Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TFTLM: Got Them Soul Coughing Video Game Addict Blues (Part 2)

Bi-Lateral, or double pneumonia is not fun and the wife had already had it for a month by the time she decided to go to the hospital for it. Her illness had actually started as a nasty chest cold, which she had been gifted with in mid-October after a small and infected child sneezed directly into her eyes, nose and open mouth while she was examining the kid. She knew instantly that whatever bug this little Typhoid Mary was carrying would soon be flourishing in her system, and none of the preventative medicines she began downing had much effect on it. Within days, the wife was seized with coughing fits which continued to worsen.

I've written on the topic of coughing and my near irrational hatred of it during the chronicle of my old "Liberry" patron Johnny Hacker. However, no matter how much blind fury I usually allot to people coughing around me, you just can't get upset at your own poor, sick wife when she's wracked with such uncontrollable fits. So when our conversations were interrupted by sudden fits, or when the coughing drowned out something on TV, I would try my damndest to keep from seeming irritated and, instead, would just rewind and start over. After all, that's why God made DVRs. But after nearly three weeks of the coughing, with no end seemingly in sight, I had to ask, "Do you think you might have pneumonia?" She'd had very similar symptoms when she developed walking pneumonia back during her residency and a miserable couple of months that had been. She assured me it was only a cold, or the flu at worst. However, after having difficulty breathing at work, she had the lab run some tests and learned that she did indeed have pneumonia. She started on antibiotics and steroids at once, all designed to strengthen her system and help fight this off. And for a while, she seemed to get a little better, but not as much as expected. She'd try to get rest on her days off, but as soon as she returned to work it seemed to start getting worse again.

The wife survived the Thanksgiving holidays, for the most part. She was still coughing and wheezing and taking barrels full of meds, but I thought she kept a good game face. Then, at around 3 a.m. on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, she woke me up to tell me she thought she needed to go to the ER. I was terrified, because her personality doesn't usually allow for even complaining about being sick, and she'd rather take a bullet than go to the ER, so for her to actually say she needed to go to the hospital meant things were truly not right with her. We talked things over, then woke up my mother-in-law to spread the terror. She recommended we talk to Dr. Ralph, the wife's doctor and her former partner at her old clinic, to make sure he concurred. This seemed wise.

Dr. Ralph seemed to think what was needed was to step up her meds to some different anti-biotics, more steroids and some breathing treatments. And for a day this seemed to help. Then, during her first day back at work from the holiday, I got a call from her mid-day telling me to come pick her up, cause she couldn't breathe and needed to go to the ER after all.

I practically panicked over this and raced over to her clinic only to have to sit and wait for 45 minutes while she saw a couple more patients and waited for her replacement doc to arrive. It was maddening. There I was in full on Emergency Get Her to the Hospital mode and I was completely shut down by the hold-time.

The old adage that doctors make the worst patients is very true. Not that the wife was at all a bad patient in terms of behavior, she's just completely out of her element when it comes to having nurses and other doctors poking and prodding and running tests on her. They all agreed, though, that she needed at least a day in the hospital, with 24/7 steroid, antibiotic and breathing treatment sessions to get her back on a healthy track. She was in for two and a half days and then had nine days of mandatory rest at home afterward. Meanwhile, I managed to pick up a nasty cold just by being in the ER with her, so I too soon had symptoms to deal with, including an obnoxious, uncontrollable, hacking cough of my own, one remarkably similar to that of Johnny Hacker. Serves me right for making fun of his, I guess.

On about day two of her down time, her Robert Jordan book beginning to bore her, the wife began wondering aloud if we might ought to investigate buying some sort of video game console.

"I knew it! You're addicted to Fable III!" I exclaimed. Oh, glory be, this would be my revenge for all those times she threatened to hurl my Half-Life CD out of a moving vehicle.

"No," she said. "I'm just bored."

Trouble was, if I was going to buy a console, it wasn't going to be an XBox. I don't really have anything against it as a system, but Playstation 3's advantage for me is that I have more friends who own one and it's online component is free. Unfortunately, Fable III isn't made for PS3. So instead of seriously shopping for a gaming system, we popped by the local GameStop and asked them what PC games they had that were similar to Fable. They passed over Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for PC. It was cheap enough, so we bought it and the wife spent a goodly chunk of her convalescence exploring the fantasy realms offered by it, the soothing tones of Patrick Stewart welcoming her into its embrace.


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