I believe the last time I was hospitalized for an RSV infection was nearly two years ago, in January of 2017.
I’d been going relatively strong for 2018, but alas, one of my expected fears became reality, and Christmas weekend I increasingly felt off until I was able to see my primary doctor on Wednesday, where unsurprisingly, she took a listen and sent me off to the ER. It was more apparent to me that my body was failing me this time, as by Tuesday night, I felt like I was suffocating from standing up. I actually felt like my lungs almost disappeared, and deeply aware that there wasn’t much oxygen exchange happening. My shoulders were working double time to breathe for my lungs, and I kept bending over. I felt like I was perhaps dying, and prepared a few things before most likely heading to the ER. My doctor said she couldn’t hear movement at all in my right side and that there was a faint wheezing on my left, which probably meant I had pneumonia, and that I looked like I was going through respiratory failure.
We arrived at Morristown Hospital around 4pm, and it was less hectic than the last time, but still a shit ton of people waiting around. The process was so slow it felt agonizing, and I felt if I were going to die, I would have in that waiting room. My oxygen tank ran out, and I felt so terrible that any movement felt like I was making myself run 5 miles, except I couldn’t even gasp for air because there was no air to move in my tightened airways. My dad thankfully bugged them to move me up and give me another oxygen tank in the meantime, and finally we were moved to another waiting room area, and then wheeled to one of those stretcher curtain “rooms” where they drew blood, stuck an IV in, and I repeated answers to the same questions to about 7-8 different people. One doctor felt that I may or may not need to stay overnight, and a few hours later, I was wheeled into a proper room. We were there just over 24 hours when a respiratory room opened up, and there they put me on steroids and antibiotics for the first 2 days, then some doctor came and reversed that decision. For the most part, I really liked all the nurses and doctors except for one douchey tall and young doctor. They much improved from 2 years ago imo.
There was nothing to do but wait it out to slowly improve (hopefully). The amount of shittiness and exhaustion I felt made me thankful that while I’d been complaining about being out of breath going up the stairs, I was now aware of what it felt like to be short of breath at rest too, which was beyond terrifying and all I could focus on.
Anyway, I was hospitalized from December 26, to January 31, 2018. A couple people visited me, but it was very low key. Very glad I was able to be discharged before the New Year, even if I somewhat begged for it. My best friend came over, and we passed a very chill new year’s in my family room. My brain has been foggy all week, so I didn’t really have time to process that it’s 2019 now.
I spent the past few days in bed on oxygen almost 24/7, and still feel winded from getting up to pee. My oxygen drops dangerously to 88% when I do so, which is really bad and I start to feel a hint of that suffocation. I need my normal baseline back off oxygen saturation at 96% rest, and 90% in motion.
Overall, I’m pleased with 2018, it’s been a relatively good year for me and my family and friends, so I hope 2019 is just as good or better. The particular reason why is probably that I have zero regrets. I usually stayed home during the winter months because was so careful not to risk catching anything, but that’s not really living. The whole cliche of alive, but not living. My particular anxiety was that I’d miss my friend Lauren’s surprise proposal since it was outdoors and the weather was raining. I considered skipping it, but couldn’t bear the idea of missing something so important. I don’t think I got ill from that event though, but it was such a great day that I think it’s worth getting sick for. One of the worst feelings is fomo, especially caused by something you have absolutely no control over, and is a repetitive cause. There are still so many things I’m scared about in my future, like dying, and experiencing what I felt this week on a permanent basis. But I also grew a lot in self-love and general life experience.
I don’t pray for luck or success, I pray for the motivation and inspiration to stay positive and gain success. If I could have a fraction of Claire Wineland’s spirit, I would consider myself blessed.