Oxygen. Common enough substance, readily available to most of us in unlimited supplies, and accessed without thought. Automagically, we breathe in and out every day, sometimes faster in delight or stress, sometimes slower to calm down and not strangle that disobedient teen. But we breathe, and we don't think about it. At all. However, there are many of us for which this breathing thing has become a conscious act. An act that consumes our thoughts and fears and sleepless nights. I can't seem to catch a good breath...what's wrong with me, and how long will this last?
Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I've had whooping cough, and a lung infection on top of that. That I've spent time on bed rest and couch rest and just plain pooped-out-can't -do-anything today rest. Since early February. I had thought my recovery (and I did think I'd have one) would be linear, you know, like a straight line. Heading UP. Each day a little better than the one before, and that it would have an end. That I'd be able to not lug my nebulizer everywhere, that I could stop having this racing heart and shaky hands and hyped up feeling from the albuterol. But what's happened instead is a sine wave (or cosine, I'm not picky) where instead of that straight line, what I have is the peaks and valleys of wave on the ocean. Some good days, some bad days, some medium days. But not really going anywhere. And repeating the above, in an endless semi-regular pattern.
The doctors don't agree on what's wrong with me. One says I have chronic obstructive airway disease, which is adult on-set asthma, only they don't call it that, they give it a longer name that takes more of your precious breath to say. Have you ever gotten out of breath having a normal conversation? It's inconvenient, especially for a talkative person like me. The other doc thinks I just have a very severe lung infection that I'll finally get rid of. Some day.
Faced with that, I decided maybe a tie breaker was in order. So on one of those days when I can barely talk without coughing and hyperventilating as I gasp for air, I called a pulmonologist (lung specialist) for another opinion. They were happy to make an appointment for me, but the soonest was two weeks away. Do you know how long two weeks is when you can't breathe? Damn long, I tell you.
So here I sit, waiting. The American Lung Association's slogan is so very true. “When you can't breathe, nothing else matters.”
I apologize for the whininess of this post, but two and a half months of being sick has left me cranky. If you'd like some cheerier posts about the letter O, please visit the other participants of the fab Ms. Jenny Matlock and alphabe-Thursday.