I realized I had pneumonia for the fourth time on March 20, 2021. It has been a year and five months now. I do not have an “overarching diagnosis” for why I am so vulnerable to pneumonia, though not for lack of trying. I have seen twenty specialists since 2012, including four pulmonologists.

Most specialists dismiss me as soon as their tests don’t fit me into one of their boxes.

I have one now who is not dismissing me. He referred me to the Mayo Clinic. They did not call back when I did a self referral three months ago nor when my primary care physician referred me. However, they called within a week of his referral.

Mayo Clinic called yesterday. I may need a prior authorization or something, I have a number to call today.

I am healing. I still am on oxygen for singing, flute, night and heavy exercise, but pulmonary rehabilitation is working. I have built up steadily on the treadmill for 6 weeks. I have 5-6 more. Many of the pulmonary rehabilitation people are on oxygen and will not get off oxygen, so I am an outlier here too.

I feel better than I have in seven years, since the 2014 pneumonia. I had strep A pneumonia in 2012 and 2014 and really did not fully heal after 2014. I was tired all the time. I think I went back to work too soon and just did what I could. Not returning to work is helping immensely. I can’t return anyhow, unless the Mayo Clinic or someone figures out my “overarching diagnosis” and how to make me less vulnerable to pneumonia. Seems unlikely after 19 years. My first round was influenza in 2003. Maybe choosing a different career than primary care would have made a difference, though maybe I would not have survived a pneumonia without being a primary care doctor. We aren’t supposed to treat ourselves, but if no one believes us, well, there is not much choice, is there?

The photograph is from a beach hike in November 2021.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: heal.