Actually it's been nearly three weeks, but this last one has been the week from hell.
Three weeks ago on a bright sunny 90degF day Jan and I went shopping. When we went in the grocery store at Walmart there were a few black clouds off to the west and I remember commenting to Jan that we will probably get a thunder bumper later this evening...was I wrong...Between browsing around in Walmart & grocery shopping we were in the store about 1.5 hours and by the time we came out the temp had dropped to about 60degF and it was raining like a hurricane storm. By the time we got our stuff in the car I was soaked to the skin and on the way home I started having chills. As soon as I got home, maybe 20 minutes later, I got dried off, changed clothes and was warmed up again so I didn't think anything abut it.
Later that evening I started getting a lot of mucouse in my nose and a few light sneezes, but I still didn't think it was a big deal because I have a super strong immune system and I can usually fight these things off in a day.
Now the stuffy nose was no problem because, as many of you already know, I have COPD. I just laid down on the bed and hooked up my oxygen with a nose cannula. That oxy blowing through the nasal passage tends to keep it dry and open.
The next morning I went out to the kitchen for my morning coffee and while sitting there I started sneezing again, only this time it was not those cute little sneezes we usually have. These were violent, body shaking sneezes and came a dozen at a time in rapid succession. Fast forward an hour and I started sneezing again, the same way. By this time my rib musles were so sore that even taking a shallow breath was an effort, so back to bed and the oxygen. I ocntinued to have those bouts of sneezes about once an hour until well into the next day. Add to that, I have a persistant cough from the COPD but even the slightest cough caused my rib area to hurt till I almost had tears in my eye and by this time the pain in my ribs was constant.
The next morning I was awakened because I literally could not breathe. I was still having the sneezes plus congestion had now settled in my lungs so I was coughing terribly. There I was sitting on the side of the bed, caughing terribly and gasping for air literally like a fish out of water, even though I had the oxygen on. I got my meter and checked my blood oxygen level and it was down to 79% even with the oxygen on. I managed to turn the oxygen flow rate up to about twice my normal level and I told Jan I needed to go to the hospital.
I ended up with 18hours in the intensive care unit followed by two days in the hospital taking respiratory therapy. When I first went in I told the doctor in the ER about the pain in my ribs and intercostal muscles so he sent me for an MRI. After I got out of the intensive care and was on the ward the doctor came in and asked if my ribs still hurt? And I replied that they were still killing me...to which he replied, "I don't wonder, the MRI reveals that you caughed & sneezed so violently that you broke one rib and crack two more on your left side, and cracked one on the right side, but what I am even more concerned about is that your diaphram was torn partially loose on the left side. It is not at a point where it can't heal itself, but you can be sure that area is going to be tender for about 4 to 6 weeks."
Then he said, "By the way, I got your lab tests back, you don't need to worry about taking the flu shot this year, you just beat the toughest flu there is."
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