Nearing dawn, I awoke with the sensation that my chest felt heavy. The weight of my upper half felt as if it was pressing down from the inside onto the muscles of my upper back. It was odd, but strangely relaxing. The usually knotted muscles within me relaxed in response.
Was this sensation a remnant of that space between awake and asleep?
A virus had wrapped itself inside the cells of my being. The words "sick and tired" paled in comparison to how I felt. Dark circles grew larger under my eyes. My chest inhaled and exhaled rapidly over and over. My heaving breaths seemed to further extinguish my energy.
I shifted in the space of my bed, and pain rushed through the nerves of my lower neck, reached an intersection, and flowed up both sides of my face to the pinnacles of my temples. The ibuprofen had worn off over night, and I needed another dose. I didn't like relying on the pain reliever, but the alternative reminded me to ginger myself.
A tickling sensation grew near my vocal cords. I swallowed to tame the tickle. It didn't work. Coughing, that seemed to originate deep inside my lungs, sputtered from my lips. Over and over, I coughed. My oxygen supply was diminished, which encouraged my lungs to inhale deeply. I choked on the air, and sputtered some more.
The pounding of my heart startled me, and I sat up in response. I gasped for air again, and reminded myself to try a shallow breath. That helped, but it was followed by a fast 1-2-3 sequence of breaths. Suddenly a scratchy sensation welled up within my throat.
Choking coughs emerged, and my vocal cords throbbed in pain. My heart raced in response, and the din of my sputtering faded away. I sighed and grabbed my forehead. A chill cascaded within me, and I wondered about my temperature.
Was it 102.5 again?
My chest rose and fell over and over again in rapid fire sequence. My friends and family with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency ran through my thoughts.
Is this how they feel?
Is this how their breaths feel?
Is this how Grace and Meghan will feel in the future?
Choking coughs thrust forth again, and throbbing within my throat induced a swallow. Tears pooled within my eye lids, and my thoughts failed to calm my fever induced anxiety.
A virus was ravaging my insides, and I reminded myself to rest again. I gulped two more pills, and poured the water into the desert of my mouth and throat. I no longer had the energy to sit up. The mattress enveloped me with warmth, and my eyes closed under their own weight. Charlie rolled over and slid his sleep heavy hand onto my hip. Unfortunately, the muscles surrounding my hip knotted in response. More pain flowed.
A tear slid down my cheek toward my ear, self pity tried to emerge, but was quieted by the coughing within me.
A new sensation quelled. Itchiness inside the lower portions of my lungs insulted my sanity. I rubbed the middle of my back near the itching but found it futile. The itch was inside me, nowhere near anything I could scratch.
Fortunately, sleep found me again. Rest was what I needed. Rest would help with the battle against this virus.