I’d assumed that since I felt so ill, I must have got proper flu, flu like this:
“For god’s sake, he’s a man! He’s got a man-cold”
Here’s a guide for women dealing with man-flu:
So I did my best to not take it too seriously.
But I would have failed the gamecontroller/money test.
It turns out that the fit-like coughing, bloody phlegm, falling over, blue stars, etc are pretty good indicators that it’s not flu, it’s a chest infection. I ended up diagnosed with pneumonia and off work for 34 days, and I still feel sore and knackered. By the end of the first week my back and chest were agonizingly painful whenever I coughed, and I couldn’t even lie down or sit up without serious effort and lots of zombie noises. I barely slept for about ten days, which led to some interesting night-time hallucinations (thanks for the advice, Barack-Obama-hallucination!) and entertaining daytime narcolepsy.
There came a point near the end of December when suddenly I could sleep properly again, and the effect was amazing: I have never felt so much healthier and happier, and decided to head back to work. This was when I got some excellent advice from a friend at work: feeling a huge amount better is not the same as being healthy again, and going back to a stuffy dusty workplace would do me no good at all. Other people have made this mistake and ended up with permanent damage to their lungs. He was right - a week later I and was still coughing up little splatters of blood and having trouble moving around, and I’m very glad I stayed at home.
I’ve never needed a doctor’s note before. How did I end up with pneumonia? Was it caused by the sinusitis I had? Builders dust and broken air-conditioning at work? Stress? A colleague coughing over me a few days before? Inhaled tea-tree oil spray? The mold-removal project at home? Probably all of the above; certainly none of them helped.