Last week I caught a cold.
Well technically since the incubation period for the common cold is seven to ten days, I probably caught the cold the week before last.
Last week the symptoms began to manifest themselves.
You know the drill: itchy irritated nose and throat, watery eyes, runny nose, sinus swelling and congestion, mild cough, and sneezing.
Stupid fucking sneezing.
I saw the first signs of the cold on Wednesday night. I got up the next morning and slogged through my day at the office on Thursday, no biggie.
By the time we were clearing the supper dishes that evening I already knew that going to work the next morning and going to class downtown on Friday night, were out of the question. Hey, when you feel like crap the last thing you need is a seventeen hour day.
Now before anyone rolls their eyes and starts with the sarcastic “poor baby” comments usually reserved for the sympathy-seeking man-cold, remember that I’m living with Congestive Heart Failure.
With my ejection fraction in the low 20% range my heart pumps at about one-third the output of a normal person’s, therefore everything hits me harder.
I get a cold? It knocks me on my ass.
It’s too hot out? It knocks me on my ass.
It’s too cold out? It knocks me on my ass.
I didn’t sleep well last night? It knocks me on my ass.
I’m not careful and ingest too much fluids? (I have a strict limit of 1.5 l/day) It makes me bloat up and yes you guessed it, that knocks me on my ass.
I get the flu? Well no actually, I can’t get the flu.
I don’t care what those wacko anti-vaxers say, I get my flu shot every fall as soon as it’s available. Because if I get the flu? No joke – I could die.
All this to say that when you live with CHF there’s a lot of things you need to be conscious of and careful about.
Sucks to be you dude but when does this story get funny?
Take a chill-pill Bill; I’m getting there. Besides I’m only at 350 words 😉
I’m lucky, I don’t get colds often and have only had a handful since my CHF diagnosis in 2011. Each time I do though, I go through my mental checklist. I remind myself of all of the over-the-counter cold remedies I can’t take because of possible contraindications with my regular heart meds.
Plus there’s all of the signs and symptoms they told me to keep an eye out for; warning signs that something seemingly minor is turning major, and that I’d need to get to the emergency room before it becomes critical.
Good news – this time around everything seems ‘normal’ – no need to panic. It’s just a common cold.
So I make the prudent decision to stay home, rest, sleep, and take it easy on Friday. By the time Honey gets home that evening I’m already feeling a bit better. If I do the same again the next day I’m pretty confident our date-night at the opera on Saturday is still a go.
Phew, it looks like I’m in the clear. Screw you universe, you’re not getting me yet.
And then I sneezed.
Then I sneezed again.
All tolled, three sneezes in rapid succession.
And right at the beginning of the ‘choo’ portion on the third sneeze I felt something in my rib-cage let go with a muted internal snap.
Suddenly, standing up straight was painful. Sitting was painful. Breathing was painful. Sneezing again, coughing, laughing? All excruciating.
I looked at Honey and saw the concern on her face when she saw the look on my face. “Something really feels not right – I better get this checked out.”
End result: mild/partial (thankfully) tear to some cartilage in the lower left part of my rib-cage.
Prognosis: I’ll survive. Full recovery may take 6-8 weeks though.
Treatment: rest, no sharp sudden movements, and no heavy lifting, which I can’t do anyway on account of weak heart.
Find comfy positions to sleep in and make sure I get my full eight hours a night.
Take permitted over-the-counter painkillers as needed.
The universe always gets the last laugh doesn’t it? CHF isn’t going to get me, but a damn sneeze will.
It feels so stupid. Crossing the road you do everything to keep an eye out for that big truck that might be coming, then Achoo! You end up getting hit by someone on a skateboard coming from the other direction.
It’s hilarious. I’d laugh, except it hurts too much 😀
By the way, aside from being extra fidgety in my seat trying to find comfortable positions for my aching ribs, the opera was great 🙂
So how was everyone else’s weekend?