Sick Of It

Far too long ago I posted a blog here.  A lot has happened since then, and I’m writing this one to be a bit selfish… moreso than usual… so I can tell the story of how I ended up in the hospital twice in 3 weeks one last time.  I’ve told it a lot lately, to many people, and I can’t tell it again.  Too tired.  Too tiring.  Wanna focus on the Now and Forward!  To make it somewhat fun, I’m interviewing myself the way I’d interview a friend at a bar who I haven’t seen for 5 weeks since he posted on Facebook that he was in ICU for some lung thing.

Rewind to Nov. 11, 2014.  We had just finished another round of weeding a large portion of a garden behind our house, and instead of throwing down a weed-suppressing warfare like I prepared for, we went with my wife’s idea to keep it ORGANIC! and threw down a  bunch of hay from a bale we bought for Autumn decorating outside the house.  My flamethrowing would have to wait…

Now, back to the program…

If you want the short version, it’s right here in a hidden color.  Just click your mouse BETWEEN the {{{ below, and drag down to read the short story!

{{{ I had a severe allergic reaction known as Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, brought on by a previously unknown or undetected allergy to a high-enough intake of a mold commonly found in hay. It shut my lungs down via inflammation and swelling of the alveoli. }}}

DUDE! HOLY CRAP, you’re alive! 
I know, I made it.  Tell me, seriously… anybody bet against me?

HA! OH YOUR GOD, dude, seriously… I was worried, what the hell happened?  Did you get some bad weed or something? HA HA HA
Ha… No.  It’s legal now here and I’m sure the standards are pretty high for the quality control.  It was kind of bad weed though, now that you mention it.

OK, seriously (welling up with emotion)… What happened to you?
Well, the same thing, both times, happened to me.  The doctors didn’t really catch the real cause until the second time, though.  I’m sure they will discount the first visit for that.  But yeah, I woke up one morning about 3, and could barely breathe, like half my lungs weren’t there.  I toughed it out, downed some cough syrup and took a hot shower thinking I could loosen it up, because I’m a MAN.

YEAH, not much of one, but go on.
Anyway, yeah, I just couldn’t get a full breath.  So I go all day, grinding through it thinking it’ll go away, and it doesn’t and I am really starting to freak out.  I just don’t get sick, so we really got freaked out a bit.  Went to an urgent-care clinic, and they threw me in an ambulance to the ER, where they started doing all the could to figure out why the hell I couldn’t breathe.

What’d they say?
Basically, “Well, hmm, it’s like pneumonia but there’s no fluid in your lungs, so we’re not sure what’s up.”  Started pumping me full of antibiotics, oxygen in the nose, and I just wanted to sleep.  I had the oxygen levels of a person who’d just been pulled out of a river and CPR’ed back to this shitrock.

Damn, that’s awful.  So what happened from there?
I eventually got into ICU while they tried to figure it out, and they were checking on me every hour.  I couldn’t breathe for shit, and this sensor they had on my finger would make this annoying BING BING everytime my O2 level dropped beneath 90%, which was often.  I was miserable and didn’t want to deal with anything, couldn’t think straight or talk very well.  Some dipshit nurse apparently missed the memo, kept ducking her head in when the BING BING would happen to, like, “remind” me to “try to take deeep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth.”

Seriously?  Did she not know what your deal was?
I have no clue.  At the 4th time of her doing it, I was just fed up.  This is kinda bad.  She did her little pep talk and I, like, waved her over to the bed. I go, I whisper because I’m just exhausted, “I’m in here because I CAN’T take deep breaths.  So that alarm is going to be going off a lot.  Can we drop it to 85%?”

You told the nurse off?
Weeeelll… I was my own care-advocate, let’s say.  So she started back in on why it should be at 90% and I just closed my eyes and said, “I’ll do my best.”

Editor’s note:  The care team, ICU nurses, and respiratory staff that looked after me during both visits was absolutely WORLD CLASS.  I was their youngest patient by probably 30 years, and they were attentive, good communicators, and worked their butts off for 12 hour shifts among the sickest of the sick, and never skipped a beat or copped an attitude.

How long did all this take?
First trip was a week in-patient.  I went in on a Wednesday night, then started turning the corner on Saturday morning, then felt a lot better by Monday, but still just worn out.  Went home, took it easy for a couple weeks, trying to get my energy back.

You got sick again, right?  Like a couple weeks later?
Yeah, ironically, got sick the same day as my follow-up appointment with my lung docs.

No shit?
Dude, watch the language, there are kids here.  Well, 22 year-olds.  But yeah.  So check it out.  I went home after the appointment, played with my kids a bit, but still, like, my lungs felt like about 90% there.  Worked in the garden, threw down the last of the hay over the last of the weeded areas, went inside but was way more tired than I should have been.  4 hours later I am lying in bed, full-body shakes from some reaction to something.

Oh jeebus, so, something at home or work?
I figured it was something in the garden, stirred it up again.  Same thing that night, lungs shutting down, I’m breathing on this oxygen thing they gave me, and I’m freaking out thinking it’s gonna be worse.  So in the morning, BACK to the doc, back to the ER, and back to ICU.  But this time I told them all we did in the previous day, wrote it all down in a notebook.

Why’d you do that?
Well, mainly because I didn’t want to forget anything, but also they ask a ton of questions, and a nurse asks you, then a doctor you’ll never see again, then another nurse, and on and on.  I knew I wouldn’t want to talk so I just handed them the notebook.

Did they clue in?
Yeah, but it was kinda worse the second time.  They didn’t want to hit me with any drugs to knock it down so that they could get the full picture of what was going on, which meant I had to have a lung biopsy.  So I grind it out while they think I’m having an allergic reaction to “something,” but I was like “I’m not allergic to anything!”  Really weirded me out.

Biopsy, like they cut a piece of your lung out?
Yeah, next morning.  I was miserable, no sleep again.  They do the biopsy, insert a chest-drain tube between the ribs over here, and as I am in the recovery room they load me with a shot of Prednisone to see if that does anything.

What’d it do?  You want a drink?
Yeah, uh, Jameson-rocks.  So the shot, like a steroid shot, starts turning my lungs back to normal in a few hours.  They kept hitting me with that until I got way outta the woods and my O2 started leveling out.  Had  breathing tube in, the whole deal, fun Friday.

Oh damn, you got intubated?
Yeah, easily the worst of the “bated” family.  So I was out all Friday, drugged up.  Saturday morning they pull the tube out, which is not fun.  It’s like in The Matrix, where Neo wakes up in that mechanical womb thing and power-tugs the hose out of his throat.  But I didn’t have to do it, the nurses yanked it.

How’d that go?
I started chatting right after, slowly coming out of the drug haze, bummer, I know. And by that night, steroids, decent day of rest and football and some food, I was on my feet.

So, wait… so this was allergies?
Yeah, apparently.  I never had a reaction to anything before, so I had no idea.  Then the blood tests showed I was fighting off this particular mold that is super common in hay and organic stuff that’s breaking down in warm areas.  So, like, with the two times I was all up in the hay in the garden, both times I got sick like right after that.

Oh jeez.  You almost died because of a scarecrow.
Yeah, so manly.  So, I’m fine now.  I feel awesome.  I feel better than before the first time I got sick, so something had been bugging me for a while, probably that hay, and it just hit critical mass, changed the whole game.  And it helps my case to drop some serious chemicals in the garden next year.  Hay’s just too deadly.


So there ya go.  I cannot express my humbled honor in the wake of the love, prayers, support, and care I and my family received while I was ill and getting back to normal.  It makes me pretty emotional to have seen all the comments and prayers on my facebook page and in emails, that many people do care about my existence for more than just financial reasons.  I am very blessed, very lucky, and very happy to be here, healthy, and focused on getting back to Better Than Ever.

Happy New Year to you.  Thanks for reading.

About Geoff Lott

Geoff Lott is a "thinking person's comedian" as much as a "drinking person's comedian." Born and raised near Seattle, his writing and comedy is Cloudy with a Chance of Hope. Less offensive than your average nightly news program, Geoff is opinionated with intent, and a rebel without a clause. A comedian, actor, dad, husband, co-worker, weirdo, and great friend, Geoff Lott has a sense of humor like a sommelier's sense of smell; aged well, with a hint of dark chocolate, Irish whiskey, and leather. Credits and press kit available upon request!
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1 Response to Sick Of It

  1. keen peach says:

    That’s nuts! So glad you figured out what it was and are better.

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