I thought I was having a rheumatoid arthritis flare up. I hadn't been feeling great for awhile, but I just figured it was due to the stress of the new job, school starting, and the whacky changes in the weather - we'd have really hot days, then cold days, and it sent my joints into a tailspin.
I woke up on Thursday morning of last week barely able to move. I also felt very feverish. "Well this isn't good," I thought. I took my daughter to school then seriously considered going to the ER. But I am one of those people who prides herself on being tough (though sometimes, this is sheer stupidity), and so I went home and figured I'd just sleep it off.
I woke up feeling a little better, but knew something wasn't right. And when I wasn't feeling better the next day and went to the doctor, she had no answers for me. "It's not the flu," she said, "and I don't think it's an RA flare." My temps kept spiking and there was really no good reason for it.
I figured I'd feel a lot better after the weekend was over, even though I was still feeling feverish (mostly when I woke up in the morning). I went to work on Monday and though the morning was difficult, I got through it, and I was actually feeling pretty darn good by the time bedtime rolled around. Whatever it was, I figured I was on the back end of it and I'd be back to normal soon.
Then Tuesday morning came. I woke up shivering and could not get warm. My body was now giving me flashing red lights, yelling WARNING, WARNING, and sending alarms off everywhere. I called my mom to take me to the ER where my temperature was 102.7. They started me on an IV, took lots of blood, and tried to get my temps down. I felt absolutely horrible.
Finally, my fever broke and I began to feel better, but the doctors were still puzzled. They decided to put me in the hospital for observation. I didn't argue. I was drained and just plain tired of not knowing what was wrong with me. So after chest x-rays and ultrasounds on my liver and spleen, they took me up to my room where I settled in to try and get some rest.
I didn't have any fevers the rest of the day, so I thought (turns out erroneously once more) that I was out of the woods. But at 4 a.m., BAM. Another temp of 102. My frustration was beginning to mount.
More bloodwork. More waiting on tests. They decided to dismiss me because really, other than keeping me hydrated and keeping my fevers down, there was not much they could do for me until the blood tests came back and they knew what they were dealing with.
I went home and got by as best as I could. I would have periods of feeling decent followed by periods of unbelievable fatigue and pain. I just felt awful. I researched my symptoms on the internet (isn't that we all do now?) and scared myself half to death a number of times.
Finally, I had the follow up appointment with my primary care physician. She had the lab results back and finally, FINALLY, had a diagnosis for me:
Yes, that disease that in high school, they called "the kissing disease" because it was transmitted through saliva.
Except I hadn't been kissing anyone and my case was a very bad one.
I already missed over a week of work, and I will miss another week - doctor's orders. My doctor told me I won't begin to feel better for another 4-6 weeks and I believe her. I am unbelievably tired and there are times I feel so awful that I can barely stand it. But the only thing that will make me better is sleep, getting plenty of fluids, more sleep, and more sleep after that. There is no magic cure for this viral infection.
Where did I get it? That's a good question. But since I have RA, my immune system is already suppressed and is susceptible to a lot of stuff. I work right next to a college campus and park in a parking garage with lots of college kids, so maybe I somehow picked it up from a door handle or something. Who knows? I'm sure I never will.
At least I know what is wrong with me. Not knowing for over a week was really difficult to deal with. Now I just need to find the patience to rest as much as possible and recover. At this point, it's not a problem at all. I barely have any energy to get out of bed let alone do the dishes! I'm just so thankful that my family is rallying around me to help out. My husband and my daughter have been wonderful at supporting me through all this.
Thankfully, the fevers are very few and far between now. I haven't had any today and I hope that trend continues. They are miserable to deal with. And if I could just get some sort of an appetite back, that would be great, too. Baby steps...