It’s been a little over five weeks since that bizarre day of chest pain started this adventure in illness. My Italian vocabulary now consists of words I didn’t expect…dottore ~ male de testa ~ febbre ~ male de gola ~ la tosse ~ polmone ~ bronchite ~ medicina ~ la farmacia ~ influenza ~ riposo. As the quest to identify my illness continued the words expanded to infermiere ~ iniezione ~ dolore ~ fa male? ~ polmonite ~ radiografia ~ urgente and once again riposo!
I have taken more medicine that I would have ever imagined. It started with a week of antibiotics in tablet form along with a bottle of something that would help my bronchial tract and some other tablets. I gave it a few days to see if the medicine just needed a little more time.
Nope, I returned to the doctor. This time a requisition for a radiografia and after viewing the results, I was told you must respect the riposo and to rest another 10 days. Along with more prescriptions for another bottle of a different medicine for the bronchial tract and something else I can’t even remember. These were accompanied by 14 injections of antibiotics administered by the best nurse in the world, a charming young man that came to my apartment daily. A brilliant service considering that when I looked in my bag of goodies from the pharmacy I cringed at the needles and wondered how on earth I was going to manage this on my own. It was a good way to practice speaking Italian and we shared laughs as he would practice speaking English with me and say ‘Stop!’ when I would cough pathetically, as I continued to cough he would then flip back to Italian and say ‘Basta!’ accompanied by the usual body and hand gestures Italians use to emphasis the message.
At the end of these two weeks my lungs continue to feel like they have taken on a life of their own. I can’t say I have ever been more aware of my lungs. Previously I was only aware of the feeling of breathing, shallow and deep, that’s it. Having taken breathing for granted as most do. Through this experience I have felt my lungs almost bring me to my knees in gripping pain and change to a feeling of tingling and crawling combined with an odd combination of pressure and pain.
Which takes me to once again visit the doctor, who is puzzled as to why after all the medicine I have taken this illness continues to plague me and asks, ‘what have you been exposed to that you are this sick?’ I had no clear answer to this question but it sure led to some humorous reflection of my life since the beginning of the year. The requisition form is printed for another radiografia. When at the clinic for this xray the technician recognized me and said ‘polmonite, how are you feeling?’. I guess as a foreigner who is not feeling well I stand out.
The reading of this radiografia lead to an urgent requisition to see a pulmonary specialist. Impressive that I was able to see him within 2 days. This time I am told bronchial pneumonia, likely caused by a virus. He too emphasized the importance of the riposo. Once again new medicine of which I have 8 boxes lined up on the counter and an interesting machine to inhale medicine to ‘clean’ my lungs. Best of all he recommends covering my nose and mouth when I go outside. Lovely, I can just picture myself walking around with a surgical mask on.
Riposo, riposo, riposo!!! Now I understand why it is important to respect the riposo.
There is something to be said for the frigid cold of Canadian winters…it is too damn cold for germs to survive! That’s a damn good thing! 🙂
You must respect the riposo!