What Should I do if I Get Sick?

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It’s tune-up time again!! A “tune-up,” for those of you who aren’t in the know, is when the IV antibiotics have to come around to kick some ass. Sadly, bacteria can be stubborn. On the flip side of things, stubborn bacteria are probably why we still have life after the dinosaurs went extinct. Science.

I have a hard enough time sitting still regardless of my health. My problem is compounded when I get “sick” and am told to rest. “Rest,” they say, “is the car that drives you down the road to recovery.” Okay, well maybe, but it’s a pretty damn boring car ride. I get eight hours to rest over night, why do I need to extend that for an entire course of IV antibiotics? I’ll give you the first few days and take some time to recover, but after that, it’s game on.

When things start to go bad, as they inevitably do from time to time, and air is just a little harder to come by, I have a few things that I like to do to pass the time of a two or three week course of IV antibiotics. I guess if you want to see the real me behind the disease, this list of little “hobbies” might give you a glimpse of what a nerd I actually am.

1. Stay Out of The Hospital – My parents decided when I was really little that they were going to keep me out of the hospital by whatever means necessary. The hospital is a gross, disgusting place. From early on, they learned how to administer my IV meds with training from homecare nurses. As I got older, I learned how to handle the meds myself, which really gave me the opportunity to be completely independent in college. Too often do I hear of people with CF leaving college for weeks at a time to go get hooked up to an IV pole in some hospital room. It’s not hard to learn how to work the damn thing. Figure it out, get yourself out of the hospital – don’t waste two or three weeks of your life staring at a blank wall making someone do something that you can do yourself. It goes by much faster if you aren’t trapped in a hospital bed.

2. Video Games!!! – I f*cking love video games. I’m not sure I know any other way to describe my love for video games than to say that I f*cking love them. They are so fun. If you give me an Xbox, a copy of Battlefield 4 and a headset, I’ll get online and coordinate a virtual drone strike with 32 perfect strangers faster than you can say President Obama. My team usually wins. I ain’t got no time to lose – that is, when I am trying to kill time because I’m sick.

3. Get back to work – I know bed rest is the key to the car to drive down the road to success or whatever I said, but really, let’s be honest here, recovery and returning to normalcy walk hand in hand. I’m not saying taking some time to take it easy isn’t a good thing, it’s definitely helpful, but that’s how bad habits can get started. It’s dangerous to get comfortable in a lazy life.

4. Reading is good – I like to read. I think that’s probably pretty obvious since I write so much. There is something very active about reading; it doesn’t seem quite as sedentary as watching a movie or playing video games. Whenever I go on IV, the meds are an hour or longer, that’s a good chunk of time to make a dent in a good book.

5. Return to activity – I am fortunate with this one. Since I coach hockey and football in season at a high school, I spend a ton of time on my feet. Nothing speeds up my recovery quite like getting up and moving around, especially on hockey skates. It’s really almost like the lightest form of exercise, except for maybe walking around the block, but it gets the job done for about a week before the PICC line comes out and I get my life back.

6. Get out of the house – If returning to activity or work isn’t quite in the cards just yet, maybe I’m still coughing up some really infected mucus or my fever just won’t quite break, I find that getting up and out of the house for a few hours can go a long way when it comes to my sanity. I have no problem going over to the movie theatre and catching a flick solo. There’s something really peaceful about being by myself, disconnected from the world, and watching Tom Cruise blow up a ton of shit on an IMAX screen.

7. Extra treatments – I’m not sure I even need to say this, but it’s probably the most important one, so I’ll include it in my little list. Satisfaction with being sick is a scary thing. I view it as my personal responsibility to make sure I am not too comfortable when I get sick. Let’s say I have a 2-hour IV drip due at 3:00pm. It’s too early in the day to watch Jeopardy and I already spent a couple hours blowing people away on Xbox Live, what else is there to do? EXTRA TREATMENTS. A third or maybe even fourth treatment session during the day will help speed up things on the back end of the IV course.

8. Eating is finally fun – Eating is rarely exciting for people with CF. For whatever reason it’s just hard – I’m no scientist, so I can’t tell you why – but normally, it sucks. The exception to the golden rule is when steroids are introduced – IV steroids. I’ve only ever had to use them a handful of times, but let me tell you, it is not hard to see why Mark McGuire loved them so much. Hell, I felt like I could hit 76 homeruns last time I used them, and this is coming from someone who has a hard enough time making contact with a whiffle ball. One side effect from steroid use is increased appetite. You better damn belief that I use that one to my benefit – I could spend hours at the dinner table.

9. Getting things done – When I’m sick I’m forced to spend more time on my ass than I would like, I think that’s just assumed. It also means plenty of time around the house, which is always a good time to catch up on things that I’ve been behind on… like figuring out what to do with my collection of the millions of free t-shirts I’ve accumulated over the years. Or like… writing blog posts.

So here they are… just some of the things that help me keep my head on straight when I’m down for the count for about 2 or 3 weeks. Sadly I don’t see myself in a rocker knitting a sweater or something, so these are my mindless activities.

The undisputed top 10 ranking of video games EVER:

1. SOCOM 2

2. Battlefield 4

3. NHL 13

4. Halo 4

5. Halo 1

6. NCAA Football 14

7. SOCOM 1

8. Star Fox 64

9. Mario Kart 64

10. Grand Theft Auto 3

The Boomer Esiason Foundation is promoting a video featuring my sister, Sydney, to be released soon! This will be a great resource for so many CF families. She has been a great shoulder for me to lean on when times are tough, so I can’t wait to see the finished product. It’s also going to be fantastic because I can promise you she will probably talk about how awesome and cool I am. If she shockingly decides not to talk about my greatness, then, well, this video project will go up as a failure…