Before the End

70s med kit
70s and 80s med kit

When did my heart problems begin?

What were the symptoms?

Well, during the weeks of September, weeks leading up to my big event, I was struggling a little with mild cough and a light cold.  You know, where you wheeze a little, some dry coughs and a little congestion in the chest area.

Like any kid who grew up in the 70s and 80s, I treated myself with chicken noodles soup, Vick chest rub, hot lemon tea and perhaps a few cough drops.  I have had a cold before, and this would pass by as well.  It was the season of flu and cold, and the kids always pick up some strange illnesses in school only to share it when they get home!

The cold was turning evil!

I thought it was rather difficult to get Pneumonia these days, with all the medicine and over the counter drugs we can buy.  It never occurred to me that I would one day be the victim of this ancient population killer.

Pneumonia is only something that people caught when sleeping in their damp huts, brick moist cabins or ventured to colder parts of the world where they got wet and cold … and couldn’t get warm.

We had visited wonderful Berlin (Germany) mid/end August, flying Delta Airlines.  It was a very good trip – actually, it was a fantastic week … I’ll share my thoughts about that later as it involves a lot of healthy heart walking 🙂

Anyway, on the flight back to the US, my AC unit was on full power for 8 hours solid.  I could not turn it off, so I just covered myself with the thin inflight blankets.  The word blanket was probably overstated.  It was more like a THIN sheet with absolutely no warmth or protection from the gale winds coming from the AC.

I knew I would catch a cold.  That often happens when you sit in the sardine can and share germs through the AC.  Colds are common and easy to cure these days.

Fast forward three weeks and we were preparing the house for our oldest daughter’s confirmation.  This involved clearing weeds, power washing deck, tidy up inside and full cleanup of the house.  A true power cleaning.

On mid-Sunday afternoon, while power washing the deck, I felt a slight tightness in the upper half of my chest, and my breathing was slightly constricted.  I wasn’t too worried.  I was sweating, in a t-shirt and just made sure I covered myself.  I drank some Black Riffle Coffee and continue my efforts at a slower pace.

That evening, I did notice my heart was beating a little faster than usual but put it down to the fact that I had been working hard all day, and I was in fairness out of shape.

Monday was ok.  I was still a little under the weather and went to the office armed with BRCC and cough drops.  Felt fine during the day and came home to my lovely family.

However, that evening I had a severe breathing attack.  Or probably more accurately, difficulties catching a full breath.  It was as if someone were sitting on my chest.  I did not have pains or symptoms elsewhere.  I just couldn’t breathe well and was a little low on energy.  Once I started the AC unit it helped clear the breathing.

Despite being a proud Viking, I decided to visit the local urgent care to get treatment.  Something wasn’t right.  I was nervous.  I’m rarely sick and knew that antibiotics would be awesome, and kick the arse of whatever I had.

My premonitions were right. After 1 hour of somewhat detailed examination, which included two doctors, basic health stats, some blood tests, and X-ray, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and they prescribed antibiotics.

I stayed home from work most of that week but worked a bit remotely.  I was not low on energy.  The tightness of my chest was gone.  The antibiotics were working very well.

By Saturday (my daughter’s big day) I was pretty much 100% again … little did I know.  We had a blast of a party.  Kids dancing.  Friends laughing, and the party continued back at our place with some more adult beverages.

endSunday, the day after the party, I had a small setback with breathing problems.  My last dose of antibiotics was Saturday.  I spent 3 hours relaxing outside in the fresh air and under the AC unit again.  It finally cleared and I was ready for my check-up on the coming Tuesday.

The doctor listened to my breathing and lungs and felt that it had improved.  I did share my slight setback a few days earlier (Sunday), but she said it could be the effects of finishing the antibiotics, my body having to fight again, and exhaustion from party weekend.

… something did not feel right and the doctor did not inspire me with confidence!

Nevertheless, everything was on the up again.  My body felt ok and I was back to work.

Anxious to pick up my new (used) truck.

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