Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One bad cold

I started this message yesterday afternoon having just got back to my grandparents' in Netanya after being discharged from Laniado hospital in Kiryat Sanz. To all of you who called me, texted me, or left me messages on facebook, I shall try to get back to you within the next day. Until then, for all of you who asked, I hope this shall suffice...

Last Friday morning I woke up with a badly blocked nose and a slight headache. I was due to go to my Aunt and Uncle's in Bet Horon, and thought about canceling, but seeing as hardly ever see them, I didn't seriously entertain the notion. In any case, I'd had a cold for about three weeks now, so I wasn't all that bothered. I went, and over the course of the Shabbat, my sniffles went down a bit, aided by menthol and eucalyptus vapour, along with carvol and paracetamol. Motzei Shabbat and Sunday morning my cold was the same as before, and on Sunday afternoon I travelled to Netanya to visit my Saba in Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, and then spend the night in Netanya with my Savta, so that she wouldn't be alone. (She's partially deaf, and is afraid that if the phone should ring, or a break in should chas v'shalom happen, she wouldn't know about it until too late.)

That was Sunday night. I woke up around 4:30 Monday morning, panting for breath. My nose was blocked, but now my sinuses were too, and I was wheezing and puffing just so that I could take in enough breath. There was a lot of phlegm in my system, but it hurt my throat to try to blow my nose. After drinking a hot cuppa, my breathing was finally relaxed enough for me to go back to sleep for a couple of hours, but even then, only after puffing like a train just to breathe.

The whole day I had no energy in me. I barely said my tefillot, skipping over almost everything bar the Brachot and Shmona Esrei. I didn't put on Tefillin or say Sh'ma. As soon as I was done, I had to put my head down. My Savta repeatedly asked me, "do you want to go to the pharmacy or to the Doctor?" But I refused, thinking it was just a bad cold, and it would pass soon enough.

At this point I simply assumed that my cold was attacking particularly deep, and thought nothing more of it. But everything I did on Monday was ridiculously tiring, for example I had to stop drinking a hot honey and lemon drink in order to lie down on the sofa. And then after doing that for 10 minutes, I would have to lie down in bed for half an hour.

I didn't eat the whole day, and put off putting on my Tefillin and saying Mincha because I had so little strength, Eventually it got close to Shkiah, the latest time to say Mincha, so I put on my Tefillin and Tallit and said Sh'ma with them on, and then said Shmonah Esrei while seated. I had no energy left, and leaving my Tallit strewn across the dining room table, I then lay down on the floor and crashed for half an hour or so, as my back was hurting so much. My Savta told me that the recliner would be better for my back and so I clambered into it and rested in a state of effective paralysis from the exhaustion.

Not long after, my Savta offered me some dinner and I meekly agreed, but when she told me that it was ready, I had no energy to get up. She placed it on my lap instead, and I managed to eat a few chips and then a slice of tomato but it was too much for my sore throat, and the tomato really hurt on the way down. I had to rest, and leaned forward to put the tray on the coffee table, and after a while moved to the sofa to rest. A little while later I headed for the table to put my head down, and then after that I progressed to bed. Maybe half an hour passed and I realised that it was no use. If I couldn't eat or even try to sleep this thing off, I had to go to the Doctor. I signaled my Savta, and let her know that I wanted to go. I called a taxi, and we went outside. Maybe 5 minutes passed, and a taxi pulls up on the other side of the road. We went to it, and lo and behold my Saba was inside, discharged from hospital in Tel Aviv! It wasn't the taxi we ordered, but it certainly was the right taxi! We told him that I wasn't feeling well and he told us to hop inside with him.

My Saba told us that the pharmacies and the Doctor's would be closed by now so we headed to Laniado hospital. Within 15 minutes of my arrival, they gave me something called "Inhalatziah," a mask attached to a tube which pumped oxygen and some other gases into my passages. After about two minutes, my nose was completely unblocked and breathing through my mouth was noticeably less wheezy. Baruch Hashem.

I then was taken for an X-ray of my chest, but as the results were unclear, I was told to stay for the night. The doctors had reason to suspect that this was no mere cold and wanted to keep me under observation. I won't bore you with the details of this part, but in essence they gave me an IV and more of the "Inhalatziah" business before I went to sleep, and again at 5:00 AM and again at noon the following day.

In the meantime lots of individual nurses and even two doctors had come to check on me, ask questions and run tests on me, but not one had told me what was wrong. Finally shortly before lunch, a third doctor was asking me another load of questions when he used a word I didn't know. I asked if you could say it in English. SO he said "sputum." Unfortunately, I had no idea what that was. My blank look was enough; "phlegm!" he said. He continued asking a few more questions, and then I remarked, "You're from England, aren't you? From London, no?" He replied by asking me where I was from, and I told him that I was from Hendon. He laughed and told me he was from Woodford!

Thankful that he was relaxed, I asked him what was happening with me, and he told me that I had a cold that went down a bit too far, and now I had Bronchitis. But he said that I was in a fit state, and responding well to treatment, so he prescribed me the right drugs and told me that I was free to go.

So, to all of you who were worried, I want to let you know that I am feeling much better, but I am still short of breath until the antibiotics and I beat this thing away. Until then, feel free to deposit large sums of money in Leumi account number: 902-033530/02!

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