We plan for most things in our life but becoming ill isn’t one of them. I had the “pleasure” of experiencing pneumonia for the first time in my life and no amount of planning would have prepared me for what I was to endure, both emotionally and physically during this month of February.
All in all, I’m quite a healthy individual, much healthier than what I was like during university. During university, eating packet noodles and a WHOLE pack of digestive biscuits amounted to a meal and my exercise was simply walking up the hill to campus and rolling back down after classes. I would have sinusitis and/or cold/flu every month. My immune system was a joke! Now I’m more vigilant but after this ordeal I’ve realised I need to make my health a serious priority.
Let me set the scene: End of January, cold London morning, I cough and notice an itchy throat. By the end of the day, the coughing was non-stop, fever was through the roof and I barely recognised my own mum. However at this point, I could breathe perfectly fine. I thought it was just a cough so I just glugged some lemon/ginger/honey tea and thought nothing of it. Current state of mind was: GRIND ORN. Work first, health later. Plan of action: tea, lozenges and a whole bunch of over the counter drugs.
Hooooo boy, how wrong I was to prioritise my work over my health.
After about four nights of no sleep, I had given up and my mum caught me crying, desperately trying to pop an ibuprofen from the pack. I’m not even a cryer, when Mufasa died in The Lion King, I swallowed my tears.
Things got bleak and quick.
Anyone who knows me personally knows how much I despise going to the doctors. I would prefer to dunk my head in the sand and wait till it all blew over. So, if I say I want to go to the doctors, bet your bottom dollar, you know it’s serious.
After seeing the GP, I was quickly sent to the hospital and was given a bunch of antibiotics after results came back that I had a pretty serious respiratory infection. My GP was astonished that I thought it was “just a cough”.
I had pneumonia. Joy! By this point, my breathing was shallow, I could barely talk or it would start a fit of coughs and I still hadn’t slept. When you find simply breathing difficult, I don’t care how strong you are, you contemplate everything. As dramatic as this sounds, I thought I was going to die and I simply wasn’t ready.
I began to think, why have I never appreciated what my body does for me? Do you know how much I underestimated the satisfaction of a yawn? I haven’t been able to yawn for a month and the moment I can, I may cry again (I hope one of you reading this yawns and reports back to me how glorious it was).
So, like any sick person, I vowed to take care of my body. Only this time, from the inside out. If there’s any negativity around you, cleave it out of your life. If you haven’t learnt to love yourself: begin to. If you haven’t told those around you that you love them, well then go and tell them. If you can’t remember the last time you drank a cup of water: go fill a glass.
The lesson is simple: take care of yourselves.
I’m on the mend and soon I’ll be able to walk about and get on with life with a positive outlook.
Taking care of myself,