December 6, 2012 | Volume 117, Issue No. 49

Rest, breathe deeply

Wick's World

My next career may be as a professional football player in the NFL. I took my first steroids today. I’m also sporting one of those nasal strips that open the nostrils for easy breathing. You know the kind, that black stripe on a football player’s nose that gives them an angry bulldog look. I bought the flesh colored ones so there would be no confusion as to my occupation while parading around in public, although I have never been mistaken for an NFL linebacker before.

The steroid use is actually the result of taking care of a stupid mistake. It’s also the result of another casualty from the ill-advised train trip back from the West Coast. Someone on the tight quarters of the Empire Builder Train from Seattle to St. Paul cursed me with a few nasty microbes to the lungs. After ignoring the consequences of this disaster waiting to happen, seven weeks later I finally went to my doctor. I was diagnosed with a case of "walking pneumonia." Two weeks later, following an excursion into the mountains of northern Arizona, I returned home with what I called "flat on your back pneumonia."

I cannot sit still. I cannot rest and lay around in the name of recuperation although it is rather apparent that this is what was required. Unfortunately, things had gotten so bad recently that I had no other choice. When I could no longer climb the five steps up to my house without huffing and puffing like the big, bad wolf trying to blow down a pig’s house, it was obvious I had to do something about this serious breathing problem. Everything I read alerted me to the dangers of pneumonia for those ages 65 and over. I didn’t have to check a calendar to realize the implications of this.

So I finally returned for more doctoring at an urgent care facility in Eagan where a young physician packed me full of steroids, expectorant, an even stronger antibiotic than the one I originally had and a bottle of industrial strength cough syrup.

After taking a quick look at me she said, “You obviously need some sleep and rest. This stuff should do it.”

She was right. Last night I got as close to eight hours of sleep as I had in months. I woke up feeling like a million bucks. Well, maybe that is stretching it a bit, but let’s says that I finally felt somewhat rested. My lungs are beginning to clear up, I finally quit hacking up blood and I can actually take a deep breath.

Now I have to face the same demon that got me in this trouble in the first place, the inability to just sit. Today I feel like I could take on the world, although my body and mind are telling me different.

One of my businesses has been prospering at a record setting pace. While December and the holiday season was likely to be my best month ever, I find myself trapped in a recliner, taking pills and watching re-runs of “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers.” It’s not that I really need the money. It is more the challenge and satisfaction of accomplishment. It sure beats the life of a couch potato, but maybe I can find the goose that lay the golden egg somewhere among the rusted junk piles and pawn shops of America.

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