I have been laid low by acute bronchitis. Started with a cold about three weeks ago, then after two days of feeling almost well, I got sick again. My medical book defines bronchitis as the inflammation of the upper airways, commonly following an upper respiratory infection, usually viral. Diagnosis is clinical, treatment is supportive.
I have given myself all the support I can muster—rest, copious amounts of my special herbal ‘cough’ tea, cough lozenges, breathing steam from hot water laced with eucalyptus leaves and lavender oil. Still, I cough. I will spare you the details of what I actually cough up. If it weren’t for less coughing these past two nights, I would be in utter despair as, here on day 9, I feel almost no better. My tea, by the way, is made of dried mullein leaves, Echinacea flowers, mint, and I forget what else, all from my garden last summer. These herbs are said to be good for coughs.
I am weak. Paroxysms of coughing tear though my chest, send pains shooting through my head, make me wet my pants, and leave me with a pounding heart, trembling body, and completely exhausted. My lower rib muscles are so sore I reflexively guard when I feel a cough coming on. Oddly enough, I have not lost my appetite, or enjoyment of coffee in the morning and wine in the evening. Here’s to the persistence of those small pleasures.
Looking for illustrations of bronchitis for this piece, I am perturbed and disturbed by the violence of the inflammation in my poor little bronchi. No wonder I am so miserable. It is amazing that I am breathing! But not amazing that the product of my well-functioning kidneys (made more abundant by the quantities of tea I am taking in) leaks no matter how hard I try to prevent it almost every time a paroxysm arrives. On that note, I would have been hesitant to discuss this, but were it not for a description I saw on the internet by a much younger woman about her bronchitis, wherein she complained about this annoyance. I was gladdened to know my trouble wasn’t all due to getting older (I am still not using ‘old’—am not accepting that I am there yet) as I had feared. Seems her ad-mission gave me courage and per-mission which is, I realize, one of the purposes of writing one’s thoughts and experiences. Why else do we like to read about someone else’s perceptions and experiences? To know we are human, we are not alone, we are not crazy, to learn something…
The psychological effects assault as well. I am dismayed that my body failed me, my wonderful immune system. What happened! What did I do wrong? (Can we get away from blaming ourselves?) I feel betrayed. And this illness is not even that serious in the spectrum of human ailments. So, I do what others do and turn to asking if there is a lesson in this. Well, certainly, I am reminded that I am vulnerable and that is good. I am forced to slow down, something I don’t like to do at all. I have gotten a lot of book sorting and skimming done. I started my holiday cards. But I look at the garden and long to be out in it cleaning up for the winter. I hold on to the faith that I will get better based on memories of prior illnesses and knowing that most people seem to be reasonably well most of the time.
Don’t take anything for granted and stay well as best you can.