Weekend Question Thread

What’s the sickest you’ve ever been?

Not counting a blinding migraine every once in a while, I’m lucky enough to be decently healthy. But a few years back I got the flu, and strep throat, at the same time, and managed to make it a crisis by being an idiot. Because at the time my sick regimen was “take NyQuil, sleep 14 hours, get up and go back to work,” I kept taking NyQuil and sleeping and not, you know, eating or drinking anything.

After two days of this during which I could not BELIEVE I wasn’t feeling better, I had a deliriously high fever and Mr. A pretty much shoveled me into the hospital. I was dehydrated, anemic and very, very freaked out. Two LITERS of IV fluids and three kind of blurry days of rest & soup later, I felt good again. To this day it’s the most efficient diet I’ve ever been on. I lost 7 pounds.

Now when I get sick I take handfuls of vitamin C, drink water and Gatorade whether I want to or not, and get more rest than normal. I feel like a pussy, but it keeps me out of the ER.


18 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. Wow, only response so far. But I’m probably the near outer data point; I suffered from a series of illnesses that were nearly fatal, the two ‘highlights’ of which were severe ulcerative colitis and pancreatitis.
    But I got better!

  2. My first three months of my pregnancy were puke city. I first got a clue I was pregnant when I went to fill up the car at a gas station and turned green from the smell of the gas – someone passing by asked me if I was okay, it was that bad. Then it was one day, I’d think I was okay eating one food, but the next day, I’d puke it up and have to find something else to eat or drink that wouldn’t have me stuck in the bathroom. I lost about 16 pounds. Things got better after that, until the day we went to a cousin’s wedding in Seattle when I was six months in, I ate some pasta and some Indian spiced fried chicken, and ended up so violently ill that night it was a wonder I was able to take on the next day. It got so I was more afraid of the puking than the contractions from labor.
    I also do my damnedest to medicate the hell out of myself when I feel a sore throat coming on. I’ve had bronchitis too many times to count, and I’m proud to say that the brush I had with it this past week has been fully beaten back with OTC drugs, loads of OJ and other fluids, and an occasional chew on a raw garlic clove.

  3. That time I had full-on influenza. Hurt nearly as bad as labor, and I didn’t get a baby out of the deal. Flu shot on Tuesday, YAY!
    (Okay. I had drugs during labor, and I didn’t nearly pass out from the pain with the flu, so this might all be bullshit.)
    I have asthma/COPD, and there have been some tense moments with that, but I pretend that doesn’t exist, so we won’t talk about that, except for the five days I spent in the hospital and didn’t get a bill because GO BADGERCARE!!! and socialized medicine.

  4. A few years ago I had a gall bladder removal operation. It was a routine laparoscopy-type operation, which I recovered from in about a day. But, I also have mild hemophilia, so the hemotologist had me infused with a drug that increases the clotting factors in the blood temporarily, before the surgery. So far, so good. But, then he went overboard and required a home visiting nurse to infuse me with that drug every day for 4 more days.
    The result was that I got extremely sick from that drug, felt like I was dying, and eventually made it to the emergency room, to discover that I was, in fact, in danger of dying. That particular drug wasn’t ever supposed to be administered every day like that. Once the infusions were stopped I recovered in one day! But, I will never forget the feeling when I was called by the surgeon, also a hemotologist, who told me to rush to the emergency room as fast as possible for emergency treatment.
    No, I didn’t sue, but only because I don’t believe in liability suits for human mistakes.
    Oddly enough my wife had a similar experience involfing “lost” surgical staples – same hospital.

  5. I had bacterial pneumonia in 1989. It was during law school so my resistance was low. Also, since it wasn’t viral anti-biotics were of minimal help until I took Cipro. I was sick for a few months and didn’t fully bounce back for almost a year.

  6. I had internal bleeding as a 10 year old kid, from a torn blood vessel or muscle wall or something in my intestine. I passed out in the emergency room waiting to get tests and pooped about liter of blood on floor. They never figured out what was wrong but the bleeding stopped on it’s own so I was held for a few days and then released. I either tore something playing in heavy surf at the beach or getting tagged awkwardly sliding into second base in a little league game.
    My incidents of depression are worse than above but I can’t work my ‘I pooped blood’ story in and I have to feed my inner Bevis.

  7. I got really sick when I was in graduate school. There was some nasty bug going around, but the environment at that school is that sleep is for wimps and you can’t possibly miss class, so despite the fact that we were all coughing and hacking, we were sitting in class. Most of my classmates got better, and I was still coughing and hacking. Then we went off on our two week term break, and by the end of it, I could barely get out of bed. I was having difficulty even getting up to go to the bathroom, and I was burning with fever.
    My friend who lived across the hall from me got me out of bed the one day and said, “Come on, you’re going to the walk-in clinic,” and I said, “No, I’m fine, I just need more sleep,” and she said, “No, we’regoing to the walk-in clinic.” So I put some clothes on and shivered my way to the clinic.
    When I got there, the doctor looked at me and said, “You have pneumonia, a throat infection, a sinus infection, and an ear infection. If your friend will agree to stay with you for the next 48 hours, I will let you go home. If you had come here tomorrow, you’d be leaving by ambulance to go to the hospital. I’m not sure you shouldn’t be going anyway.” Then he gave me a shitload of antibiotics, an inhaler, and two or three different kinds of steroid sprays.
    I did recover, but I missed an entireweek of graduate school, and it was months before I was anything other than permanently exhausted.

  8. I’ve had asthma my whole life. Asthma attack in 1986 put me in ICU for 3 days. I was on IV drugs that have long been removed from common practice because of side effects.
    Another asthma attack in 2009 put me in hospital, when they accidentally found a tumor in my left kidney. The asthma didn’t really let up for months, although I got just well enough to leave the hospital and return to work. I was less than full strength when I had a major surgery to remove the tumor in late June 2009. The recovery from that was awful with weakness… I still havent, and may never, fully recover my strength from the episode.

  9. I had Breast Cancer but after 17 years of commuting an hour each way every day staying home for chemo felt like a vacation and I am not joking. At last, I could get me some sleep. Am well now and still working from home feeling fortunate in many ways.

  10. Hard pick.
    It could have been the time back in my early 20s when my ulcer bled out (I was taking 20+ aspirins a day to deal with the acceleration of my anklyosing spondylitis–the only ‘treatment’ available at the time) resulting in me fainting face down on the kitchen floor, much to the consternation of my 5 year-old daughter. Tough kid. She had the presence of mind to crawl up on her highchair and get our blue dial Princess wall phone (Remember those? I kept that one because it literally saved my life. I still look fondly at it now and then) and hand it to me on the floor (ever after, I always made sure every phone we owned had a LONG cord) so I could dial my mother’s number (my wife was working evenings at the library at the time and for some reason I couldn’t remember the number). Good old Mom ordered up an ambulance and I was able to survive long enough to enjoy cruising this here system of tubes.
    Or it might have been pneumonia a couple years ago, although my doctor claims I onlythought I was going to die. Quite a card, my doc.

  11. I’ve had more injuries than sicknesses, and those tend to be more fun stories (you try falling 25 feet onto a steel deck leading with your head). But, like a couple of other people here, I’ve had the flu twice, and son of a bitch if it didn’t try its goddamndest to kill me both times.
    Other than that, had chicken pox twice, which, you know, ha fucking ha, isn’t supposed to happen.

  12. Oh, hell, life has been a series of episodes that, in retrospect, could have had awful outcomes, but didn’t. Born three months premature, a little over two pounds (and at pretty much the time when doctors were prescribing 100% pure oxygen to ward off hyaline membrane disease, which is why there are so many blind people my age–all that oxygen kind of exploded capillaries in the retina). That one got me two last rites and three baptisms, so I should be good to go, so far as religious rituals are concerned.
    There was the nonspecific upper respiratory infection in the army (which seems to just travel around and around Ft. Dix–impossible to get rid of) that gave me one of those fevers that’s supposed to stroke you out–I wanna tell you, waking up at three a.m., hearing chains beating on steel doors in a wooden barracks will give you the willies (the green fog that everything was in was just the icing on that cake). The army, in its wisdom, thought that the way for one to prove one was sick was to make one walk to sick call, and after walking three-quarters of a mile in a cold rain, my temp was still 105. That one got me two weeks in the hospital.
    Then there was some sort of Asian flu in the late `60s, that had me going from both ends for four straight days–anything I took in came back up in about ten seconds. About seventy-two hours into it, I managed to keep down about three ounces of orange juice. Lost thirteen pounds in the first two days. Discovered that, yes, people can die of dehydration…
    Two bouts with pneumonia in the `70s (no money, no job, no insurance). At least, the second time around, I recognized the symptoms, and because I wasn’t as bad as the first time, was fairly sure I wasn’t going to die.
    Other than that, just the usual broken bones, repetitive stress injuries and back injuries that come from a lifetime of physical work.

  13. I was too young to remember the sickest I’ve ever been. At about 3yo I contracted the red measles. Had a 105 fever for 4 days, and this being 1960 there was little that could be done. They put me in a tub of ice water to try to bring the fever down and the doctor who visited me every day (back when they actually made house calls) said either the fever would break or I would die. I was a chunky little kid but lost over a quarter of my body weight and have been thin ever since. I have a line across my adult teeth that was caused by the fever interrupting their development at that time while they were still in my gums.

  14. Malaria done it for me…First you’re scared you’re gonna die and then you’e scared you’re not gonna die…

  15. Appendicitis, 1981. Damn thing burst, had peritonitis, ended up in the hospital for a week and home with no stitches afterward. Six weeks flat on your back is bad for your job prospects and your academic average.

  16. Other than the usual run of 1960s childhood diseases, I’ve been quite healthy, for which thank God/FSM.
    Two exceptions: 1) Case of E. coli food poisoning in ’94 that had me in the ER with blood erupting from multiple orifices; 2) Case of strep about six years ago that closed up my airway in the middle of the night, also necessitating an ER trip. Got several liters of IV fluids for that, plus IV antibiotics, plus IV Demerol, which is the bomb. I still couldn’t breathe, but I didn’t care anymore.

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