Monday, 7 October 2019

Double Dose and Hallucinations: A Warning

Having spent the best part of the past two years without catching a dose, I’m just emerging from my second dose in four weeks. I realise that this is the time of year for doses, but to get two in such a short space of time is bad luck. At first I wondered if it was the same dose coming back, but I’m sure it wasn’t for two reasons: I was well for a week in-between the doses and the symptoms of the second one were quite different from the first. Ironically, I’ve just received an invitation from my GP to get the annual ‘flu jab next weekend.

I went down with my second dose just 24 hours after going into several opticians to try on different spectacles. Viruses remain alive for several hours on surfaces in warm rooms. I assume that other people who were infectious had visited the same optician earlier that day and left their legacy. Whilst the first dose was fairly mild but long lasting, the second was most virulent. I was laid low in bed and couldn’t move for several days with a severe throat and sinusitis. Then the chest infection kicked in.

I took the standard treatment: paracetamol and oral decongestant tablets along with nasal decongestant spray. But at night I found myself with insomnia and catastrophic imaginings. I saw terrible car crashes with me driving into huge lorries and then looking around to find my dearest T dead beside me. After several similar nights, I was completely exhausted but too anxious to relax and sleep. We checked the information leaflets on the decongestants. They both described possible side effects of insomnia, bad dreams and hallucinations. Beware, this decongestant tablet (Sudafed) is exactly the same drug that is included in Lem-Sip, but at a higher dose.

I stopped taking the decongestants and my night-time symptoms improved. I became able to rest and sleep. But lying down was bad for my sinuses, which without the decongestants were more bunged up. I began to inhale steam from a bowl of warm water and this helped clear my nose for a while. It also seemed to help move phlegm from my chest. As the week wore on, I sneezed down and coughed up surprising quantities of yellow-green mucus. Slowly the sinuses and lungs got clearer and I was able to sleep better at night as well as to take naps in the day.

But as I slowly improved, T went down with the dose too. She had the sinusitis thankfully without the chest infection. Instead of her tending me, the roles were reversed. She chose to avoid the decongestants and seemed to be making a quicker recovery than I was. Outside it was rainy and cool. I wrapped up to make an emergency dash to Tesco for more food. Autumn storms came and went. We both steadily improved. What we really needed was a warm weather holiday. It was a good job we had one already booked.