)

    What a fright you've been through.  Good for you for making something positive out of it; warning others and making a point of lessons learned.  Sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise.  July of '08 I fell, dislocated my shoulder and fractured my humerus in three places resulting in surgery to place two pins for 6 weeks.  It was one of those common household accidents you always hear about, but I warned everyone that would listen.  Shortly afterward my brother nearly bought it in a near miss of a fall and has learned a lifelong lesson from it.  

    Continue to take things slow and easy for awhile; you don't need a relapse.  Thanks for the diary.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. - John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 03:28:58 AM PST

    •  determind might=misstep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Calamity Jean

      As someone with a better than average grasp of medical knowledge, I really thought that I could manage this. I could not- mostly because I had no access to Rx scrips without the panic attached to the $$ of seeing a doctor. When we solve that problem, maybe we've solve most of the rest of the problems.

  •  My understanding (6+ / 0-)

    Is that testing has revealed virtually no seasonal flu, and that it is H1N1 in virtually every case tested.

    So it might not have been "plain old flu" after all.

    My son is getting over a case right now.

    He had the H1N1 immunization on Thursday, came down with symptoms on Tuesday. To soon for the immunization to have any effect. He had the seasonal immunization about a month ago.

    My daughter got the first H1N1. (She needs two, and can't get number two until the end of this month.)

    I was lucky enough to get the first one at work a week ago Thursday. It takes 10 days to start having an effect.

    My Wife still hasn't been able to get one.

    Economic Left/Right: -7.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.33 . "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people"

    by wrights on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 03:35:16 AM PST

    •  for reals and trues? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jiffykeen

      I'm pretty much alone, every day- I don't think I was exposed to anythihg til I worked on my dad's auction, then in the hospital with my stepmom (She fell, badly, nearly died). I came down with it three days after the auction. Who knows?

      •  Yeah, who knows? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jiffykeen, postmodernista

        They aren't bothering to test anymore, because H1N1 is epidemic.

        And what you describe is common. People get real sick or die from complications that arise after the flu.

        I'm very glad you are feeling better, and hope you get health care insurance.

        It's the right thing to do, and Congress needs to do it.

        Economic Left/Right: -7.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.33 . "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people"

        by wrights on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 03:44:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I had the flu too and just as I thought it was (5+ / 0-)

    going away I started having respiratory issues and shooting head pains. I was fortunate to be able to see a doctor yesterday who said it wasn't brochitis but all she could do is tell me to take cough drops. I've been sick for two weeks now!

    "instead of believing in science, we believe in crazy hokus pokus. It's like Kansas" -Prof. Farnsworth

    by last starfighter on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 03:40:17 AM PST

  •  Ya know.... (7+ / 0-)

    I had that thing, couldn't breath, coughing, sick as a dog and weak as a baby.  No healthcare, no husband and no nice hospital to care for me.  This was almost a month ago and I'm still feeling the effects 'cause I couldn't afford the urgent care visit or an ER visit.  For me it was over-the-counter medicine, round the clock sleep (had to lose half a day of work-no work no pay, not to mention infecting my co-workers because if you're out a couple of days, it could be the end of the job) and lots of chicken noodle soup.  
    I have worked my entire life, mostly underpaid and over-used and mostly without healthcare benefits.
    I'm getting older and medicare is looking better and better.  Too bad there isn't something in place like it for younger people.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't ask!/don't tell!

    by Lilyvt on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 05:23:52 AM PST

  •  One of my colleagues (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, vets74, terabytes

    came down with the flu two weeks ago. It was confirmed to be H1N1. She was in hospital for a week, stayed at home for another week, and looks like a limp noodle now. She has a hard time standing while teaching. She's 47, and normally very vivacious, so it really took the wind out of her.

    The rest of us were told to get flu shots, so we did. From all I've heard, H1N1 is just plain horrible. I'll pass on it, thanks.

    Glad you're OK.

    The gentleman values harmony, not uniformity; the small man values uniformity, not harmony. -- Confucius (early pundit)

    by wheatdogg on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 06:10:51 AM PST

    •  I had swine flu in the 70's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      big annie, vets74

      and wound up in the hospital. Very bad flu. I've gotten flu shots every year since except one...when I wound up in bed for three weeks with the flu.

      I've had the seasonal flu shot but not H1N1. I'm just trying to minimize my exposure as much as possible. I'm also taking Vitamin C powder in juice any time I start feeling a little scratchy or run down, plus trying to hydrate more than usual.

      One thing I'll mention is that, when my sister had complications from a very nasty upper respiratory infection a few months ago, they told her the OTC stuff she had been taking (the Nyquil, cold meds, etc.) had actually made her worse. They said the next time she felt an upper respiratory infection coming on, to take Mucinex DM with lots of water. So that's what I took when I started feeling sick last week, and I got better. Knock on wood.

  •  I had flu this summer. Likely H1N1. (0+ / 0-)

    Down for a full week.

    -- Stay hydrated. Drink everything that fits in a glass.

    -- If you don't need to pee, you're not drinking enough.

    -- Full dose with Erythromycin. Just assume that when you get flu, you are also going to fall victim to strep, staph, something nasty out of the bacterial community.

    -- Sleep.

    -- I take aspirin. All these drugs have pros and cons. Aspirin, for me, lowers blood pressure and makes sleeping easier.

    -- Do joga -- particularly the breathing exercises, but also the stretching. Stretching assists your muscles at getting the lymph system pumping to clean you out. Joga and the lymph system (heart) each other.

    -- Do audio books. I pulled out an ancient set of cassette tapes with Jerry Falwell reading the New Testament. His politics beyond suck-sucked, but he dearly loved the King James. Listening to him taught me a lesson about tolerance toward people such as Jerry Falwell.

    Keep in mind that this too, even flu, shall pass.

    I was amazed that it ended in a week. Maybe I had residual immunity from childhood flu way-way-way 50+ years back. Lost 8 pounds -- still down 3 pounds.

    Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 08:14:36 AM PST

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