The path of this illness is assuredly not linear. At least not in any comforting way. After 36 hrs of feeling less acutely ill - more oxygenated on beginning the steroids - yesterday I actually felt horrendous once again.
To its credit, the prednisone prevents the inspirational stridor, more or less, during the day - that, plus hydration, plus inertia, plus the tiniest vitamins I can stand to take, plus (theoretical ingestion of) food. At night, however, all bets are off.
I won't go into the minutiae, and I will optimistically suggest that there seems to have been a notable change in the last 8 hours in terms of the quantity and viscosity of mucous surrounding my larynx - (again, can't afford to read too much into anything) - but yesterday evening and last night were incredibly difficult.
Being woken from sleep in the grip of suffocation is, quite simply, a horror. When I think of babies and young children going through this, well, I have no words.
No question, this illness is presenting more extremely in me than it does in many (though not all) adults. But I'm truly amazed by how sick I feel.
When all of this is over, I do intend to write a post for any adult sufferer who finds him- or herself desperate from sickness and afraid in the middle of the night (or day).
Right now, all I can do is talk it through in the easier moments.
I am phenomenally tired. After a stridor fit, which compels me to jump up and disjointedly walk until it subsides, I'm almost too exhausted to find my way back to bed. In truth, the stridor seems to happen as I wake from sleep even in the day, but I have to sleep occasionally. I imagine that, the reason I shake after these attacks is a combo of fear, lack of oxygen and adrenaline, but I've only ever felt this way once before - immediately after an unmedicated delivery of my child (which was not without complications). After the fit, it's all I can do to keep myself awake, because I'm fucking afraid. To mitigate things, I do manage to get a couple of hours of rest in the day (over a few naps).
Scott talks me through it in the moment. So does Hilary. The two of them have been rallying me through the acute phase, giving me confidence. In times like this, that confidence is gold. Family and friends send cards, email and call on a regular basis to offer additional support. I am SO grateful.
I won't lie, my spirits have been very low. By comparison, the broken foot incident of 2010 was a psychological piece of cake. Exhaustion is unkind. Inertia is dulling. I have little mental energy to do anything other than shore myself up for the next challenge. Scott forced me to walk up the block yesterday to get a coffee. Happy note to reader: Black coffee is a bronchostimulator and its tarry acridness can help to dislodge mucous. I have spent quite a bit of time on the back porch lately, inhaling cold air, which weirdly seems to help. Walking was like sitting 2.0. It was stupidly tiring, but I did feel more human than I have in a while. Today, he tells me we're going out again - this time down the block. Since we live in hipsterville Toronto, there's espresso 5 minutes in every direction.
At any rate, these TMI sickie posts are partly to leave me with a chronicle of the experience (this is the way I chart my life), partly to keep you all posted (as you've been so wonderful with emails and comments), partly to continue in the vane of the PSA, and partly to occupy my time.
Right now, I do feel optimistic. I know I am getting better. I know that this will leave me with a new perspective on my world, and myself. The only way out is through. So onward.