Running with Bronchitis

As mentioned in my previous post, I felt pretty awful before and after the Marathon, but thankfully not during. I went to bed after an amazing Marathon Monday convinced I had pneumonia and had done irreparable damage to my body.

I woke up around 7am, and got dressed and planned to go to urgent care. Fortunately, I had the mind to call ahead and found out they weren’t taking walk-ins (my doctor’s “urgent care” clinic is kind of weird) and no one could see me until 10am. I took my time getting ready and forcing two eggs and a cup of coffee down my throat, and limped to the bus stop. I got to the doctor’s office about 20 minutes early like they had suggested, and was able to get a few minutes later.

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Forced to wear a mask lest I infect anyone else.

The medical assistant made me wear a mask. This immediately caused me to panic and then just get more grumpy. When the doctor came in, she said, “Oh good – you’re wearing a mask.” The appointment was long. We talked about my symptoms and how I ran the Marathon the previous day and then she listened to me breathing for a solid 2 minutes. I was wheezing on all of the “out” breaths so she sent me upstairs to get a chest X-ray. Fortunately that came back normal – no pneumonia. I was diagnosed with a nasty case of bronchitis and given prescriptions for an albuterol inhaler and Robitussin with codeine. I didn’t have to wear the mask anymore, fortunately. 

While I waited for my prescriptions to be filled, I limped around the street (literally, across the street) to the nail salon chain that was offering free pedicures to anyone who ran the marathon. You were supposed to show your bib but I guess I was limping bad enough to prove it – because they never made me take it out of my bag. My right knee was really bothering me a lot and my foot hurt as usual, but otherwise I was just really slow. The pedicure was heavenly. I went and got my scripts and took an Uber home. I took the Robitussin as soon as I walked into my apartment and it hit me like a bag of bricks. Codeine is nuts, man. Even with the albuterol doing the opposite – making me jittery and shaky and feeling hyper-thyroid – the codeine always won that battle.

I essentially slept until Monday morning. Juls and Jack came over on Wednesday and brought me donuts and iced coffee. I went to my physical therapy appointment on Friday morning and got myself more donuts on the way home. My PT told me the bone in my foot was still where it belonged even though I was convinced it had popped out again given the level of pain. Because my knee was still hurting me so much, he dry needled my knee as well as my foot, and did Graston on my foot. I made one appointment for 2 weeks later but I knew I wasn’t going to be doing anything physical for a while.

Later that day, I went to my massage appointment. I needed it. I went home afterward and went back to bed for the next 2 days. The glorious thing about codeine is that it just makes you sleep so deeply that you don’t realize how sick you are. I would say I slept about 16-20 hours a day Wednesday-Sunday, all of them with my brand new humidifier on full blast – to the point where my comforter and pillow were soaked. Oops!

On Monday morning, I got up for work feeling tired but a lot better. I took the T and told myself I would go home when I felt bad, but I lasted the whole day. On Tuesday, I worked at my client’s office downtown like I do every Tuesday, but their office is dusty and we’re convinced moldy as well. As the day went on, I began feeling worse. My cough was nonstop. I couldn’t get a full breath, and then freaked myself out thinking I had overdosed on albuterol. I debated going to the ER. I convinced myself I was OK, and called my doctor to see if I could move my 11am Wednesday appointment any sooner, but they had nothing to offer me. Just as I was getting ready to call it a day, they called me to cancel my 11am Wednesday appointment because the doctor was sick. I started crying and saying I really needed the appointment, and they told me to come straight to urgent care.

I did, and was there for almost 2 hours. The nurse practitioner said my lungs actually sounded clear, and that I had a nasty virus that was going around, and I made it worse with my little 26.2-mile jog. She made me use a nebulizer and man, those albuterol shakes are SO much worse that way. She also told me to keep taking Zyrtec every day until Memorial Day, take 1000mg of Vitamin C every day, and refilled the Robitussin with codeine (I had switched to plain ol’ Robitussin DM during the day so I could go back to work). She also told me stay home from work the rest of the week to let my lungs and body heal. At least I could take regular cough medicine during the day and work from home.

The rest of the week DRAGGED. Working from home used to be so appealing to me because it meant a full day with Rags instead of away from him. Now, working from home is essentially solitary confinement where my Fitbit hates me and I go through a roll of my own toilet paper once a day from peeing every 13 minutes instead of the toilet paper at work (I drink a LOT of water). I got so sick of the inside of my apartment, but knew my body needed stillness.

This morning, I had finally had enough. I went grocery shopping and then decided to “run” to the nail salon to get a manicure. The nail salon is a mile away and it took me 15 minutes to get there. I basically followed Couch to 10K Week 1 Day 1 – running for 1 minute, walking for 1.5 minutes, repeat 6 times. I was winded but it felt SO good to pound pavement.

After my manicure, I felt so good that I ran home doing the same intervals. All-in-all, I ran 2.3 miles and am so glad to be back on the wagon. I coughed the entire time and drank 2 doses of Robitussin DM when I got home, but it was so worth it.

I am nothing if not wildly consistent with my pace when sick.

Now I’m writing this blog and watching Season 3 of Catastrophe (I’ve watched the entirety of Night Shift and Nurse Jackie since the Marathon), and am about to pass out for a too-late nap but I don’t even care. Codeine will put me to sleep tonight…

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