I've been a little under the weather for the past couple of days with costochondritis. Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breastbone. This connective tissue is what gives the rib cage its ability to expand and contract. When the cartilage is inflamed, the chest wall hurts, sometimes so severely it's difficult to breathe properly.
I get these attacks three or four times a year and they last a couple of days. Generally, it's just an irritant on the order of a minor sore throat. It's there, it hurts a little, but it doesn't stop me from going about my business. But this latest episode poleaxed me. The tiniest upper body movement was painful, breathing was limited to very shallow breaths, and forget trying to sleep. It hurt the least if I stayed upright, and sleeping upright is not a talent I ever mastered, so I dozed in fits and starts. After a couple of lousy days, I woke up this morning feeling much better and able to breathe normally. I just have that wiped out feeling similar to what one gets after recovering from a bout of the flu.
In the middle of this attack, I took my mother to meet my aunt and cousin for lunch. My husband thought I was crazy and told me to stay home, but that would mean admitting to my mother I was not feeling well, and she's the type to go off the deep end if anyone in the family gets so much as a paper cut. It was easier to suck it up than deal with her drama. Besides, the lunch date had already been postponed twice.
I really don't know how I got through those two hours. I was forced to move very slowly, but my mother moves slower, and because she has to hang onto me when walking, my own ambulatory problems were, fortunately, masked by hers. I just wish she didn't hold my hand in such a death grip. Then, because I had no appetite, I was going to order tortilla soup, but realized I would have to assume that hunched over posture people use when slurping soup, and that would pile on more pain. I finally settled on quesadillas. After lunch, we walked, or rather my aunt and cousin walked, my mother and I shuffled, over to a little gift shop owned by a friend that I thought my relatives would enjoy browsing through. By the time we left the shop, said our good-byes, and shuffled back to the car, I was trying to figure out how I could get my hands on my mother's hydrocodone stash without her knowing about it.
At any rate, I'm feeling much better and hope I don't have another costochondritis attack like this last one.
P.S. In case you are wondering, no federal laws regarding the proper dispensing of prescription drugs were broken.
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