Monday, December 8, 2008

Life-changing day from hell

Well, I spent all of Saturday night and all of yesterday literally gasping for breath, and it only got worse. For an entire day I tried every congestion medicine in the book: Primatene worked best, but the effects only lasted about 20 minutes before each breath was a rasping, wheezy croak again. By late evening, I really was at the point where I could barely breathe. I kept holding out, saying, "Maybe this will work... maybe that will work... let's try some more tea... gasp... wheeze..." until finally Scott insisted, "You're going to pass out soon -- you have to go to the hospital!" He was right: I felt lightheaded, and my lips and eyelids were turning slightly purple. Terrifying. So at 10 p.m. or so, we went to the E.R., where they hurried me in, called it "acute bronchospasm," and gave me a couple of tanks of weird vaporous gas to huff on until I could breathe again.

The whole thing was completely terrifying. I have never been so terrified! There's nothing like being unable to breathe!! If you can't get the next breath in, then what? And you can't sleep because you start to choke! Horrible.

The episode originated from the lingering bronchitis, yes, but they didn't want to get into further diagnostic details with me, since their job is merely to stabilize: they want me to make an appointment with my own doctor for anything else. They gave me Prednisone, a steroid to help build up my lungs. My hippie doctor is not going to like the steroid, but you know what? I think maybe I'm done with my hippie doctor anyway. I'll go see him about this because they already faxed him my records, but I will also go see someone else: I have a few suggestions from Suky for good doctors in the area, regular doctors who don't just prescribe nettle tea for every ailment! And if I like the new doctor, I'll switch to him or her instead.

When I got home, it wasn't half a minute between hitting the pillow and being asleep. I was so worn out. And now every normal breath I take is an absolute blessing! I am sitting here just breathing and being grateful for breathing.

No more emergency-room visits for me! I have a whole list of resolutions: clean up the apartment so it's not so dusty; only go to non-smoking places when I go out; be sure I'm bundled up properly outside; follow the doctor's recommendations, whatever they may turn out to be, to the letter. I realize that that may entail (yecch) exercise, but whatever. I will do anything to avoid anything like this again.

This was a life-changer.