I woke up the next day and had trouble breathing. Not being able to catch my breath scared me. I worried about dying and worried that no one would really care whether I was alive or not. What did I really bring to the table anyway? I was scared and there wasn’t anyone who cared. I didn’t want to go back to work. I didn’t want this life. I didn’t want to be sick. I thought of how much harder life was going to be because I got sick. I found it harder to catch a breath.
I tried to go to another clinic, but they told me to go to the ER. Just the walk from the car to the clinic had taken a lot out of me. I felt like I could collapse. Maybe I needed someone to take me. I figured no one was available. No one was returning my messages. I drove myself to the ER. They immediately got me into a wheelchair, sent me through triage, and left me in the waiting room for an hour or more.
I tried to just breath. There was no point in letting anyone know I was there. What did it matter? I was finally brought into the ER and given a little room. It was good that I was alone; there was no place for anyone. Hey, they must understand I am sick. Maybe I am not making this stuff up. I knew I wasn’t, but it was hard to take any of my concerns seriously. I am not my own best judge.
I was alone. I was scared. I thought I might be dying. The gown felt comfortable. Having people around me felt comfortable. They didn’t really know me. They didn’t know that I wasn’t worth it yet. I had already texted the boys that I am in the hospital. No word. I cried. No one cared. I am just a nuisance. I got a breathing treatment; there was no real difference in my breathing. Chest x-ray, possible pneumonia.
I watched the television. Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, she was like a breath of fresh air. School was going to hate me. What is the point of anything? Try to just calm yourself down. Distract yourself. I started to get texts; maybe the boys cared. I am just a nobody. Whether I am here or not impacts no one.
The ER doctor tells me that my pulse oxygen is way to low. She is going to admit me. I let school know. No use fighting. Lay back….surrender. I try to be as kind to my nurses as possible. It isn’t their fault I am here. Make their life as easy as possible.
The hospital room was cold and sterile. I was by myself. I had a TV and a window. As hospital rooms go, it was actually pretty nice. I kept getting poked and prodded. The boys knew I was there and were coming to visit. I should probably let my Dad know, but that could wait. I just focused on my breath.
I got dinner sent to me right before the kitchen closed. I was starving, but I had to eat slowly. I gasped for air in between bites. My arm was hooked up to an IV of fluids and antibiotics. My oxygen was set at 6 liters. People kept swinging in and out: repertory for a breathing treatment, a nurse for meds, and an aide for vitals.
I calmed down when I saw Max and Alex come in. They were covered with a mask, just like masks and robes covered the medical staff. Did I have Ebola? Seeing them made me feel better, although I hadn’t wanted them to see me this way. They were a little scared. I think we were all wondering what we could really do.
I eventually called my father. He was concerned and said he would come by the next day. I wasn’t so sure if they wouldn’t send me home the next day. I told him I would keep him posted. He said he would let my sister know.
Tests came back and showed that my bronchitis was viral. It was rhinovirus, but they wanted to take precaution to make sure it was the enterovirus the news was going on about. I had breathing treatments every four hours. The first night I was hot and miserable. I felt like I was in a constant hot flash. I couldn’t get comfortable and I couldn’t sleep.
I tried to be as positive and upbeat for the nurses and medical staff. I figured they already had so much on their plate. I rarely hit the nurse button. I tried not to think about all the extra work I would have on my plate going back to school. I felt so guilty not being at school. I watched the television, which was nice because I didn’t have it at home, but then I realized that it brought my energy down.
It became clear quickly that they were going to keep me for some time. Each check of my lungs and pulse oxygen didn’t really improve that much. My sister came in early the next morning. She was with her husband, on their way to a doctor’s appointment. She was super upset. I told her she didn’t have to worry; I was fine. She left a cold Diet Dr. Pepper. One of the things most patients in the hospital go through is caffeine withdraw. I had a killer headache, and sipping on it helped out.
I continued to try and chill out. I was bored and tired. My father visited for a little bit. The boys would come by every night. By the third day, I was ready to jump ship but the doctor refused to let me go. I was still on 4 liters of oxygen and a walk I took earlier in the day left me out of breath. Alex was almost ready to just take me, but we just relaxed and let everything run its course.
By the last day, I learned a lot. I was so concerned without being a bother, that I slept the first night in a room that was 75 degrees. I sleep in a house that is 65 degrees, so no wonder I was burning up. I found the thermostat on my own during that second day and turned it down. When I mentioned it to a nurse, I also got a fan. I got a chair on my last day that should have been there the first day. I realized that I wasn’t advocating for myself.
I developed a reputation, according to my nurses, of being super sweet. That felt nice, but why did they I care if they liked me or not? Why wasn’t my comfort important to myself? I learned that being sick sucked, but once you are there you have to surrender to the patience it takes to heal. Feeling guilty or bad about yourself only makes everything miserable.
I did this to myself. I had burned the candle at both ends. What did I need to learn from this? The boys came in the last night and told me that I had to release the guilt of not being at school. It was killing me. I felt like I was letting everyone down. It hung on me like a brick. I had already burned through half of my sick days. How was I going to make it through the year?
Max and Alex reminded me that I didn’t owe the school or the students anything. I was more important. I was a “good girl.” Nothing I had done was wrong. Eventually, I was able to release it. I had to because it was killing me. My energy began to lift and I turned off the television and focused only on meditation and raising my vibration.
On the last day, one of the aides helped me get off the oxygen and build up my strength. She convinced the nurse of my progress and the doctor finally agreed to let me go. The boys picked me up and I spent the night at their house. I felt well. I was healing.
I spent nearly the entire week in the hospital. I had to return to the doctor on Monday to be released back to work. On Sunday, I went through a horrible downward spiral. If the doctor said I could go back the next day, I would have to drive to work from the doctor’s office and work through the night to get ready. I didn’t know if I could do it. Would I have enough strength? I was in a fowl mood.
At the appointment, the doctor told me that I would have to be off the next week. She said it could take 4-6 weeks to recover. I only had five sick days left. She said that I might have to go back part time, or push to have the students carry the weight of the class. My voice was already gone at this point. I knew that any teacher who walks into a classroom at anything less than full force is a walking nightmare. The students feed on energy. When they know a teacher’s energy is weak, they push it because they can.
I called off work and had a fellow teacher help create the sub plans. My school email already had notes related to prepping for our teaching evaluations. One section of it is based solely on attendance. Even though I was hospitalized, I would be marked down as ineffective in that area. It was hard not to be upset, but knowing that I had the rest of the week off improved my outlook.
I tried hard during the course of the week to just relax, have fun, and rest.