On one of the legs of the flight from Portugal, I sat next to a young woman, possibly in her twenties, who coughed a lot but did not cover her mouth. Douglas and I gave her the evil eye, trying to embarrass her into using good manners, but to no avail. I should have spoken up and asked her to please cover her mouth or asked the flight attendant for a mask, but I did not, to avoid a possible scene, or, worse yet, Douglas and me being removed from the flight.
There were no other seats, and Douglas, with his longer legs, needed the aisle seat, so we never talked about us changing seats. I simply prayed that her cough might be caused by acid reflux and not a viral or bacterial infection. But, Proverbs 18: 21 reminds us, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Sometimes, using that little ball of fire called the tongue can save you a lot of hassle and pain.
We arrived home on Saturday night, three weeks ago, and for the first few days all was well. On the following Tuesday, the sore throat started, and I went to the Urgent Care near us. The nurse practitioner told me that I had a little inflammation of the throat, and she gave me an antibiotic. That was okay, nothing major. But, by Saturday, I was really sick, coughing and feverish, and the medicine was not working. I was thinking that maybe the nurse practitioner had misdiagnosed me, and she had advised me to return if I was no better or got worse, but I don’t like making people feel like they failed or maybe embarras them in front of their colleagues. So, I did not speak up!
Yes, I know that it’s not a rational thought, but I grew up in a time when patients did not question doctors, and, as a black female, even with a PhD, I hesitate to second-guess medical personnel. But, I also have learned that you must speak up and be your own advocate, because you know what’s different in your own body.
When I awakened on Sunday morning, I did not have a fever and I still had three more days of antibiotics to take, so I questioned if I needed to go back to the facility. Maybe, I was becoming a hypochondriac. Yet, I had a vision or a dream that someone was telling me that I needed breathing treatments. I have come to respect when I believe that the Holy Spirit is speaking to me.
So, after Douglas went to church, I got up and went to the Urgent Care facility again. After examining me, the doctor on call told me that I had pneumonia, but because I was in generally good health, I did not need to go to the hospital. He gave me more antibiotics and a medication for the coughing that made sleep nearly impossible. It did not help much, and after three days, I knew I needed to advocate for myself.
This time, I did not wait. On Wednesday of last week, I insisted on seeing my doctor, as his receptionist tried to give me a June 12 appointment. Finally, when she saw that I was not backing down, she gave me an appointment that was less than two hours away. After going through chest x-ray and an EKG for my heart, I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and possibly fluid in the lungs from my enlarged heart. Stronger antibiotics were prescribed. The doctor told me that ai was not a hypochondriac and that it was a good thing that I decided to come to see her.
Today, I am not coughing as much, but the aftermath of these episodes, which may have been avoided if I had not let my fears win, is that I cannot walk more than 45 minutes without shortness of breath. I so miss walking on the greenway! I have to lay down after I do a lot of cleaning or walking on the treadmill. I am not sleeping well, as the problem with breathing seems to trigger panic attacks. I wish we had stayed in Portugal just one more day and escaped the “Ill-Manner Cougher.”
Or, I should have said something to that young woman about her responsibility to cover her mouth when coughing, as the rest of us would be expected to do. Sometimes you have to speak up, even with the possibility of offending someone, whether it is a stranger or the medical professional who is not listening to you.
I did not feel like writing this past week, but when I saw that the Daily Prompt was going away, I just had to use those last ones. I am saddened that the prompt is gone, but it will motivate me to spend more time thinking about the stories and lessons I want to impart on the blog, and I see that as a challenge that will helpme improve the blogs I write, as I had truly become too dependent on the prompt. But, I wish we had been given more time to prepare for the demise. There, I needed to speak up and add my two cents to the discussion! How else will people know what I think or feel? God, in His Infinite wisdom, did not give us the power to read each other’s minds. Thank goodness!