Sunday, April 19, 2009
HALF-SICK ALL WEEK, BUT NOT THIS WEEK!
I got hit by a nasty bug back in March. A virus/cold/creeping crud condition which settles in your chest, making you cough in fits and making your lungs very congested. It was going around, as I knew several people who got smacked by it, including my mom and my special friend up in Kentucky. It sucks, it's miserable, and I still have it, a month later. Still congested and short of breath from being so stopped-up. That is my particular misery and I was plagued by it all of last week. Tomorrow, I will go to my doc and let her examine me and perhaps prescribe some antibiotics to knock this thing out for good, as well as some industrial-strength medication to relieve my congestion. To hell with my load. My health is too important. Let my company deal with that. I want to breathe normally again.
Trucking is a lousy occupation to be in when you get hammered by something like this. The problem is that you don't stay in one place for very long, like normal folks do. You're constantly on the move. For me, it's a typical south-to-north-to-south routing that has you running your heater one day, your air conditioner the next, and then back to the heater again. Constant abrupt changes in temperature means that your body never becomes acclimated to the steady climate in one region and it confuses your system.
Add to that the unpredictable and often changeable weather in early spring and you're almost assured of being stuck with the crud for months, until it turns warm to stay everywhere you go. You think you're getting over it, then you move again and the weather turns cool; you get chilled and you relapse -- it hits you all over again with a vengeance. Keeps your resistance low and allows the original virus to mutate to an even nastier form. It did that to me last week, hitting me with chest congestion and I was so short of breath from that at times that I couldn't walk across a parking lot without panting and gasping by the time I reached my destination. I also ran out of my allergy pills, couldn't find any at a truckstop, and so added nasal congestion and stopped-up sinuses to my misery. To say that it was a tough week is the understatement of the year. And I AM NOT going to repeat it, load or no load!!!
At least I did have warm weather to be thankful for. I stayed south, where the temperature was in the 70's until the end of the week, when Mom Nature decided I needed to be cooled off again, and turned her thermostat down a few notches. I was in Florida and southern Alabama at the first of the week and ended up taking a tour of the Sunshine State that was more like a forced march than anything. No vacation for me yet, it seemed. From Jacksonville, where I had unloaded on Tuesday, I traveled almost 300 miles down to the Tampa area to pick up my next load, then, after a break, I boogied almost 200 miles back north to I-10, then close to 400 miles across the panhandle and into Alabama, through Mobile, and 85 more miles up I-65 before I stopped for another break. By the time I reached my destination in northern Mississippi Thursday morning, the temperature had plunged back down into the 40s, forcing me to turn up the heat and bundle up in my hoodie jacket when I ventured outside. My allergies were going nuts and though my breathing seemed a little better that day, I was still puffing more than I do normally whenever I had to exert myself much.
I was assigned a load which didn't deliver in North Carolina until Monday, taking me home and giving me some quality downtime at last. Our "mileage ticker" in the Qualcomm unit goes back to zero again around midnight on Friday of each week and I looked at mine before it clicked over that morning. It showed I had gone almost 2500 miles in just four days, since the last reset. Makes for a fat, healthy paycheck, so I was happy about that, anyway. But misery still loomed ahead, one last time, before I got back home.
My congestion and breathing issues resurfaced stronger than ever Friday morning. I had to go inside the truckstop to use the bathroom and look for some more OTC medication for my ailment. I had parked as close to the building as I could get the afternoon before; it probably wasn't much more than 100 yards to the door. I started walking, slowly. By the time I reached the building, I was virtually gasping for breath. Sit down before you fall down and thank you, God, for making them put this bench right here! I plopped down on it and sat there until I was breathing halfway normally again, then made my way inside. Using the bathroom helped a lot. I found an allergy pill, like I normally take!! A single 24-hour dose. I bought it and some decongestant cough syrup, with an expectorant, to help me cough up the mucus in my viral-plagued lungs. Made it back to the truck much better than I had going into the building, and dosed myself up all around. Self-medicating, without the alcohol. As it started to kick in, I nodded out and napped. Allergies can make it hard to sleep well, when they flare up.
I made it home Friday afternoon, feeling some better, but still with the same problem. It has improved some while at home, but not enough to where I feel comfortable going back out, without seeing my doctor and getting some professional treatment for this bugaboo. I am a large, economy-sized person and that doesn't help me a bit. But you can't lose weight overnight and I'm not in an occupation which aids in weight loss to begin with. Sitting behind a steering wheel is lousy exercise, to say the least. I'm also a smoker, which also doesn't help things, but believe you me, something like this will strictly curb your appetite for cigarettes. I've probably smoked less in the past week than I have in months. I'm still trying to/wanting to quit, but that's something else that I can't do overnight, as cold-turkeying doesn't work for me at all. And even when you quit, it takes months to get rid of all the effects of smoking.
But I'm confident that my doc will find some relief for me and I'll be back 100% very soon. I only hope I don't lose too much time off from work.