I got pneumonia my junior year at Syracuse University. The health center there missed diagnost me for about two months. I was running 100-101F temperature for that entire time and always was hacking up crap (nice - huh?) , but they would only tell me to take it easy and stay on the tylenol and robitussin. Finally, one weekend will I was in the library trying to do a research project, I started couching uncontrollably. I just could not stop. The following morning I was having the craziest hot flashes and chills that I had ever experienced. My entire body would turn a bright red, I would sweat profusely (I felt like I was burning up), convulse and was unable to stand. After a couple minutes I would turn white as sheet and begin shivering like crazy (this was nothing like have "the chills" when you have a mild fever" - and it just kept cycling...). I went back to the health center that morning and my temperature had spiked over 105F. The nurses were a bit concerned. They took a chest x-ray and found that my right lung was about 1/4 filled and my left lung was essentially gone. I was sent immediately to the hospital. At the hospital I was packed in ice (OMG that felt good) and started on a erythromycin IV (which burns the crap out your veins - it would create red trail up my arm - when it was halfway up my upper arm - the vein/arm would be switched), and given pure (? - or atleast a higher concentration - I wan't asking many questions at the time) O2 to breathe. Blood was drawn 3 times a day (twice from a vein and once from an artery-which really hurts). I was like that for 5 days, but was back in school the next week. My folks had to pickup/drop me off at the front doors to the buildings where my classes were for a week (they took a week off of work just to taxi me to school - an hour away - pretty significant sacrifice). It was two months before I would say that I was back to normal (both in how I felt and lung capacity).
I had been working out (i.e., lifting, running, etc.) 3 hours/day - 6 day week for a couple years prior to contracting pneumonia. I could not believe that anything could totally wipe me out like that. I know there are far worse things out there (my sister got both malaria and dengue fever at the say time - which very nearly killed her - while living in Paraguay!!!) than pneumonia, but it is no picnic either. I sympathize with anyone who has to endure it.
All-in-all, pheumonia just sucks.