What I learned from walking pneumonia

September was a crappy month for me this year.sick-day

August 31st (I remember this because it’s his birthday) my husband came home from work feeling sick. The following day, I picked my 5th grader up from his third day of school and he came home and threw up in the driveway. The day after that I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Flu all the way around.

We packed up the other two kids and sent them off to the grandparents for a couple of days. After two days of days barely moving from the couch, I felt like I was returning to normal and could function again. I resumed most of my normal mom activities, making food for everyone, doing laundry, driving everyone wherever they were supposed to go, attempting to work when I had blocked off work time.

Guess what? I still felt crappy. It got to the point where I couldn’t lie down without having a coughing fit so sleep wasn’t quite working out for me. Good times! All the other sickies in my house recovered from what ailed them. I still felt awful.  I WebMD diagnosed myself with walking pneumonia. I could hear crackling in my lungs every time I took a breath. I could not stop coughing.  This is the thing about walking pneumonia.  You can still “walk around”. You don’t feel bad enough that you can’t get yourself out of bed. You feel okay enough to still live your life somewhat normally, but you’re not okay.

I went to the doctor who initially did not agree with my self-diagnosis and gave me a prescription cough medicine with codeine so that I could sleep. It didn’t work and the coughing fits continued except now I felt dizzy and loopy on top of it.

I went BACK to the doctor when I was still not getting better and finally got some antibiotics and slowly started to recover. Yay!

Yay for antibiotics!

Yay for antibiotics!

EVEN NOW, several weeks later.  My stamina is not back to where it was before. I have been training my group of new runners and find that my lungs are still saying “whoa, ok calm it down, lady” after workouts that would have seemed quite easy to me a few months ago.

The important thing is that I am better and I am getting back to normal, slowly but surely.  I learned some valuable lessons from this last month.

 I am immensely thankful for parents who are willing to drop everything and watch my kids, health care, insurance and antibiotics. I realize how fortunate I am to have access to all of these things whenever I need them! And none of these should be taken for granted, ever.

Trusting your intuition is smart. We all get those feelings in our gut about all kinds of different things. I like to think of myself as a highly logical person and sometimes I tend to drown out my gut feelings with pros and cons and reason.  A few months ago, I had planned to run a half marathon in October. I have done this for the past two Octobers and had so much fun training and actually running the race. Out of habit, I made myself a training schedule this summer and got ready to do it again. Around mid-August, I took a step back and had a conversation with myself. I wasn’t as excited about training this time around as I had been in the past. It felt like something I was making myself do instead of something I really wanted to do. I asked myself if committing to the training schedule was doable. Doable? Yes. Enjoyable? Hmmm not really. Was this really important to me? I’m gonna go with “no”. Just like that, I decided not to do the half marathon this year.  Sounds like it’s not such a big deal, but to me it was. I remember LAST year thinking “If the Half happens and I am not running it, I will be really sad.” THIS year, my sentiment had changed so I changed my plan. My intuition was “not this year”. After the month that I just had, I am SO glad that I didn’t commit to running because I would have lost three weeks of training and been really, really bummed.

Listen to your body. You know when something isn’t right. Don’t ignore it. It struck me that I find this easy to do for my kids, but not as easy for myself. Between the three of them, I have made dozens of pediatrician visits because something just seemed off to me. Most of the time I was right. I had a harder time convincing myself that something was off with me. (What’s up, Stubborn.) Sometimes it’s hard to stop and listen when there’s so much busyness around you and you just want to get on with things and ignore whatever your body is trying to tell you. Stop and listen.

Rest is your secret weapon. We spend all of our time being strong for everyone else around us. Doing and doing and serving and serving and going and going. Resting seems like one of those “I don’t have time for it” things. If you want to remain strong and continue to take care of everyone else around you, rest is vital. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or lazy or neglecting your family.  You actually are human. What? I know.

Good riddance, September and all your yuckiness, on to better things!

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