Thomas …. When you read this remember … I am ok.
All is well and there is nothing to worry about (I’ve had the flu! Nah, not the *bird* variety, just your common or garden upper respiratory viral infection. Generally I am rarely sick. When I am, I simply find the whole thing a bit of a bore. Quite frankly, sneezing, aching joints and coughing gets old pretty quickly. But ya just keep on *keeping on*, and try to be pitiful, for sympathy, while still doing what you need to do.
That is pretty much how this dose of flu was, until last night.
It started on Thanksgiving, and proceeded along a well-trodden yet desperately annoying track for a week or so. By Friday I was thinking about whether or not we would make the bar that night. It’s a karaoke bar, and I love to sing ….. without the singing, and feeling sick would be a bit like denying yourself a chocolate, then sitting watching everyone else eat them!
In the end we went, and it was ok. I coughed a bit, but sang four songs and didn’t massacre any of them more than normal. My throat was feeling pretty ropey when we got home tho, so Saturday was doubtful.
In the event, we went to the bar after returning from the Okmulgee Christmas Parade, and dinner with the family. During dinner a friend had called and asked if we were coming out ….. he said George was complaining the list of singers was too short, and where was the Limey Bastard!!!
We got there at 10.15pm, via home for me to swallow a swift Sudafed and a couple of painkillers. Yes, I am aware of the consequences of alcohol and medication but … it was the first meds all day, and there wasn’t going to be much alcohol and I wanted to sing a new song dammit!
As we walked in, George appeared and said I was next on, unless I wanted to wait until we had drinks. Nope, gimme the mic and stick on The Dance … it’s easy, and my throat needs *easy*. All was well, and apart from the occasional mild cough, I felt good. The bar was pretty empty, and even the air smelled a little better than normal (I’ll vote, by the way, for a smoking ban in OK bars).
After that I stumbled through Alan Jackson’s *Remember When*, but nailed *Wonderful Tonight* pretty well. Jodie loves that song, and I like to sing it for her. All through, I was coughing a little and was close to thinking maybe we should go home soon. What happened next came right out of the blue.
I had just finished that last song. I was sat at the table next to Jodie, and chatting to Chris, another friend. I felt my chest tighten, and began to cough hard. I needed air. Go outside, it’s cold …. refreshing. I push my chair back, stand, turn. I am coughing so damned hard and my lungs seem to be fighting my diaphram. The door is there, just there, two or three steps ……..
*Wake up Steve!* It’s Jodie ….. mmmmmm, I’m cosy and warm, why is she yelling at me. And what the hell are these people doing in our bedroom? Weird. *Steve! Steve! Are you ok?* ….. Damn …. It dawns … I’m still in the bar, and something just went terribly wrong. Must get up, Jodie wants me, and George …. I can see Rick and Chris. What the hell happened?
So I sit up. I suddenly take in great globs of info all at once. I must have fallen down, the music is playing but Rick stopped singing. He is here with the microphone and Britney has dialled 911 and is talking to the emergency services.
*I’m ok*. I am feeling great, I can breathe, I’m not coughing and I appear to be the only person in the bar not worried about me. My face hurts though and I’m scared. This is just not normal and I want to go home. *Take me home Jodie, please*.
*I’m taking you to the hospital*, she says. Hell no! That’s gonna cost a fortune, and I’m fine, I just need to go home. I ask George to get Rick to come to our house when he finishes the song (still not apparently thinking straight). I needed to be out of there, to calm down, to let our friends see all was well, and sleep, I wanna go to sleep. My face hurts, and I can feel a lump on my forehead. The worst problem though is that my glasses are all bent out of shape, and I’m having real trouble keeping them in a position where I can see well.
We get outside. *Are you driving?*, I ask Jodie, and receive the kind of withering look such an inappropriate attempt at humour deserved. *Get in. We are going to the hospital*. I persuade her that we should go home first, then, reassess when I’ve cleaned up a little, and had a glass of water.
I tried, a guess a little half-heartedly, to suggest all I needed was a good nights sleep. After all, I just feinted, right? Surely if Jodie keeps an eye on me we will be ok. She isn’t buying it for a New York second. Honestly, I looked at her and she was scared stiff. Only a doctor was going to reassure her, and I wasn’t dumb enough to try to suggest otherwise, anymore.
I’m going to cut a long story mercifully short here. I have, in the past, made remarks about the US Healthcare system. Those comments have been a mixture of positive and otherwise, and they still stand. Having now experienced the ER in a large city hospital, I have a little more to say, but in the next post or so.
Suffice it to say that I am fine. Maybe just a little more in touch with my own mortality than I was yesterday, but fine nonetheless :)