It’s Been a Long Time

by Hannah the Zebra

Well, it’s been a long time.  Hi everybody.  I’ve been ill, off and on, since the beginning of August.  I’ve missed you guys, and, just let me say, I am very grateful that so many of you have checked back in at the site off and on, in these intervening months.

First things first, I suppose.  I was very, very ill in August and September.  Weeks and weeks of not being able to breathe due to bad edema and serious bronchitis that was not responding to various antibiotics.  And prolonged high levels of steroids that left me unable to concentrate on anything for more than a nano-second, unable to sleep well, unable to stop shaking, and dizzy all the time.  The inability to concentrate left me unable to read or retain information and finally gave me some first hand experience as to what the internal world must be like for those of my students who have an attention deficit disorder.  I came through two months of powerful steroids realizing that it is both a miracle, and a testament to their hard work, that my ADD or ADHD students are able to learn anything at all.

But here’s the thing about August and September:  I couldn’t breathe.  I really, truly couldn’t breathe, week after week.  I have never before had a case of bronchitis that was that bad, and wasn’t responding, antibiotic after antibiotic.  So I felt that there was no end in sight. I showed up for an infusion one day, and I was so sick that my nurse said it wasn’t safe to infuse me and had me transported to the ER.  The doctor there, who was wonderful, gave me one dose of IV steroids to clear my lungs temporarily, and then put me on a five day course of a powerful antibiotic.  And raised my dosage of daily oral steroids.  That did the trick in terms of the bronchitis.  It slowly improved over the course of the five days.  But then the cumulative effect of the steroids set in, swelling the tissue in my neck, face, and chest, leaving me constantly feeling like I was I was chocking, and still unable to get a full breath of air into my lungs.  And to top it all off, my face was so swollen that it looked like I had been stung by about a dozen really pissed off bees.  By now I hadn’t been able to breathe for six weeks, and I  was definitely getting grumpy.  At everybody.

And I was due to return to work half time in just a few days.