I have what???

****I’m updating the story:

I started with symptoms on a Tuesday.  Wednesday spiked a fever.  By Saturday, my fever was 102 and I broke down to see a doctor.  I woke up early Sunday morning to take care of Georgia’s insulin and meds.  Ate some toast and went back to bed to rest.  Woke up two hours later and ended up experiencing the most severe gastro-intestinal episode of my life.  Not to be overly graphic, but I needed both a bucket and the toilet simultaneously.  I was too weak to call for help and I literally had visions of my family finding me like Elvis.  I’m not even joking.  I should have gone to the hospital but my mom woke up and got me medication to stop the stomach issues and I slept for hours.  Three days later and I am still very sick but my fever is down. Don’t be like me.  Get yourself checked ASAP  I was ignorant to all that is pneumonia..the gastrointestinal episode was a part of it.  The infection was all over my body.  Be warned because it is no joke.

The backstory:

I documented my recent issues with inflammation in my last post “Inflammation Motivation“.  I’ve been struggling.  I’m run down.  My vacation started this week.  I had intended to take it easy because I was feeling so low.  I started  Tuesday off  with a bang and didn’t take it easy:  Took dog to groomers, got blood work done, ran some errands, and did laundry all before 10:30 am.  When I got home, I crashed, literally.  I was supposed to head out of town to visit my family, but I was too weak to drive, so I slept.  I forced myself into the car later that day and was literally dripping in sweat by the time I put the car in drive.  It was not good, but it was so humid, so I didn’t think much about it.  This was the first “red flag” that I missed.

The “you-know-you-are-too-used-to-feeling-like-hell-when moment”:

Wednesday evening, I missed a call from my rheumatologist.  She told me my blood work was concerning because my white blood cell count was very high.  She asked me if I had an infection.  I listened to her voicemail twice and then took out a thermometer.  I had a  fever of 101.  I didn’t think I was sick.  No stuffy nose, I had a cough I related to allergies.  I told her  the next morning that I wasn’t sick.  I was positive I was having a horrible flare.  We thought it could be I tapered off of my steroids too quickly the week before, so she recommended going back on a small dose of prednisone (hooray for weight gain!!) to try to calm my system.  The next day, my fever broke.  I was still weak, but thought the devil’s tic tacs were the fix, so I ignored the “red flag” of high WB count and went on my ignorant way….but still felt like road kill.  I still had a fever between 100-101.8.  I still thought it was a flare up of my autoimmune system.

The sad reality:

I woke up in the middle of the night FREEZING.  My temp spiked again, this time to 102.3.  I swear, even my split ends were aching.  I called my on-call rheumatologist and she told me to go to either Urgent Care or an ER because something was very wrong.  Boy was she right.  It took a fever of 102 to wake me up that I was really sick.  I don’t get scared often, but this fever and the way it made me feel….I was scared something was really wrong….and I was right.

The diagnosis:

You could have knocked me over when the doctor told me they were sending me for a chest X-ray.  It turns out that I have tons of inflammation in my lungs and the start of pneumonia.  I have pneumonia…..and I had no idea.  The doctor referred to it as “Community-aquired pneumonia”.  So friendly, right?  The ache in my chest that I thought was fibromyalgia, was inflammation in my lungs.  Now I’m with my elderly/immunocompromised parents and hoping I don’t get them sick.  My poor mom is running to the supermarket now, which is hard for her.  I’m too sick to pack up and leave.  I’m on antibiotics, steroids, rest, and fluids.  I’m honestly too sick to do much. This just sucks.

Why document my stupidity? (yes, I was was stupid)

Because I’ve had minor blips thinking that I was flaring when I was actually sick, but never this serious.  Don’t do what I did.  Get yourself checked.  This is my wake up call.  I knew I was crumbling, but thought this two-week vacation would be a recharge for my system.  Now it is going to be a healing process.

But don’t worry about me, the worlds worst nurses are making sure I’m not alone….ever, even when I want to be.


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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

4 thoughts on “I have what???

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this. There comes a point with chronic illness where we don’t really know what it feels like to be ‘normal’ anymore, so we easily miss ques that our body is feeling a little out of sorts.
    I hope your nurses are taking good care of you with plenty of fluffy cuddles and minimal barking/meowing.


  2. I hurt for you sweet lady. I hope Georgia and the gang let you rest. I know you’re worried about your parents but, I think it’s a real blessing that you were there when you crashed. You needed someone else to take over. Rest. Rest. Rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh Kelly. This is awful. I spent most of last week with someone who was coughing. I have to confess I was worried myself. I hope you get well soon. summer stuff like this is awful enough, but even worse is pneumonia. Goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I ended up with gastrointestinal complication. They think it may have been bactremia in my system. Luckily, I’ve been on antibiotics. Still weak but much better. This has been awful.


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