Random Acts of "Kindness"

COUGHING

I did my best. When my son started coughing, I did my best to NOT CATCH whatever he had that was causing the problem. I was already coughing — admittedly it was a different cough — dry. I knew the cause — it was the blood pressure medicine I was taking. A friend of mine told me it made her cough too. At first the dry cough wasn’t too bad. Then since my blood pressure wasn’t decreasing, my doctor doubled the dose. My cough also increased. I was coughing so much my back started hurting.

Then my husband started coughing. The cough sounded similar to our son’s. My husband has emphysema, which often evolves into pneumonia. I didn’t like his color, I didn’t like the way he sounded. He didn’t think he needed to go to the doctor. Thankfully I had a well being doctor’s appointment scheduled for that week. He wasn’t better so he accompanied me. Meanwhile I didn’t like the way my cough sounded. It was no longer dry. Thankfully my husband’s lungs were clear but the doctor prescribed medicine for him anyway. My lungs were also clear — I got a new prescription for blood pressure medicine. I picked up the new medicine. The pills for my husband immediately worked to improve his condition. Sadly I was correct about the sound of my cough. It deepened and intensified. The weather in our area became much colder and snow was predicted. I thought the cough was just a cold and if I took care of it, drank plenty of fluids, stayed inside, it would soon be gone. I WAS WRONG.

Each evening the news announced the status of the flu — increasing in intensity, more people, especially children were dying. Both my husband and myself had gotten a flu shot in October. Neither one of us was running a fever. We were confident we didn’t have the flu. Normally I don’t take cough syrup but I went through ALL of the cough syrup in the house, even stuff I had for our grandchildren. For many reasons, I didn’t want to go outside — below zero temperatures and snow didn’t beckon. Except for coming downstairs for food or to cook I stayed on the second floor where it was warmer. Our Christmas tree remained up. When I was feeling better, I didn’t take it down because it occupied the space my son’s chair rested in. I didn’t want him by the windows. Then the tree stayed up because I didn’t have the energy to take it down.

Nine days of snow. Thankfully our son did most of the shoveling. My husband was feeling better, at 5:30 AM I was woken my the sound of shoveling. My husband wasn’t in bed. When I looked outside, I saw the top of his coat, dealing with the fresh snow. Under normal conditions, my husband LOVES to use the snow blower on the whole block. These weren’t normal conditions. But he took pity on our neighbors and didn’t start the machine. Both myself and our son expressed our opinion on his being outside shoveling. Our neighbors took pity on us. A few times our walk was shoveled. Once our front stairs were included. When all was said and done, we had more than 10 inches of snow. Normally I sweep the stairs. This wasn’t a normal time.

My back still hurt. I decided that Tai Chi — the gentle stretching would help it. Other than that — most days I got in less than 3,000 steps. I tried to get more sleep. Coughing didn’t help. Except for one day between the snow storms, I hadn’t been outside. When another big storm was predicted we traveled to the store for supplies — milk, bread ,and vegetables. Finally a littler bit of my energy returned. Enough to take off the ornaments and lights. To take down our Christmas tree. It was February — time for the tree to come down. I even got the stuff together to prepare for income tax.

I hadn’t been outside except for the store run in 10 days. I walked to our accountant — 7000 steps when I returned. I couldn’t believe how tired I was. His office was close to our church, a distance I normally walked. Both my back and knees HURT.

Caught — I was outside cleaning up the yard before the rain came. Working on the icy steps, shoveling a tiny bit of snow off our cellar doors. My son caught me. He had warned me not to go outside when the back was icy. Now he told me to put the shovel down. He would take care of the snow.

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