Spray Paint and Pneumonia


I am splayed out in bed, feverish, coughing, and my lungs are on FIRE. I’m dosed up on antibiotics and steroids.

It turns out that I have a pneumonia, but I was a little surprised.

Rosie and her new (older) friends found some cans of spray paint in the basement, and went to town with a large canvas. I smelled something strong, and I thought it was finger nail polish. I asked Rosie, and she lied and said it was. I turned on some fans and attempted to air out the house, but the smell wouldn’t go away. The next morning, I had a sore throat and cough. The scent lingered all day. I glanced through the bathroom and Rosie’s room, as the fumes were as strong as an open bottle of nail polish. I checked out the basement, and nothing looked out of the ordinary. A few hours later, I was having slight shortness of breath. I grabbed my inhaler and felt marginal relief. I took a nap, and then checked every room in the house. I saw a wet spot on a piece of cardboard, and sniffed it. It was the smell! Then I turned around and saw a big 5’x5′ work of spray paint art.

That evening, my friend Esther came over to spend the night. We went to Provo for a couple of hours, and when we returned the scent wasn’t quite as strong. We joked that we were getting high off the fumes, but I really didn’t feel great. By morning, the cough had worsened. I decided to take it easy for the day, and hopefully feel good enough for the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication at 3 pm. I was able to supress my cough enough to be in public, so we went to the stake center. I started to feel better. When we got home, the smell was lighter…like Sharpies. I was fine for a few hours, but then the cough came back with a venegeance. I was freaking Rosie out with my monster cough, and she begged me to go to InstaCare.

I arrived around 7:30 pm, and had my vitals checked. I had a fever of 101.2, and my pulse ox was 95 (slightly decreased, but still normal). I explained my symptoms to the doctor, had blood drawn and two chest x-rays. I started getting the chills, and my temperature increased to 103.3. The x-ray showed evidence of the first stages of pneumonia. The spray paint fumes obviously irritated my lungs, but it actually helped catch the pneumonia before it got worse. He said there has been an increase of cases in pneumonia in Utah County this month, and with my history of asthma and ARDS, he didn’t want to risk things getting worse. He sent me off with prescriptions for Z-Pack and prednisone and urged me to get them filled right away. But since it was after 9 pm on a Sunday night, no pharmacies were open in Spanish Fork or Springville. I had to drive up to Provo for the closest 24 hour pharmacy.

This morning I feel worse, but the smell in the house has improved. I’ve been coughing so hard that the muscles in my chest and back hurt. I’ve got a fever for sure, but can’t find a thermometer. I’m going to take it easy today, especially because my husband flies in tomorrow. I’d hate for the little time I get to spend with him to be watching me hack up a lung and lie in a fetal position.

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