Tumultuosity

Most would use tumultuous, but my little wordplay is actually grammatically correct.  It’s application is humorous to a degree, and thus “osity” qualifies as a suffix.

I said humorous to a degree.  Being a devotee of off the wall humor (I think Gary Larson achieved a level of sanity few will ever know), I am chuckling thinking of my last month.  (Lou – you’re not here to protect me from myself anymore!)

Four weeks ago to the day, Da Pug decided to wrap my ankles with his leash on the landing halfway up the stairs, turning my body off-balance as he continued up the second set of stairs, pulling the leash out of my hand, and I was leaning backward.  My left hand missed the post on the stairwell by a mere few inches, and down I went – backwards.  Tucked my head and body, and rolled and bounced down 8 steps and landed, surprisingly, on my feet, a bit worse for wear.

My brother rushed over from the living room, and given my S-I-L Elaine’s broken shoulder and Ken’s broken wrist and elbow – all happening within the month previous, he figured the worst and was asking if I wanted an ambulance.  Other than the sore spot on my lower left back of my rib cage, I really did feel okay.  I stretched, had a carpet burn mark on my right shin, but that seemed to be the extent of the damage.

Little did I know!

After that, it seemed like my sinuses went berserk.  My sinuses were flowing like tap water, my lungs were adding a like amount, and the cough was a full-blown hack.  Not so much during the day when I could take Mucinex and cough tussin, but especially at night.  It was two weeks, and my brother said make an appointment now!  So I did, and this past Monday afternoon, traipsed into the ER at the VA – unable to get through or get an appointment for the next 3 or so weeks.  Plus, sleeping on my left side was a nightmare – I would awaken with my ribs in almost mortal pain, and radiating pain across my abdomen and lower back.  I had to literally roll onto the floor and get up from my hands and knees.

WHEN I finally was seen, it was right to x-ray – lungs for the cough and the back for the ribs.  Twenty minutes later I was was put in an industrial grade nose and mouth mask, and the questions were endless – my lungs look like I had tuberculosis.  But I had been in the the country, in Houston and environs (within two hours) for the last 12 years.  No travel outsides the states since my AF duty tour in Ankara, Turkey in 1972-73.  But they had to take the cultures, and I was admitted immediately to a private room, quarantined and all that good stuff, because – tuberculosis.

I didn’t complain – my own room!

By morning, TB was ruled out, and a pneumo-nightmare ruled in.  I had pneumonia, and had had it for approximately 5 years.  My discharge diagnosis for my lungs was:

Necrotizing right upper lobe pneumonia – bacterial cause

Translated – I had had it so long some lung tissue was dying, and my intense cough was my body’s less-than-effective method of sloughing it off and out of my system.  But one thing kinda po’d me about the diagnosis.  See those last two words – bacterial cause?

I have smoked all my adult life.  No biggee, and no problems.  Looking back, I got a cold maybe every 3-4 years.  My worst cold was my last – in 2012 during my last pastorate.  It lingered on for awhile, it seemed, or the symptoms did, anyway.  Then they went away, and all seemed fine, until right after Sweet Mama Lou’s passing (sigh – miss you, Mine).  Then my sinuses began running, and I was always blowing my nose or trying to negate the nasal drip.  Mucinex seemed to do the trick for the most part.

But after my affair with the stairs, my sinuses were going nuts, as I mentioned earlier. and eventually led to the events of this last week and my hospital stay.  Yet, what po’s me was . . .

As the “secondary” diagnosis, they had listed – tobacco abuse.  Even the terminology made me laugh.  I never abused my smokes – they loved me and I loved them!  Those smokes were perfectly willing to be lit up and enjoyed.  Never once did they complain I was abusing them.  Anyway – the disconnect was right there to read.

Bacterial cause versus tobacco abuse.

I must be famous, and just haven’t been informed that I am the first case of bacterial pneumonia due to smoking.  It seems  Political Correctness has invaded medicine, as it has everything else.  I’ll wager not another soul on earth is taking Amoxicillin for “tobacco abuse.”

All of that silly nonsense aside, I am in a vigorous program to get the pneumonia cleared and the dead tissue sloughed of and out of the old bod.  It’s working – and did right away.  Amazing – the crap I am now coughing up.  And I have cut the smokes in half – down to half a pack a day. I like my smokes, and refused the “cessation clinic.”  I have listened to enough of that stuff for years, and seen and buried enough parishioners who had lung cancer and never smoked, to get too worked up about this.  My other lung is perfectly clear.

And no hacking cough at night.  My sinuses are just fine now.

However, the pneumonia is a measure easily handled by the antibiotics (they also have me on inhalers, but I have no shortage of breath).  Guess that is part of the program, so I will go with the flow on that count.  I like not coughing.

But what really has the medicos going, and I already have the follow-up appointment in 12 days, is my ribs, AND back.  Seems it was a bit more that a bruise I accomplished bouncing backward down those stairs.

The back part of my bottom two ribs sustained fractures, as did one of my vertebrae. Can’t do much about either, except wear this brace they gave me as a going-away present.  In twelve days their ortho specialist wants to see me.  The brace works well during the day – making me keep the posture sitting down Sister Maria-Therese demanded of us in 6th grade (she also taught me how to sing properly and always told me my voice was a gift few ever receive).  Having a 4+octave range and getting any note spot-on without reading music kinda seconds her words.  But I confess I have been a lazy sitter down through the ages.

Anyway – they are automatically figuring the antibiotics and sprays will keep me hacking-cough free (they do! – even though I am still puffing on my now-renamed “bacteria sticks”) and wipe out the pneumonia – no follow-up for 8 weeks on that.  But my ribs and back – all the interest has really focused on that – which has piqued my interest as well.  I am not having problems with pain – Tramadol is the first true “8-hour” pain pill I have ever taken, but even when I forget one cycle – no pain to speak of at all.

I guess my Guardian Angel has a real sense of humor.   So, and yes, tumultuosity is the proper word in my case.  And a warning:

DO NOT SMOKE OR FALL DOWN STAIRS!

It causes pneumonia!

Pax



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