Survivor Pneumonia: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast…

Many of you must have been wondering what happened to the Kitchen Wizard.

I found myself playing (?) in a new version of Survivor.  Survivor Pneumonia, the version which hasn’t made it to the big screen.  I entered myself in this competition when we were in Las Vegas over 2 weeks ago. Lots of people, lots of gambling, lots of smoking, lots of super-short skirts (how are they constructed?), super high heels and lots of (more than) flirting… Even just watching scenes like that makes you feel like you are getting sick.  Then I really did!!

On Sunday morning, only after 1 or 2 hours at a Las Vegas club the night before, I felt I couldn’t stand any more and I needed to sit down. There were no chairs in sight, so even though we were at a business function brunch, I just sat on the floor.  I was feeling really tired and cranky, freezing inside, hot in the sun, but I thought I was just tired and maybe hung over (from 1 drink).

For the next two weeks I was a contestant in Survivor Pneumonia: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast in the (dis?)comfort of my own house.

The drama during the day pretty much consisted of 4 types of challenges.

  1. No comfort:  Several fever roller-coasters throughout the day between 99 F – 105 F. My sweat fest & striptease happened every hour or so, it was hard to keep up with even feeling clean.  After a week of 1000mg of Tylenol every 4 hours, I started to smell like medicine. (Plus some people can read between lines — what could happen when you have violent cough attacks? ) ; P
  2. No sleep: because of these major cough attacks, I had to even sleep on the couch for a several days, so that I could have my upper body upright, and get a little bit of sleep.
  3. No appetite:  Even though my husband cooked various dishes every day, and they were actually quite tasty, I had no desire to eat. 
  4. No talking: The cough was so bad, I couldn’t talk much between coughing, plus the Mucinex made me lose my voice.

The weirdest thing about this flu/pneumonia was that I had no appetite. That alone will classify as Mari being VERY sick. Even when I thought I was hungry, everything tasted tinny, so I’d have a small bite or two, and left the food.  The strangest thing was I wasn’t even interested in reading or watching about food, which normally is my favorite pastime!  We watched Iron Chef a few days ago, but it somehow didn’t excite me as it usually does…  I now know what people who are not interested in food at all go through during meal time.  I never understood what people meant by “I forgot to eat”, or “I’m not interested in eating”, now I sort of understand.

Just like these folks on the big screen Survivor, I lived on eating just fruit. For some reason, I had a major craving for fruits, and the next on the list was something sweet.  In reality, I like fruits, but not more than I like seafood, vegetables, meat and starch, and I do not like sweets. It was shocking to catch myself say “this is too salty/spicy, I want something sweet.”  Even though the dish wasn’t actually too salty nor spicy, not wanting something savory (I usually love it), and wanting something sweet instead, like eating yogurt with jam everyday?  There’s something wrong with me!!!!

I started to worry whether I would lose my appetite forever.  This is the biggest joy of my life, and what if it’s gone???  That’d be really tragic!

I thought I don’t need an Immunity necklace, because it was just a flu, all I had deal with are 104 – 5 fever everyday and violent cough attaches, and that’s it. No body ache, no runny nose.  Just take Tylenol, and stay in bed and I’ll be better, I thought.

Well, I didn’t.  And I finally dragged myself to a Dr. after 10th day of 104 F fever, He ordered an X-ray and declared my symptoms “pneumonia.”

So he gave me an immunity. This medicine called Avelox helped break my fever completely (no more 1000mg of Tylenol every 4 hrs!), made my cough significantly less, and most importantly, my appetite back. OK, it’s not fully back yet, but to the extent of a normal adult. It cost whopping $130, but boy, it was well worth it!

In case you are wondering, I never get sick. I realized that the number of days I had fever this time (11) exceeded the number of days I’ve had fever for the last 30 years combined, and realized how lucky I have been.

And only after we lose it, we realize the value of things we’ve always taken for granted.

So make sure to take flu shot this year, immediately.  We normally take it, but this year the flu came before the vaccine became available.

And make sure to thank the fact you are healthy and well. What you appreciate appreciates more. Never take anything for granted….

This was a great lesson for me, I am never going to take my health for granted anymore.  I will never take my ability to enjoy food for granted either.   I will be grateful for my good health and everything I have, and continue to take the best care of myself (and try not outwit the illness when I’m not feeling well.).

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