Well, with tuberculosis in the news because of an infected doctor making the rounds at several local hospitals, I decided I might as well join the fun.
I think I have TB.
We'll know more tomorrow after we get the results from my chest X-ray.
All's I know is, I have all the symptoms except the ones I really wouldn't mind: loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss. Those would be excellent, really. The only time in my life when I had appetite loss was when I was preggers with M. Peevie, God bless her. I was so happy to be un-hungry, and the doc confidently (if insultingly) reassured me that she'd easily live off the fat of the land, so to speak.
But back to the topic at hand: my imminent death from tuberculosis. The symptoms I could do without are non-productive cough, chest pain, and a fever that keeps coming back at night, with chills and night sweats. It's hard to catch my breath sometimes, especially after a huge coughing fit.
Wait, where are you going? Stop backing away! You do not need to worry about infection, as TB is not typically spread through blog contact.
The good news from Dr. Zippy today is that my blood pressure was back down to normal and my weight was down by about three pounds. (It wasn't unexplained weight loss, however, as I spent the last month trying not to drink much alcohol, limiting my caffeine, and reducing the number of times I ate potato chips for breakfast.) I also improved my spirometer score, pushing the little red marker up to about 350, and once to almost 400. Not perfect, but definitely an improvement over "Are you even alive?"
But the TB-type disease is making me tired and a teeny bit cranky. Plus, I stupidly googled "TB treatment" and learned that treatment is complicated and lengthy. Four simultaneous antibiotics, one of them for 6-9 months; blood and sputum tests; no alcohol for the duration; and no Tylenol for the duration. As a person who hates and fears pain, takes Tylenol at the first twinge of a headache or any other kind of ache, and is allergic to all pain relievers except acetominophen, this might be the worst aspect of treatment.
If I actually do have TB, which, of course, is highly unlikely, except I really do love speculation about worst case scenarios, which is why we're having this conversation, I will be all achy, cranky and needing an adult beverage for six to nine months. Look out, world.
And if it's not TB, then what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is going on inside my chest? The docs agree it's not pneumonia--I guess they can hear pneumonia through the stethoscope. Is it just a particularly long-lasting strain of bronchitis? Is is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)--which, BTW, is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.?
Cancer? Brain tumor? Catastrophic lung failure, require double lung transplant?