Time to take a trip in the Wayback Machine, kittens!
We're goin' back, back, waaaaaaayyyyyy back to January 30, 2005. I had just returned from a weekend in Jersey. It was Grandma Cat's 90th birthday celebration, and I was with a bunch of relatives I only see once, maybe twice a year.
It was also a very cold, very dry winter, and my asthma was giving me trouble. LOTS of people had noticed it, including my colleagues at work. I was getting all sorts of comments from them and especially Mama Cat:
"You haven't been taking care of yourself!"
"I'm worried about you!"
"Your breathing's very heavy!"
"You've been wheezing a lot!"
"Did you get your flu shot this year?"
Well...no, I did not get my flu shot that year. I thought I was doing a good thing and donating my flu shot to some elderly person, even though I myself was in a high-risk flu category.
I just rolled my eyes at all of these comments. Yeah, I was worried about my asthma, and yes, I was using my rescue inhaler A LOT, but I thought, "Oh, I'll go to the doctor soon, whenever I get a chance."
Famous last words.
The night of January 30th, I was watching 60 Minutes, in the dark, with three blankets and my comforter on top of me. I had the worst chills in the world. A few hours later I got the worst frontal lobe migraine ever. I went to bed, and woke up at 2:30, literally gasping for air. But I grabbed my rescue inhaler, took a few puffs, and went right back to sleep.
The morning of January 31st arrived. I got up, showered, didn't feel quite right, but got ready for work anyway. Was having breakfast when I decided to call in sick. I called in sick, then reached for my inhaler. I took it, nothing happened.
So I took it again.
Next thing I knew, I could barely breathe.
I reached for the phone and dialed 911.
All I remember from that call is staring at a can of Pledge on my dining room table (I had dusted a few days earlier and never put it away), and thinking, "This is the last object I'm gonna see before I die."
The paramedics arrived very quickly. I met them downstairs; how I got downstairs without passing out is beyond me.
They put me on a stretcher and got me in the ambulance, and gave me oxygen. I was at the hospital in less than five minutes.
I arrived in the ER, was put behind the curtain, and the nurses immediately started me with the nebulizer, then hooked me up to a machine that took my vitals every half hour. They drew a few vials of blood.
Next thing I knew I was being wheeled to the X-rays, where they wanted to see if my lungs were cloudy, a sign of pneumonia. I was shivering, and had three freshly warmed towels on top of me.
I fell asleep after the X-rays.
A short time, or maybe a long time, later, the doctor woke me up, and said they were going to admit me.
A few hours later, I was in a room of my own, in a hospital bed.
Sister Kitten came to visit me that night, and brought several books with her. She went to my house and checked on the cats. I couldn't thank her enough. During her visit the nurse came and took my vitals, and saw that I ran a temp of 102. She ordered some more tests.
About an hour later, the nurse confirmed that I had the flu.
Mama Cat's words came back to haunt me: "Did you get your flu shot this year?"
I ended up staying in the hospital for four days and three nights. It took that long to get my breathing right, as well as the oxygen content in my blood to go up to above 90%. When I was admitted, I later learned, there was only 60% oxygen in my blood.
I was sent home with Advair, Tamiflu, and Prednizone. The Advair and the Prednizone were for the asthma; thank God I was only on the Prednizone for a week. It's not a pleasant drug to be on. I'll spare you the details.
Bottom line, kittens, here's what I learned from that episode: DON'T EVER TAKE YOUR HEALTH FOR GRANTED. That's what happened to me. I could use the excuse that I was 28 and thought I was immortal, but it's not an excuse. I simply did not take care of myself, and I learned the hard way what can happen if I don't.
Since then, I get a flu and a pneumonia shot every year. I take my Advair every morning and night. My asthma is well under control now.
I bug the heck out of my doctor's office, and the company nurse, whenever flu season rolls around, since I need that flu shot. Yeah, they may get tired of my nagging, but there's a good reason for it...
...simply put, that flu shot saves me not only a trip to the ER, but very well may save my life.
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