Fears are running through my head today. It started before dawn when I was up nearly every hour giving Elizabeth water, tissues, valium or cold packs.
Then as I got ready for work I wondered if this was a good decision – leaving her home alone. She asked me to cancel her lunchtime home care as she didn’t want to bother with human interaction. Would she take care of herself? (Turns out she didn’t have the neo-citran hot-lemon drink nor any food that I can see.)
Throughout the day I’m afraid to call her in case she is sleeping or unable to speak because her throat hurts too much. Thank God for email. Even short responses that say she’s just sitting and zoning out and could I mind the blog today answering comments, posting links and such? Sure, anything to help.
We finally had a chat shortly before 4pm. She sounds horrible and says one nostril is dripping steadily. She’s scared because she doesn’t know when or if her fever will ever break. Me, too. I’m also feeling guilty for leaving her on her own all day.
“Shall I come home early?” I ask.
“No, I’m going to nap now. There’s no need” she replies.
Okay, I think, but I’m not staying that late tonight. I’ve got things to take care of at home: get food down Elizabeth so that she has energy to fight this illness off, working on the blog, taking care of Elizabeth.
Will I have to draw a tepid bath for her to soak in, in order to cool her body down? Boy, is she ever going to hate me for that one! Her parents used to put her in cold baths as a child because she often had high fevers.
It’s nearly four hours since that phone call and she’s still asleep. Now I’m wondering when she’ll get up. And will she ever be able to get back to sleep tonight?
But then there is a more sinister fear… the leading cause of death for people with Multiple System Atrophy is pneumonia. What if her illness turns into that? I'll try not to think about that one. I hope she just has a summer cold and will get better soon. She feels it’s more than a summer cold. Maybe it’s a flu? What’s the difference between a cold and a flu anyway? Do they both have fevers? Should have listened to Mom a bit more – might need to call her for clarification.
Here’s hoping her nap will have done her some good. Oh, I hear the bathroom door closing. She’s up! One fear down, a few more to go.
Elizabeth (8:30 PST): Ha, my fears are slightly different (I knocked for help, but she did not hear me, too many air conditioners going at once). I do have a full bladder because…I don’t sweat. A continuos fever and I don’t sweat. In fact, I thought on the edge of better yesterday. I had passed what I thought was the high fever stage and then a full congested nose, which indicates the contagious stage as white blood cells and virus are cast off. Nasal cavity started to drain. Thus all better, the fever only .5 degrees or so.
Then, suddenly, it spiked, at 4:00 am, and never let up, a higher fever and no sweat. I don’t sweat. How do I then avoid brain damage? My sheet is bone dry because I don’t sweat, but every hour, every forty minutes, Linda was putting ice on me, or giving pain pills or valium so I could sleep. Sleeping with an ice block on my chest. And I am still too hot. My nose bled, not because I was blowing it but because my blood pressure spiked. My fevered body cannot keep all the systems stable.
I woke, after over 10 hours, the fever was the same, we had a cool spell so I opened the windows, turned up the fan, I needed to make that room a fridge. I cannot cool my body off. How do you break a fever in a body that does not sweat? If the fever was down and then spiked, does that mean I am immune compromised? I don’t know. I haven’t had any contact except maggie and Cheryl, not since the Ferry on the way back from Nerve conduction (Wednesday).
I slept another five hours, and now my nose is not bleeding but my heartbeat is high and erratic. Very erratic for someone who has been awake only three and bit hours. How do I break the fever? It is 1.5 degrees high now, down from earlier, but it will not break. The room must be kept cold. The heart hurts, it must be more erratics. The only solution used to be sleep. I do not think sleep is working this time.
20 hours ago