March 27, 2015

Last night I had the first decent night’s sleep in weeks, without a single scary cough. I woke up feeling cautiously optimistic, and on the confident advice of my pulmonologist who had really advocated for having me admitted and treated aggressively, I prepared to leave the hospital some time today. Over the course of the morning my mood sank somewhat after I had a few more coughing fits, some scarier than others. I wasn’t feeling as confident as he was about leaving the hospital. But I knew I had to be brave and calm, equip myself with what I need to manage this condition at home and head into the next phase – hopefully one of recovery. We packed me up, stopped at the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions, and headed home. I was nervous enough about all the home treatments ahead, but at 5:00pm, we realized I didn’t have the two things I needed most right then: the pharmacy hadn’t given us my cough suppressant, and my nebulizer still hadn’t been delivered to our house, my stress levels started to soar. After an agonizing amount of time on the phone, I used my inhaler instead of the nebulizer and was ready to head to another pharmacy for the cough syrup. But, we didn’t want to leave me at home without another adult, just in case…

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So, we called our wonderful friend Amy, who came over in an instant to watch out for me, and David headed off into the night. Having Amy’s company and sweet manner was a perfect sedative for me, even though our chat was about our various trials over the last week or so. While I had been battling my illness, her daughter Melodie had been suffering from a stomach virus, and was spending the evening reluctantly at her father’s house. I offered Amy a book for Melodie – and I suggested the book version of a movie we enjoyed, The Golden Compass. The story is about Lyra Belacqua, a brave orphan girl living in a cruel parallel universe in which rulers are trying to stamp out tolerance and free inquiry. The rulers have kidnapped orphan children, including one of her friends, and Lyra travels great distances to rescue him. Melodie is one of the brightest children I know, a huge reader with a spectacular imagination, so I thought she might enjoy this adventure. At one point, Amy’s phone rang. It was Melodie, feeling sick, miserable, and panicking because she was nursing a fever of 101.3 degrees. Clearly, she needed to hear her mother’s voice to make it all bearable. I listened in admiration as Amy gently and warmly reassured her beloved daughter that she would get through this fever and feel better soon. I could tell Amy’s heart was hurting not being able to be with her daughter tonight to reassure her in person. Amy handed me the phone and I shared with Melodie that I was giving her a book for my Giveaway today. I told it was about a brave girl, as my way of encouraging her to be brave and get through her ordeal. But really my message was also meant for Amy and myself too.

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