Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Through thick and thin

As a rule, I'm a fairly healthy person for someone with serious and sometimes life threatening health problems. Meaning that I don't get a lot of flus, coughs, colds and stomach bugs, but when I do get sick, I get really really sick. Like deathly ill sick. Like I can't move, I can't walk, I can't breathe, I'm dying sick.

Now, I bet you are surprised to hear that I don't like being sick. Unlike most mom bloggers, my kids are certainly old enough to take care of their daily needs if I'm in bed, so I can stay prone as long as I want. But usually I don't want to. I want to do things I've committed to doing, I want to feel good, and I want to be able to be in control of my household.

However, today was not such a day. I was feeling poorly last night and went to bed after taking my regular meds, hoping for a good night's sleep. Well, that didn't happen. I kept waking up and with every awakening my chest was a bit tighter, my breath shallower, and my throat more swollen. I was stuffed up and feeling kinda shitty, but figured it was just allergies. That was until around 5:30 when I woke up unable to breathe. I have what's called cough varient asthma, which is pretty much what it sounds like. When my asthma flares up, I start with a tight chest, a feeling like my throat is closing up, and then I start coughing. And coughing. I keep thinking I can cough something up, but there isn't really anything to cough up. Maybe a bit of phlem, but mostly it's a dry, painful cough.

What sucks most about this is, the more I cough, the less able I am to breathe. I start out with shallow breathing and then I end up literally gasping for breath, feeling as if there is a huge piano sitting on my chest. And after that, the nausea kicks in. Nausea and vomiting. Man, nothing like a full scale asthma attack to really make you feel reliant on the medical system.

I sleep with a rescue inhaler next to my bed, like all asthmatics, and I gave myself a couple of puffs. Nope, that wasn't working. If I do more than 3 puffs, my heart starts racing and I get dizzy and my muscles cramp. I'm a complete mess. So I did my 3 puffs in about a half hour, and although it did a tiny bit of relief, I was bad. Really bad.

Once the kids were up and off to school, my home health aide took me to the ER for some prednisone. I got a rescue shot, an hour of oxygen, they hydrated me, and gave me an Rx for prednisone pills. For those of you that don't know, prednisone is a steriod and it is not a fun medication to be on. Yes, it does help to control asthma attacks, but it has a lot of ugly disgusting side effects and I get them all.

We got back home and I still couldn't even try to lay down. I have to be totally upright to be able to breathe. I was so dizzy and so lightheaded and so completely out of breath that it really wasn't safe for me to be alone. My HHA kind of made me a nest with the telephone, water, various asthma meds, and some food in our family room, and there I sat until I started having to pee all that water they stuck into me back out again. Even heading to the bathroom was so exhausting I almost didn't make it a couple of times.

By 5 pm the predisone had started working, the edema caused by the IV was going down, and my breathing, while still quite labored, was much better.

Hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight and by tomorrow I'll be feeling better. When I have a mega asthma attack like this, which might be once or twice a year, it can take up to a couple of days to get back to 'normal'.

I do have another doctor's appt on Thursday at the hospital and hopefull I'll be better. They have put me in the hospital before for attacks like this, but I tend to refuse unless I really feel I'm on the edge. I was very close today.
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Blogger Esther said...

I hope you feel better soon. I'll be praying for you. : )

25/4/06 11:43 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Prednisone: The miracle that sucks.

I hope you feel better SOONER than soon.

26/4/06 12:02 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Oh man. Prednisone is a scary drug - it can revive, or kill...

Dumb question, but do you have a nebulizer? My sister has horrible, life-threatening asthma, and it's litterally been a lifesaver at times.

I'll keep you in my thoughts. Severe asthma's a terrible disease. Truly frightening. I really hope you feel better soon.

26/4/06 12:51 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

This might seem like a molehill to treat a mountain, and you should ask your doc to make sure, but you might want to have someone go to CVS and get you a bottle of Mucinex (or the generic stuff). I bought a bottle of the generic and brought it to work and have treated my coworkers for everything from a little cold to tracheobronchitis to a full blown walking pneumonia with good results. For you, it might be a little thing, but it will help keep the phlegm moving in the right direction. Hope you are feeling better soon!

26/4/06 9:56 AM  
Blogger Anne www.tinykingdom.typepad.com said...

I can relate to having those days where health problems just don't let you get out of bed. It affects me even more MENTALLY than physically, I think.

26/4/06 10:31 AM  
Blogger Anne www.tinykingdom.typepad.com said...

I can relate to the health problems that send you to bed for a day or so. It's gotten where it affects me more MENTALLY than physically.

When you feel better, let's talk herbs and perennials.

26/4/06 10:42 AM  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

As an asthmatic who has gone through similar situations, I feel for you. Prednisone absolutely sucks, but you have to have it. Advair has helped me alot, but I still have had some really scary attacks. I know I am screwed when the only way I can breathe is to stand. Be well.

26/4/06 2:31 PM  
Blogger David said...

wow, margalit, thats a drag! I will be sure to pray for you tonight.

26/4/06 10:18 PM  
Blogger blackbird said...

I just spent some time in the hospital with my Youngest, who has serious chronic asthma -
this is the first time I've ever read what it must be like for him to have an attack...
you only have a rescue inhaler at home?
not a nebulizer?

I'm glad you are okay...

29/4/06 5:54 AM  

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