It’s Friday, the day after Treatment #3. I wake up with a scratchy throat. Saturday morning is the same; just add nasal drainage to the fun. Sunday, I go in to work an overtime shift I’d signed up for two weeks previous. The sore throat and nasal drainage go with me. However, there is one blessing’: the work is intense enough to make the day feel like a weekday when all of the clinics are open and all of the doctors are present, which makes the day go by faster and I kind of forget my problems.
Monday is the same, minus the sore throat. On my lunch break, I amble over to the Walgreen’s across the street and purchase a small bottle of Zyrtec (10-milligram capsules of Cetirizine HCl antihistamine). This stuff helps me fight off the nasal drainage. I’m already taking Aleve (220-milligram capsules of Naproxen sodium) to help relieve general muscle pain. By Tuesday, lunchtime, whatever this is, it hits me hard. It feels like the full-blown Flu. My energy drops way down, so low that I start falling asleep at my workstation. Even my supervisor sees me drifting off. She hollers at me, in her sweet way, which wakes me up. I’ve reminded her and my co-workers, that after Treatment #3, flu-like symptoms may appear.
Let’s see, it’s Tuesday afternoon, which means Mom. My mother is in a nursing home, living out her last days with Dementia. On Tuesdays after work, I take her out to dinner (Sonny’s, Cracker Barrel, or Denny’s). She enjoys this as it gets her out of the home for a while and allows her some time with me. After an hour and a half, she’s ready to go back, especially if it’s getting dark. (It’s wintertime and the days are shorter.) She’s afraid of being locked out. After I take her back and I’m on my way home, she calls my cell, asking when I’m going to take her out. She doesn’t remember she just went. I suffer through this entire dinner scene, blowing my nose constantly. Moreover, I’m getting weaker.
I make it home and go to bed fully clothed, wrapped in a thick robe. Carle checks on me when she gets home and that’s the last coherent thought I have until the alarm goes off Wednesday morning.
I’m dead in the bed. Well, not dead, but dead in the water, so to speak. The full-blown Flu is here. Again. I try to sit up and everything protests. My skin hurts. My muscles hurt. Even my hair hurts. I have no energy. Zero. I try to brush my teeth and even they hurt.
Carle asks if I’m going to try going in to work. I think about it. I like going to work. It makes me feel useful. Earning the paycheck leaves me feeling appreciated. Moreover, I see no reason not to be there if I can.
However, no, I admit defeat. I’m not going in today. I call in sick.
I end up sleeping the day away. Even playing some favorite DVDs cannot keep me awake. By Wednesday afternoon, I’m feeling a tiny bit better. I can stay awake longer and interact with family. I’ll try to go into work tomorrow, Thursday. Besides, I’m to receive Treatment #4. I’m wondering if this is the “flu-like symptoms” I was warned about, or if it is the real flu. I have no idea which. I’ll have to ask.
Upon waking Thursday, I feel better, not great, but better. I have energy and a goal: get BCG #4! Once again, I go through everything necessary for my weekly visit to the Urology Clinic. The clocking out from work, the walking over, the registering in, climbing the stairs, waiting, and getting escorted back to the Blue Chair.
“Hi, Tech 2. What’s new?” I smirk at her. Those last two words were one of my deceased father’s favorites. I’m so bright today.
“Afternoon, Mr. New. How are you feeling?”
“Had a bout with either your simulated flu or the real flu starting this past Friday.” I list all my symptoms. “Was it the real one or your fake one?”
“Sounds like the real one. Maybe you had them both. There’s really no way to tell.” She waves a hand at the usual attire. “You remember the procedure?”
“Sure do. Though I’d like to forget it.”
She smiles. “Go ahead. I’ll be back in a little bit.” She closes the door behind her.
Undressing, hospital redressing, gloves snapping on, iodine swabbing, the numbing, waiting two minutes, threading the catheter.
Ouch and ouch!
“Sorry, Mr. New.” Pause. “Woops, but we’ve got nitrates and leukocytes again.”
Confound it! The blighted UTI is back! I feel like destroying something! Anything will do, say, a piece of ground I can beat to a pulp with a 2X4! All right, I’m venting. I’ll admit it. Yes, the Dipstick shows positive for Nitrates and Leukocytes again.
“Well, can Surgeon at least prescribe something stronger and for longer than ten measly days?” I ask. “Say, Tech 2, run this by him: prescribe alternating antibiotics every week to keep the bug’s resistance confused. At least ask him.”
“I’ll ask, Mr. New. No promises. Wait; let me tape this catheter in place. Don’t want it falling out now we’re in there.” Tech 2 exits the room.
The darned thing can fall out?
I wait. I can be patient at times. No, really, I can.
“Okay, Mr. New, here’s the plan. Surgeon is going to prescribe the sulfa combo you had before, providing, of course, that the Culture and Sensitivity comes back positive for your old friend Enterobacter aerogenes. Two pills a day like before, but for thirty days this time. You will continue taking the antibiotic over the next thirty days and we will continue to administer the BCG next week.”
“So, no BCG today?”
“Sorry, Mr. New. But, no.”
“Well, that should allow the antibiotic time to beat down the bug for a few days before the next dosage attempt.”
“Exactly, Mr. New. Here, let me remove the catheter.”
… slip sliding away …
Final Results: BCG #4 postponed. Geez. This every-other-week business is getting frustrating. Yet, at least the attack on Enterobacter aerogenes is intensifying with each step. That’s something positive. So, I’m waiting again.