A scary time

I got back from my holiday last week – it was lovely. The warmth of the sun, the beautiful tropical gardens, the wonderfully gentle people… all blissful, except for the cold I picked up while away. No biggie, right? Well, apparently not.

A day or two after I got home I couldn’t breathe.  I was gasping, rattling, wheezing, or not depending on how shallow a breath I took. I get asthma, so I took the reliever puffer thingy. It didn’t work so I took more. It still didn’t work so I did an “emergency boost” (four puffs). Still nothing, though by now my heart was racing and the rest of me jittery, my hands shaking.

I couldn’t talk more than a few short words at a time. This made communication with the mother difficult and tense and endlessly snippy.

And my thoughts raced, like they’re guaranteed to do in the wee small hours. My thoughts became scattered. I wasn’t thinking clearly. This must be the worst combination – physically unwell and mentally on edge. At least when it’s only one, you have the health of the other to help you through. Both at once? That’s just wrong.

I hoped that by the morning I would feel better, wondering what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately I didn’t. I contemplated going to the ER, but let myself be talked out of it by the mother – she thought some “inhalation” would help. It didn’t. A warm cup of tea? Momentarily, but not enough to make a difference. And of course the communication continued to be stilted – her thinking I was in a bad mood; me just unable to breathe.

By midafternoon I’d had enough and headed for the ER. I was scared; I hate hospitals – especially when they rushed me through triage and straight into the medical bit, no waiting (much to the chagrin of the other punters in the waiting room). And then they wanted to admit me – “my god no, I’m not that sick,” I thought – “you look sick. You need to be here,” they said, though they were really lovely about it.

Drugs, monitors, breathing devices, blood tests, injections. Rinse and repeat.

A couple of days later I’m home. Better, but still not great. I’m still not thinking clearly and my head is filled with ugly thoughts. My night time anxiety is growing as I know the next few hours are the worst for asthma. Will I get to sleep? Will I have to make another dash to the ER?

I’m sorry to say this is making the bliss of my holiday evaporate pretty quickly. 😦


8 thoughts on “A scary time

  1. ((Kerro))

    I’m sorry you are sick. It sounds very frightening. Did they give you a diagnosis, new medications? Do you just have to rest and wait? I hope you can get some sleep and the nighttime anxiety ease although I understand how difficult that will be.


  2. Sorry you had an attack. I have asthma too. Mine is usually fine, but gets bad if I’m exposed to mold. have you tried pressured exhale breathing? I find it helps to give me some lung function back. I couldn’t find anything on the web about it just now, but basically its where you put your lips mostly together to give the air some resistance when you are breathing out. The idea is that the small air channels in the lungs collapse in asthma on exhale, preventing the lungs from emptying completely, which means there’s less room to fill back up. By having the exhale obstructed a bit, the ‘backflow’ from the air helps keep these little airways open, so they can empty. It seems to work for me. I got the idea from a chi gong lung exercise, and then found a reference to it which I can’t find now.

    I’ve also heard that asthma has an emotional gunk/stress component, although I haven’t really seen that so much. Then again, my asthma is much better since I left home so perhaps that’s not true. I also used to get attacks when I’d visit my brother’s house, which was both moldy and stressful, so hard to say which was the cause there.

    Hope you get a full breath and some peace soon.

  3. @ Di – It was frightening. They filled me with drugs (IV, oral and via a mask thingy) and that certainly helped. They think the attack was caused by the combined effects of me having a head cold and dropping massive temperatures between my holiday paradise, where it was 28-30C (about 85F, I think) and home, where it was only 8C (46F) when I landed. The nurses said that the temperatures at home had dropped about five degrees over the week I was away and that was enough to bring more people in with their asthma. No wonder a drop of 20+ degrees mucked me about (although it’s never happened before).

    @ Kate – Thanks lovely.

    @ Sword Dancer – I’m sorry you’re asthmatic, too. I never knew that breathing technique was all technical-like – I just do it because it helps me breathe in the bad times! 😉 I’ve never had (or never noticed) an emotional connection – just the usuals like mould and dust. That and my cat are all killers for me. I’m happy to avoid mould and dust as much as I can, but kitty is another matter! 🙂

    @ Sanity – Thanks, me too.

  4. It does sound awfully frightening… I’m glad you’re on the mend. I’m sorry that it’s eaten away into the time when you had planned to get some r&r before starting the new job.

    Take care of yourself,

  5. Thanks CG – I’m definitely getting better. I can even speak in whole sentences now, without coughing up a lung! 😉

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