I'm still feeling very weak and just generally exhausted, but I'm a lot better than I was two weeks ago. The infection is clearing, I'm breathing easier and in a lot less pain. Not better, but getting there. It's surreal, and a bit scary, to think of how physically sick I was when I was admitted.
I'm on another course of antibiotics (hopefully the last), the prednisolone is being reduced and I'm not on as many painkillers. I'll be seeing The Lung Doctor Man in a few weeks for a check-up and to test my lung capacity etc., and I see my GP next week. After all the tests from the bronchoscopy, they found a bacteria which was likely the cause of this flare up, but nothing too serious. There's that sick part of my mind that was hoping for something more sinister.
Being in hospital was torture as far as agoraphobia and other anxieties go. I was literally dropped into the middle of the CBD in a totally unfamiliar environment, and it got pretty terrifying at times. Most of the time I was too terrified to leave my room (thank god my insurance covers private rooms). My daily walks, once allowed, were the 50-odd meters to and from the tea & coffee closet - but only during times the halls would be quiet. The thought of going down to the 'busy' foyer (it wasn't really busy, in reality) to buy a can of Coke Zero from the vending machine was too much, and so mum would get one for me on her way up. Whenever I did get out of bed, the nurses would gasp at my height, saying they didn't expect me to be so tall. Nine times out of ten, this was followed by the obligatory "You should be a model!" comment. Smile, laugh, nod.
The staff were all wonderful, especially the nurses and pastoral care. They mightn't be trained in mental health, but they really do their best to understand when I try to explain that I'm one of those weirdos who literally doesn't leave the house. Apart from medical appointments, I've only left the house four times since the start of the year. I am so, so scared, of everything.
The first thing I did, the first thing I always do after being discharged, was smoke. Two cigarettes inhaled during the 10-minute drive home, then I shrunk into my armchair with my pipe and blasted off into eternity. It's the only thing that stops me feeling so completely overwhelmed all the time. Eleven days clean was enough. I haven't had a break this long for... since ED inpatient, three years ago.
I had great plans for exercise when I first came home, but my body can't keep up with my head. Maybe it was pushing it a little hard to expect daily exercise, starting immediately. I still feel so weak after being in bed for eleven days, not to mention the lack of activity in the weeks leading up to admission. On Friday I managed 15 minutes of step aerobics plus 15 minutes cardio boxing on the Wii, which was refreshing yet exhausting, but slacked off over the weekend. I did 20 minutes on the step earlier today and I feel totally wrecked. I use a pedometer to calculate my steps per minute, and in that regard I've definitely slowed down, but that's to be expected I guess. It's just disappointing because even though no amount of exercise is ever 'enough', I can't even come close right now.
My dietician came to visit me in hospital on Tuesday afternoon, which was amazing. It's always strange to have Tuesday mornings without her. She'd asked mum for my phone number in the morning, but even texting has been a struggle lately and I just couldn't do it. Instead she came in to visit quickly after she'd finished work, and it made a horrible day a million times better. I was supposed to have a proper appointment with her on the day I was discharged, later in the afternoon, but I physically couldn't get there. Walking out to the car left me coughing and breathless, and I just couldn't do it, but it might've been pushing it anyway. I see her tomorrow for our regular appointment anyway, and it'll be so good to catch up. I haven't seen her since the 27th - that's three weeks!