Wednesday, April 28, 2010

O is for Oxygen @ Life is Good

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.

28 comments:

Christy said...

Oh, how frustrating. I don't blame you for being cranky!

Aging Mommy said...

That is a long time to be sick, and when the doctors can't agree on what the root cause is and consequently figure out how to get you better it must be exhausting and frustrating all at the same time. You have to fight to get the attention you need with the medical world, so keep pushing for answers and I hope the pulmonologist can help.

Terra said...

Whine away darling whine away. In a family of asthmatics that are prone to chest infections I can feel your pain inside and out! Hang in their...and if I may be so bold...have a dr check your IG levels next time you have a blood draw (when you are well again)- you might learn something that may help in the long term.

Sarah said...

If anyone deserves to whine it is you! I can't imagine the frustration you feel with dealing with these doctors all the while having difficulty trying to breath.

Viki said...

I really can understand why your upset. My mother has had to go on and off oxygen for a while. She really hates it. She still gets breathing treatments. I know when she has a hard time breathing it makes her very tired. Hopefully, this new doctor will give you the right answers you need.

Chatty Crone said...

I am sorry you aren't feeling well either - I have had a cough for a long time too - people have a hard time understanding breathing issues. Prayers to you. Hot water and lemon works well.

sandie

Annesphamily said...

Wish you were here in Colorado! The National Jewish Hospital is number one in the nation for respiratory health. It would be the best place for you! You are in my prayers. Good post today considering you are not well. I hope that pulmonologist will help. Call to make sure they do not get any cancellations. I work for a specialist, ENT, and sometime you can get in sooner if they have a cancellation list. Hugs Anne

Linda said...

That is a very long time to be sick with no definitive answer. I know it must be frustrating. Hoping you are better soon.

Christy said...

i don't blame you either...i would be more than just a little snippy if i were in the same circumstance. Hope you feel better soon!

easternsparkle said...

I think you've got every right to whine - I hope you get an answer soon!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I wish that have give you a specific diagnosis. This must be very frustrating. I hope it get better soon.

mbkatc230 said...

I hope that the pulmonary specialist can give you some answers. My mother has COPD and I know how difficult this can be. Some days, she is perfectly fine and others she can barely walk 20 steps without being out of breath. Prayers with you and hope you take an upswing soon! Kathy

My name is PJ. said...

I hope you continue to improve and will be up and around soon!

5thsister said...

As your friendly Respiratory Therapist I so understand what you are going through. I'm glad you are seeing an actual pulmonologist. It could be a number of things...like the COPD you mentioned, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, bronchiectasis, or even Bronchiolitis obliterans with organizing pneumonia (BOOP). You take care of you! Have they tested your oxygen saturation level? Where is it running? Oh goodness...you just take good care of you!!!!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I'm sure you must be sick of being sick. It sounds so tiring. I sure hope you get some answers soon. Medicine is not an exact science, but it should be! It's very frustrating when doctors disagree. GET WELL!

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

Oh dear. This is just a suggestion.
Ever try taking something to DILUTE phlegm?
Jasmine, my eldest, has a kidney condition and she cannot take too much medication. When she cough, we got to think of how to get it cure fast. She is already on steroid. Hang in there.
Happy Thursday!
Mine is here
hugs
shakira

Steph said...

Geez... I've had a cough for about two weeks and its about to drive me nuts. I can't even imagine having one for two months. Hope they figure out what's wrong and fix it quickly.

Jenny said...

Oh no.

This sounds awful and frightening.

The Mom in me wants to say "are on the cancellation list, have they checked for pleurisy, could it be allergies, eliminate dairy for the moment until you get to the doc...and let me make you some tea."

The friend in me wants to give you a hug.

And Mrs. Matlock wants to give you an A+ and a pass to the Nurses office.

I'm going to e-mail you on this, too.

Take care of yourself.

I'm sorry this has gotten so bad.

mrs. c said...

I completely understand...you think "each day I will get better" and when you don't it is so tough! Then when they cannot decide what is wrong with you it just gets worse and worse! My prayers are with you and I hope that you can get in earlier to see the dr., sometimes if you call each day they will "work you in".

Red Couch Recipes said...

I agree that we all take normal breathing for granted. I hope that you can get the care you need to get back to normal. Joni

GardenofDaisies said...

So sorry you have not been well. I was going to say it sucks.. but you probably can't, so that is not very good word to use in this situation.
Hope the third doc's opinion will help decide for once and for all what you have going on, so that you can get the proper treatment and start feeling better.

jeff campbell said...

Wow...tell it like it is...and I so hope and pray that how it is improves with each day. Peace and blessings...jeff

Steph said...

It matters. We take so many things for granted until the lack of them, the struggle to do them, or the pain there of becomes all of life. I so hope you soon find that you no longer have to think about oxygen... that your breathing becomes so easy and natural that no thought is required and you can again fully do the things you love.

Natasha said...

I can totally understand why you posted about this and, well, it's your blog, you can say what you want to!

I do hope that your health improves and that something can be done to help you breathe properly.

Best wishes and take care,
Natasha.

Pondside said...

Hi Tina. If one has ever had trouble breathing one knows how precious oxygen is. Has your doctor investigated the possibility of pulmonary sarcoidosis? If he/she hasn't, be sure to ask. It is something that masks as other ailments

Amanda said...

I'm sorry you're still so sick. And I'm sure the allergens this year are not helping at all. Take care of yourself.

Catherine said...

Oh, so sorry about your health issues.
Praying you get some much needed relief soon!
Blessings,
Catherine

H said...

I didn't join class until 'Q', so I missed this post! I want to follow through now to see what the diagnosis was. My husband had CFA and needed a ready supply of Oxygen, so I know all about how it feels to not be able to breathe. Not nice!