Pneumonia is Serious

Finally, the summer of ought-six came to a close and it was back to school again, but about 2 weeks into the ten week quarter, I began to run a low grade fever.  It was strange.  I don’t run low grade fevers.  But I did this time.  I kept doing the school stuff but one weekend morning—a Saturday, I think—I woke to a temperature of a 104.  I felt crappy and a little scared.  I hadn’t had symptoms of a cold exactly, more just plain fatigue.


So I went to the walk in clinic with Carol and when they heard they had a sixty year old guy with a 104 fever they took me in almost immediately.  I had a doctor I had never seen before.  But he seemed to know his stuff and said we should get an x-ray.  So I walked down the corridor, sat, got an x-ray, walked back to the little room I had been in before with the doctor and he came in and said I had pneumonia.  He gave me a shot of something and a prescription for anti-biotics and said he was sending me home, rather than to the hospital because going to the hospital, with all the crap floating around in those places, was more dangerous than just going home.  Sleep, the doctor said, and don’t let yourself get dehydrated.

Of course pneumonia comes in both a viral and a bacterial form.  The antibiotics would help with bacteria but not necessarily with the virus.  I don’t know what kind I had, but the temperature went down in about 24 hours though it still hovered around 100.  Maybe the temperature had peaked on its own or maybe the anti-biotics helped.  Funny, but even with the fever I still had an appetite.

When you say you have pneumonia people look at you funny because pneumonia is serious business.  I didn’t really know what kind of serious it was.  I managed to have to cancel only one day of class, in the middle of all this; on another, I had a colleague show a video for me.  So I missed two days over two weeks I guess.  And slowly I understood why pneumonia is serious.  It just knocks the stuffing right out of you.  I had no energy.  Period.  I would drag my ass over to teach and as soon as I was done, I would drag my ass back and lie down.  It was like I needed a fork lift for my ass; it was dragging so bad.

And the crap just wouldn’t go away.  I had made an appointment—as I was told do—with my pulmonary doctor before the pneumonia hit.  So after I had seen my regular doctor about the pneumonia, we planned out that I would see the pulmonary guy to have a final check.  So I went and they x-rayed me again.  The doctor said I had pneumonia alright; the lungs were still a little inflamed.  And then he told me I had a bit of asthma.

Well, damn.  He had a doctor in training in the room with him, and he said to her, “Now what is the one thing Mr. Tingle can do to most improve his pulmonary health.”  Before she could reply, I said, “You mean other than stop this damn smoking.”  So one thing led to another and I was actually up and pacing the room on a rant about all I had tried to do over the years to stop smoking.  And I wanted help I said.  And the doc said this and then he said that, and I said I have tried all of the things you have recommended and that I didn’t understand why if cigarette smoking is as horrible as it is supposed to me why the hell couldn’t I check into like a Betty Ford clinic for three weeks to have a running chance at getting off the “shit.”  And I apologized for my language.

And then I apologized for my rant.  Thank goodness, the doctor, who himself looks like a stroke ready to happen, said my rant had been funny really.

Carol—who was there—said, yea it had been sort of funny, like watching a person ready to burst into tears at any second, and walking right up to the edge of the cliff and then veering away.

I don’t have a pneumonia picture, so here’s one of WB’s one good shed up on the Delridge property.

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