Principal back after pneumonia

WHEN the usually fit and healthy Greg Wilkes went to bed with a headache in July, he never expected to be struck down with a three-month chronic sickness.

Mr Wilkes has just returned to his beloved job as principal at Mount Archer State School this week after spending a whole term recovering from a bout of pneumonia.

The Rockhampton father said the surprise illness had taken hold of him within a day and not let go until about last week.

"I didn't have a cold, or a cough, or a sniffle,'' he said.

Mr Wilkes said he had just spent the June/July school holidays relaxing with his family when he first noticed something was wrong.

"I'd barbecued dinner with my family. I had a headache when I went to bed, then I had a bad night of fever and sweats.''

Mr Wilkes said he had gone to school the next day because he believed he couldn't miss the first day of the term.

He said school staff quickly noticed something was wrong and persuaded him to go home about lunchtime.

Mr Wilkes said by then he was too sick to drive and had to be taken to hospital, where he spent the next week on a drip.

He said he was still at a loss to explain how he caught pneu- monia.

"I'm 49, I'm fit for my age, I don't carry a lot of weight, I run regularly with the kids at school, I'm not a drinker, I'm not a smoker.''

Mr Wilkes said the illness had affected his stamina and breathing to the point where even shifting the sprinkler in the yard left him puffed.

He said he had undergone regular physiotherapy to help him cough up what had settled on his lungs.

"It was revolting. I'm feeling fine now. I'm back on deck. It's good to be back.''

Mr Wilkes praised the staff at the Rockhampton Mater Hospital for their help.

"It really brought home to me that we're blessed to live in a country with medical care and antibiotics. He urged people to consider getting a pneumonia shot.

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