The Greek word for "breath" is "pneumatos". Hence pneumonia refers to the sickness that reduces--or removes--breath. Actually the root word means "lung". The Greek word is most interesting because the same word is translated "wind" or "spirit" depending on the context.
It is not idle curiosity that finds me toying with the word. Three years ago I almost died of pneumonia, and just the other day I discovered I have it again. I figured I had better write this blog post quickly before my demise. Heh, heh,...a little dark humor there.
Once one has contracted pneumonia, the body retains a weakness that makes it susceptible to repeat the infection. A week following my flu shot, I seemed to display symptoms of the common cold, but only some. I preached and taught Sunday School last Sunday with my voice noticeably fading the whole time. By Thursday I was croaking like a frog and coughing like a chain smoker. So my attentive lady coaxed me into visiting Kaiser's Urgent Care unit. A doctor listened intently with the stethoscope, then sent me to xray. He said I had just the tip of one lung beginning pneumonia. So I got an antibiotic, a codeine cough syrup and an asthmatic inhaler. Of course this is in addition to the 12 pills I take every day to save me from diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, and expanding prostate.
I remember the last time around, my infection was classified as some type of bacteria. I think this is good news because I can take medicine (antibiotic) to kill those little beasties. I took my third dose tonight, so I think I am on the way to repair. The albuterol inhaler helps me expand my lungs and cough up some nasty lugies. The codeine syrup, whatever else it does, seems to help me zone out into lengthy sleep time.
I have learned, however, that the most intelligent of doctors cannot heal. Only God can do that. The same medicine that cures one, cripples another. Side effects of strong medication are legion--and terrifying. Pneumonia is able to kill me, I know. But reaction to medication is equally able to kill. I am so glad to be in the hands of the Great Physician. In the mean time I walk around in a sort of dream world, feeling I am only two steps from passing out. Am I only a butterfly dreaming all this?