I'll be back later with more but I've been up for 36 hours straight - many of those hours spent in 2 hospitals. The good news is that they think they've figured out what I've got going on: pertussis. They won't know for sure till the nasal swab comes back, at which point it will probably be all but gone. I have a lot to say about this revelation but I leave you with this PSA as I try to get some desperately needed rest:
If you were born in the early 70s or before, chances are your pertussis vaccine has worn off. Do NOT wait another minute to call your doctor and schedule a re-vaccination. Seriously, if it costs 500 bucks, pay it and do it.
You do not want this illness.
PS: The theory is that I merely feel like I'm suffocating - though I might pass out. For what it's worth, to feel you're going to suffocate numerous times a day, even if the violent episodes are unlikely to kill you, is a horrible way to spend 1 minute, much less six to eight weeks.
They suspect I'm in the pre-recovery phase - which also happens to be the most horrible one.
And for those of you who might have come into contact with me, antibiotics I took weeks ago immediately stopped any contagion. Alas, they don't do anything to ameliorate the plight of the host.