To make matters worse, Josh and I simultaneously came down with the flu on a Friday. When the coughing and chills began, I was kicking myself because this was the one year I didn't march myself down to the clinic to get my yearly flu shot. After the dramatic showcase that was last year's flu shot with our kids, I just couldn't bring myself to repeat the nightmarish experience. I rationalized that the flu season was over, and that we had weathered the worst of it. Boy, was I wrong!
Saturday night as I was tossing and turning in bed with aches, chills and a fever, I thought I pulled a muscle on my right shoulder blade - starting at the top of my shoulder and going all the way down to the small of my back. It happens every so often, usually in my neck, but this was so painful I had to sit with a heating pad for relief! Little did I know, this was most likely the beginnings of my lungs filling with an infection that one week later would land me in the hospital. All of us ended up getting some sort of flu, but I was the only one who didn't get better after a couple days.
I went to the doctor on Sunday. I was coughing, my chest was tight, and the back pain was so painful, I had to sleep sitting straight up. Following a few questions and a quick listen with the stethoscope, the doctor sent me on my way with a Z-pack, some cough medicine with codeine, and some pain medicine for my back. On Wednesday, one day shy of finishing the Z-pack, I went back to the clinic again. I wasn't feeling better, I was feeling worse, and I was coughing up a caramel-colored mucus, which didn't seem right to me. I was getting nervous now, and I knew something was wrong with me.
Again the doctor listened to my lungs, she asked a few questions. In the waiting room there were several elderly patients who looked, sounded and described the same symptoms as mine. They were quickly whisked downstairs to the ER. I was put on a nebulizer, and given an inhaler to "help clear things up". Like putting out a fire with a spray bottle...
By Thursday night, both Josh and I were scared. I vomited twice, was having trouble breathing, my color was gray, and my lips looked purple. I had been down sick for an entire week. DOWN. SICK. That has never happened to me! Josh was almost fully recovered (thank goodness) from his flu bug. I spoke to my mother-in-law on the phone, and she sounded very concerned and suggested that I might have pneumonia and should go to the hospital. I remember telling her, "Annette, I have never felt so sick in my entire life."
That night my angel mother-in-law hastily packed her bags, got in her car early that morning and drove straight through from Utah to our home to help us. Her selfless service these past few weeks in picking up our family (right where we fell) and caring for them overwhelms me with gratitude. Josh fixed me a lunch of soup and apples, Annette pulled in the driveway, and minutes later Josh loaded me in the car to visit the doctor again. Little did I know, that would be the last time I would see my kids or my home for over two weeks!
We arrived at the familiar Ready Care, checked in, explained my symptoms, only this time when the nurse came out to see me, her expression was different. She touched my arms, which were cold and clammy and said, "Yeah, we're taking you downstairs. Right now."