In my last post, I mentioned in the comments that my recent nose bleed had triggered a few memories and I have a story to tell you.

Let’s go back in time, my friends, to the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, when our heroine (that would be me, in case there are any doubts) worked in the Maplewood Mall (to be known as “the mall” from now on) for a company called Taco Bell. The mall had done some remodeling and the food court was being moved from the strange circular area in the middle of the mall to a new, state of the art food court off of one of the department store wings. The old food court, by the way, was mentioned in a post I did in December 2004 and it was very funny and it is somewhat Christmas related and yes, I am begging you all to read it. I have no shame.

Anyway, one of the absolutely spectacular things about living in Minnesota is the awesome bronchitis that I got every single year. And, no, it wasn’t because I smoked approximately a pack of cigarettes a day, this was something I had been getting since I turned about 13. No clue why I was chosen to receive this wonderful gift but hey, who wants to look a gift bug in the mouth, right?

When you have bronchitis, one of the lovely benefits is that you can’t sleep. This is because your lungs keep filling up with fluid and then you hack up a lung trying to get rid of the fluid. Believe me when I tell you it is gross. Plus you have to work because, hello, you work in fast food and fast food franchises are not exactly known for their wonderful health benefits and you have no time off so you are taking a lot of severe cold medicine (because you can’t get the stuff you need because you don’t have any health insurance as well) that makes you wired and a little goofy.

During this onset of bronchitis, I finally fell asleep at around midnight. And then I had this incredibly bizarre dream where my bedroom was in Taco Bell’s store room and the owner of the restaurant was standing over my bed, yelling at me because I was daring to sleep instead of moving anything. And I looked at him and said “Dude. It’s 3 in the morning. And you’re in my bedroom. Back off.” I wake up and look at the clock. It is 3 in the morning. I have to get up in 3 hours. Great. I manage to get maybe another hour of sleep.

The next night, I am sleeping. No odd dream this time. The odd dream would almost be welcomed because I would have been actually sleeping. But instead, the phone starts ringing. I stagger out to the living room, grab the phone and prepare for the worst. At 3 in the morning, phone calls do not usually bring good news.

Well, it’s not bad news, exactly. What I am greeted with is the extremely drunk voice of my ex-boyfriend, Mark, who has called me to share some exciting information with me. Here is our call:

DM: Hello (groggy, sounding somewhat frog like)?
Mark: DANA! Hi!
DM: Hi (puzzled).
Mark: It’s Mark! How are you doing?
DM: Uh, tired. Sick. Tired.
Mark: Guess what I did tonight?
DM: Uh…not sure I care.
Mark: I stole a stop sign!
DM: Really. How exciting (no inflection whatsoever here).
Mark: Yeah! It was great!
DM: Mark. Why are you calling me?
Mark: I thought you’d want to know.
DM: No. I want to go back to bed.
Mark: You don’t want to hear about how I stole a stop sign and eluded capture from the police?
DM: Not really.
Mark: You’ve changed.
DM: If, by changed, you mean that, since I’m no longer dating you, I’m not pretending to be interested in everything you say, then yes, you’re correct. I have changed. Good night.

Okay. I may not have said the last thing. I really don’t remember anymore.

The third night, I woke up again at 3 in the morning. This time from the coughing. Oh, the coughing was so great. And my nose was stuffed up so I decided to blow it. This might have been a mistake. The next thing I know, I’m watching a ton of blood explode out of my nose. Not fun!

I run to the bathroom, trying to get it to stop. I try tipping my head back. I try the ice cube across the bridge of the nose. I try stuffing a roll of toilet paper up my nose (slight exaggeration but not by much). Nothing works. And then I’m suddenly coughing up blood. I freaked out. I run into my roommate Anya’s bedroom and tell her I need help. She takes one look at my blood streaked face and decides to take me to the Emergency Room. She calls our friend Becky as well, completely freaking Becky out because her mother is dying of cancer and she thought that was the call to say “Hey, sorry, your Mom’s dead.”

Becky and Anya bundle me off to the ER where I don’t have to wait too long. A nice nurse helps me get the nose bleed under control but decides I still need to speak to a doctor. I am okay with this. Until, of course, I actually meet said doctor.

Bitch Doctor (BD): What seems to be the problem here?
DM: My nose started bleeding and then I was coughing up blood and I can’t sleep and oh my God, I’m so tired and please help me, oh kind lady.
BD: Well, when you have a bloody nose, the blood runs down the back of your throat and into your stomach. So you’re just coughing up that blood. It’s nothing serious. Didn’t you know that?

I do not respond for a moment since I am shocked at her tone. This woman needs to work on her bedside manner.

DM: Um, no.
BD: Well, it’s not serious. You just have bronchitis. I can’t believe you didn’t know that.
DM: I knew I had bronchitis…
BD: No. I mean about the blood. You need to take these pills and get some rest. Don’t go to work for 3 days.
DM: Okay.
BD: Now get out of my emergency room and let me help people who have serious problems.*

*Okay, no, she really didn’t say that but that is sure how she made me feel.

I meet Becky and Anya in the waiting room. It is now about 4:30. Both of them have to get up in less than two hours. I am feeling somewhat guilty about this. It’s decided that we should go get some breakfast. I’m supposed to take the pills on a full stomach but the doctor didn’t mention that. The nurse was the one that told me this and suggested I get something to eat right away.

Becky, Anya and I end up at Arby’s. They’re open 24 hours. Right now they are having a promotion – spend so much money and you can receive either a Pound Puppy or a Pound Purry. I think you can predict what happened next.

DM: I want a Pound Purry! I want a Pound Purry!
Anya: Okay, okay. Just calm down.

The Pound Purry is placed into my hands. He is orangeish and quite adorable.

DM: He needs to have a name. What should I name him? Hmm? Name, name, name. Oh! I know! I’ll name him Captain Kitty!
Becky: Captain Kitty? Why?
DM: Like Captain Caveman! I love Captain Caveman!

Captain Kitty is then propelled by me to swoop around the back seat.

DM: Swoop! Swoop! Captain Kitty to the rescue!
Becky: If Captain Kitty doesn’t sit down and shut up, he’s being tossed out the window.
DM: Gasp!

I’m not sure if it was the blood loss or the pills or maybe the combination of both but I started to get a little goofy. I think the expression “bouncing off the walls” would work well here.

DM: And then I did this and I did that and I have been so tired and I really feel quite well now and I like these pills a lot and isn’t my Pound Purry so cute and I can’t believe I have to take 3 days off and…
Anya: You. Shut up. Now. My God, do you ever quit talking?

Apparently my newfound energy was not welcome, especially since, when I was brought home, Anya’s alarm clock was ringing. I was told to stay in bed and there was to be no smoking! If I was very good, perhaps I could get up later and watch television.

It took forever for me to calm down enough to sleep but finally it happened. And then, there is a knock at the door. It’s about noon, I’ve managed to get maybe two hours sleep, I’ve lost blood and I’m very sick and my brain is not working at all. What’s the best thing that could possibly be waiting on my door step? Yes! A kid trying to sell magazine subscriptions. Great. I have a hard enough time resisting them when I’m on top of my game.

I try very hard to say no, the kid keeps pushing me. I even tell him that I really can’t make a decision right now because I just came back from the hospital and need to recuperate. His response? I can read magazines while I get better. I came very close to giving in but then my hero showed up. Darrel, Becky’s fiance, had been sent to check up on me. He quickly sent the kid on his way and ushered me inside where he broke Becky’s no smoking rule and gave me a cigarette or two. Bless him.

Anyway, long story short (too late), I finally got better, the bronchitis returned every year until about 3 or 4 years ago, when my doctor Deb (not a Bitch Doctor at all) told me I needed to quit smoking or I was going to die very soon (asthma, cigarettes and bronchitis do not go together well). I managed to quit (what a horrible experience that was!) for about six months to a year and then started sneaking cigarettes again. Now I only smoke when I go to karaoke. Deb is okay with this as long as it doesn’t start screwing with my lungs again (plus I was smoking over a pack a day and have gone to maybe a pack a week).

This story has been on my mind since Friday (what with the nose bleed and everything) but also because I can feel the dreaded bronchitis return. I wasn’t able to go to karaoke on Sunday because of the coughing fit that turned into vomiting up lunch. I had to ask for projects today because I can’t concentrate on the phone since I’m not sleeping (coughing through the night, of course) or I start coughing during the call and have to put people on mute. I’m alternating between too hot or too cold. Oh, and my ribs hurt. From the coughing. And I hate this. I hate being sick. I hate knowing that I have to get through this somehow because I definitely don’t have any PTO left over and can’t afford to take a few days off to recuperate. And do you know how sick I am of Orange Pineapple juice (64 ounces is a lot to drink in one morning)?

I think I am done whining now. I hope you’re all having a better day than I am. Love to all.

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