Today marks the sixth week since I came down with mono.
Of course I didn't know what it was at the time. We were doing warm-ups in Karate class and a quick change in the intensity of the work-out sent my heart into disconcerting palpitations and I felt too weak to stand. I sat the rest of the class out, sipping water and trying to get my breathing and heart rate back under control.
The next morning my lungs were no longer on fire but my heart was still a little "poundy" well into the day. I had no energy (which surprised me, usually a good night's sleep solves such problems).
As the days went by with little to no improvement, I thought there was something wrong with my blood pressure so I bought an at-home automatic blood pressure cuff and checked my pressures daily. The numbers were perfectly fine though. Still, I couldn't shake the oppressive fatigue or the fact that my heart would go nuts if I stood for too long or did any level of physical activity. I'd even get winded if I spoke for too long. I couldn't lay down on my sides and slouching wasn't too comfy either.
Being the little hypochondriac that I am, my mind raced through a whole slew of possibilities: something wrong with my heart, something wrong with my lungs. I'm genetically predisposed to blood clots (though I've never had one), maybe I had a clot in my lungs that I didn't know about?
Finally after a full week of not getting better I went to the Urgent Care to get looked at. Any answers were better than no answers. Fortunately the doctor was determined to figure out my problem. He ordered all the tests he could think of, and then almost as an afterthought he said, "Let's do a test for mono too."
My husband and I snickered at that. "Mono? At my age?" Hey, whatever makes you happy pal.
Turns out that was the only test to come back positive. Everything else proved I'm in perfect health.
I was told that mono is incredibly catchy and that I could have picked it up anywhere - even a grocery cart handle! There's no medications for it and the only treatment is rest. I was given a three-day leave of absence from work (giving me five days off as that took it to the weekend) and sent on my way.
Knowing what was wrong was great in that I at least had a time frame of how long I'd be laid up for: minimum two weeks; could be as much as three months though (or longer?); but it didn't make dealing with the symptoms much easier.
I delegated the bulk of the household chores to my husband and slept and slept and slept some more.
I returned to work the following week and things went along pretty hunky-dory for two weeks. I still had no energy for Karate or Tai Chi. I still had no tolerance for standing for any length of time, but I could finally sleep on my left side again and after a while could even slouch in perfect comfort (yay?), and I was acclimating to the fairly constant fatigue (so that's how parents of young children do it!).
By last week though I realized I couldn't even function on that level.
I had to scale it back at work to half-days as I realized if I get over-tired I'm done for well into the next day!
My employer has been exceptionally accommodating though: my boss hooked me up with a laptop that allows me remote access to my work computer. The present routine now is that I go to work in the morning and put in four hours. Then I come home, get some lunch and lay down for an hour and a half to two hour nap (and I sleep!). Then I get up, have some dinner, and remote in for a couple hours. It's not a full eight hour day, but it's better than nothing.
Even six weeks in, my energy levels are still shot. I still tire freakishly easy and I still sleep like the dead (no really, I've slept through calls to the house phone which typically wake me under normal conditions!) At this point I seem to be in a holding pattern: I'm not getting much better, but I'm not really getting worse either.
I had to see my doctor last week to get her written approval for the half-days at work, and I'll see her again next week for some follow-up blood work to see how things are going.
I'm seriously hoping this week marks a turning point for me.
Today was the first day I didn't need a nap in the afternoon and I actually got a lot done today after work without feeling horribly drained.
Whether this is the start of an improvement or not, all I know is mono sucks!