Tuesday, October 30, 2012

URTI again

It started off rather inconspicuously. 

On Friday evening, AA, EM and ZS came over for dinner and our usual French-Chinese exchange lessons. We sat on the heated carpeted floor of my room. At a stage, I could dozed off while teaching EM Mandarin, no thanks to pre-dinner whiskey apéritif. My face was flushed as usual after alcohol consumption (yeah, my reaction to alcohol is pretty immediate). At some points, I felt a little chilly, but then I thought that was just the side-effect of my being flushed. That night, I felt sleepy, but couldn't quite fall asleep. Ended up blogging and surfing the internet mindlessly since I could not quite concentrate and get the "serious" stuff done.

Woke up on Saturday morning with a headache. Thankfully it was not one of those horrible throbbing headaches or splitting migraines. But it still sucked! I hardly have headaches. [The only exception being the period when I was working for 3 ugly Singaporean bosses in a row at an MNC.] I felt "heaty" and slightly feverish, with the posterior of the throat and the internal nasal areas feeling swollen. I decided that I have to add extra (cooling) Job's Tears (barley) [意仁/意米] to my usual herbal concoction to tone down my heaty-ness. Took an acetaminophen tablet for the headache (a small dose is usually enough to take effect on me). Moped around in my room for much of the day, ate leftovers* from Friday's dinner for food and took extra rest. I blamed it on the whiskey apéritif, perhaps it was too strong.

By Sunday morning, the headache toned down, but remained in the background. But then, I have an additional ailment, a slightly blocked nose. I didn't want to back out last minute on a monthly social appointment, so I put on some make-up -- hoping it will camouflage my slightly off-colour complexion and mood. It worked. I held up my social grace, made polite conversation and ate a decent amount (2 dinner plates) over the buffet brunch. When I arrived back home, I felt wiped out. Rested again. By evening the nose met further blockage and the cough had arrived with some sticky yellow-and-light-green phlegm. I boiled a luo han guo [罗汉果]based cough concoction and drank it. Followed by a "cooling" warm-soupy dessert [白果意米腐竹糖水]。Had some snacks, combined the last of Friday's dinner leftovers* with other stuff for food.
[*Note: Yeah, I cooked too much for 4 persons again. I am still working on improving my portion estimation. :-P ]
By Monday, I was coughing (when not suppressed by my shallow breathing), had sticky yellow-green mucus from both the nose and the mouth; and my voice is beginning to be affected. I can feel that the URTI has travelled down to the bronchi of the lungs, although the bases are not quite affected yet (*touch wood*). By now, I am getting grouchy, although you wouldn't know if you read my typed communications (*result of years of professional training*). Still managed to get some minor stuff done. By nighttime, I was so grouchy, I was tired but not willing/able to sleep (like those toddlers on their temper tantrums), yet I was not alert enough to do anything consequential. [Yeah, I admit, I lack self-discipline.]

This morning, my voice sounds hoarse and weak (I mouth the words but the voice comes on-and-off unpredictably). The mucous, though, is getting lighter. Went to school to run some errands early in the morning but decided that I wasn't well enough to stay for the afternoon classroom discussion. Left school for the community library to return some DVDs instead. Was planning to go to the walk-in clinic (GP/doctor/physician), but saw that the queue was long -- the usual autumn weather-change spike in its patients -- and decided to buy a few groceries items and head home instead. [As my housemate AH says, doctors here are unlikely to prescribe any medication for the common cold. This is because it is mostly viral in origin and thus best left to the immune system to fight it off.] While unpacking at home, I suddenly realized that I have failed as a team lead to get my team to submit an outline of our plans for the group presentation by today's deadline! Yikes! Argh!!! The world seems to come crashing down suddenly. Then I tell myself, "Focus, FOCUS! Focus on what you can get done." So I did some paperwork related to various registration for myself. Surfed the internet as a mild distraction in the meantime.

Now I wonder, will I be well in time to start clinical this Friday? I am keeping my fingers crossed. According to "Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology" by Martini, it typically takes 1-2 weeks for the body's IgG antibodies to kick-in. Let's hope that my exposure to the antigen was way earlier; say, over last 2 weeks when my landlord was coughing and sneezing; so what I'm experiencing now is the IgG antibodies putting up a good fight. [Hmm, actually my landlord has a rather sensitive nose, he has been coughing/sneezing on-and-off throughout the year, more so since fall arrived.]

That said, come to think of it, I think I am really rather "manja one" (when it comes to being sick/injured) compared to some elderly folks whom I met over brunch on Sunday. Thankfully though, I only get sick a couple of times a year since arriving in Canada -- a big improvement compared to my health situation while in Singapore.

p.s. According to this, it seems like I caught the flu, not a cold. :P But hey, I'm feeling much better* now (Tuesday night).


[Update on Thursday 01-Nov-2012]

When I mention "much better" above, I meant that my voice is coming back (although still not my normal volume, but at least predictable rather than on-and-off), fever, headaches and extreme exhaustion is gone. I'm still dealing with mucus and phlegm this morning. Thankfully, it is mostly either clear colourless or light yellow, only occasional small amount of thick yellow discharge. Continuing with my soups, herbal infusions and even inhaled steam from my slow-cooker to soothe the symptoms for now.

[Update on Thursday 08-Nov-2012]

It is 2 weeks from onset (Friday 26-Oct-2012) now. I decided not to go for clinical last Friday. I didn't want to be overstretched "just as my health improved slightly, only to get worse". Thus I started clinical on Saturday as I felt well enough to meet the demands of a nurse's job. I am thankful that I gave myself an extra day for rest and recovery. When I woke up this morning, there is still an occasional small amount of clear sticky phlegm but the chest felt clear. I guess my recovery is within the norms according to "Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology" by Martini.

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