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illiness

A Visitor From The Past

I have been out sick for a week as I was visited by an old visitor from the past that I had thought I had outgrown. ASTHMA. Gasping for breath is scary; but even more frightening is hearing mysterious sounds as you lay in bed that nobody else can hear. As a psychologist, I know about hearing voices and these would even wake me up in the middle of the night.  Once, I got admitted, I think the hospital staff must have thought I was crazy.  This was a strange illness because I got very sick before I sought treatment.  I did not run a temperature.  I just got out of breath.  Even my oxygen percentages were good.  My heart rate was normal.  I had just run out of steam.  However, I was very relieved when they hooked me up with oxygen; pumped me up with steroids, and admitted me from the Emergency Room.   Missed church that morning and didn’t get to celebrate Mother’s Day or should I say Grandmother’s Day.

Once, I got admitted, I think the hospital staff must have thought I was crazy.  This was a strange illness because I got very sick before I sought treatment.  I did not run a temperature.  I just got out of breath.  Even my oxygen percentages were good.  My heart rate was normal.  I had just run out of steam.  However, I was very relieved when they hooked me up with oxygen; pumped me up with steroids, and admitted me from the Emergency Room.   Missed church that morning and didn’t get to celebrate Mother’s Day or should I say Grandmother’s Day.

I am now on all sorts of asthma drugs.  I am feeling better.  I am home and laying around.  Just going to the doctor wore me out and I can’t talk too much without getting breathless.  However, I have been having some feelings of Deja Vue as I remember feeling this way as a child desperate for air and also coughing my guts up.  Must have really scared my parents.  This was a common thing for me in the winter as I grew up.

I was told I would grow out of it and I thought I did but on a rare occasion I would have that familiar gasping for breath and would have to leave where I was and do something to catch my breath.  I usually was apologetic and would leave wherever I was so as to not cause others any concern about me in order to calm down and get over the spell of being out of breath.

Scarier even yet is recently I have begun to have strong allergy reactions to air bound particles.  Fortunately, I recognised what was going on and got myself out of the situation either under my own power or with the help of friends.  I, fortunately, had begun carrying a rescue inhaler.

Also, asthma causes damage that doesn’t go away and can come back to haunt you later.   I know that wood smoke (yes, fireplaces) is difficult for me to breath; but until we started to worry about second-hand smoke, people just thought I was a party pooper if I reacted to things like cigarette smoke and wood smoke.  I could also detect strong chemicals in the air just by the way they made me feel.

I had years of bronchitis but I didn’t think of it as asthma related.  I would continue to go to go to work and would hope that I could control my cough when I had to talk to patients.  I knew that it was probably not catching and would eventually go away on its own although that might take a long time.  Once the air got cold, I had to throw a scarf around my mouth or have a coughing fit.  It didn’t help that I was a mouth breather either.

I didn’t know that I had a bunch of unhappy bronchioles swollen that wouldn’t let my air get out so I could breathe back in.  It was these guys that were making the wheezing noises I could hear.  Chest x rays didn’t show anything so that wasn’t a path to treatment either.

If you feel sick, you are sick.  Keeping going until you find effective treatment.  Don’t apologize for something you can’t help doing.  Yes, it is going to make some trouble for other people and you might be the center of attention for awhile  It is your turn to seek and receive help.  Don’t die trying to cover it up and not inconveniencing people.

P.S., I now have a preliminary diagnosis, pulmonary hypertension which was given after I had an echocardiogram of my heart.  For your information, previous to that I passed certain breathing tests with flying colors.  My oxygen percentiles were high.  They were consistently in the 90’s.  I passed a breathing test.  This was the second time I had done so.  My lung x-rays were clear ( I had two recent ones).  Therefore, I was not put on oxygen when I went home although it was very helpful while I was in the hospital.

Fortunately, my nurse practitioner had another idea about what was wrong.  She said I might be overworking my heart to keep my oxygen percentiles high.  This is what appears to be happening and it didn’t show up until I had the echocardiogram of my heart.  Curious enough I have had previous echocardiograms where it didn’t show up.  I am waiting on my heart doctor to review the findings and to confirm the diagnosis although that may take further tests.

So what is my conclusion?  It is that sometimes when you think you are sick, you are really sick and don’t stop seeking help!  Look at my case.

When Is Being Disabled A Disability?

rp_300px-Handicapped_Accessible_sign.svg_.pngPeople often do not display common courtesy to the disabled.  They are often discourteous, inconsiderate, and just plain ignorant.  God, that does sound pretty inconsiderate, discourteous, and just plain stupid of me.

I have disabilities. caused by arthritis, a possible spinal cord injury, and inheritance.  I work hard at overcoming my disabilities especially when I or other people expect me to do things that are often awkward and unsafe for me to do.  For example, changing two litterboxes.  I have trouble maintaining my balance and walking especially in unfamiliar or crowded places.  Also, I can’t see behind me without turning my body around and I have trouble with dropping things.

Can you imagine what other people might think of me when they don’t know and/or acknowledge this?  I often take a back seat when other people are up moving around so as not to be knocked down.  I can’t carry a tray.  Can you imagine how this might effect me when there is a buffet?  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who spontaneously help me and that is a blessing.

I can do a lot of things on my own when there is no one to knock me down, butt in line, or otherwise take advantage of my disabilities?  Do they even know that they are taking advantage of my disabilities?  (Oh, in case you don’t know, I have had physical and occupational therapy; but some of the best therapy I have had is when I learned how to do something myself (and I could do a whole post on that).)

rp_308895522_e2ab0d2ebd_n.jpgI usually get myself to events and can go places while there if they are not too far away and there are no steps involved, but it does take me time.  This why I sometimes find it difficult to get to the bathroom and back during breaks and (get this) when I get to the bathroom someone is probably using the handicapped toilet stall that doesn’t need it i.e. to change clothes or to have a time-taking bowel movement or just because it is more convenient.

I guess some people are more considerate of others even when it is inconvenient than other people.  I have an aunt that had polio not only did she recover from that but later she went back to teaching with some accommodations.  (I was going to say several accommodations; but that that might make her mad if she knew I said that.)  I am much more understanding of her situation now than I was then.

It appears that some people don’t notice that some people have disabilities.  They often sometimes unconsciously or consciously take advantage of these people.  As a disabled person, I do often feel possibly unfairly limited by this.  I have a kitchen with an island in the middle which is convenient now for me, but I often have to wait for other people to go ahead of me when I or they think I would take too much time and bother.

If you see a disabled person sitting back and waiting for others to get finished doing something, it may not be because they want to, it may be because they feel that they have to.  Do you agree that people often do something around disabled people because they can, not because they ought to?

P.S.: I don’t feel disabled when I am in my recliner reading a book or watching TV.  It also does get me out of changing my grandkids’ diapers!rp_9429411558_188837b502_m.jpg

 

Does Therapy Come Too Late?

rp_228552603_150_150.jpgWhy didn’t we learn to help ourselves in school?  Where were the role models of good adjustment at home?  Parents are often as clueless as their children and are afraid to admit it when they didn’t also get the instruction at home or school.

There are self-help books for adults.  Where are they for children?  Do parents feel that it is to their advantage to have children who don’t know anymore than than they did when they were children?

rp_300px-TV_highquality.jpgDo children learn how to deal with life from video games, violent programs, or from the drama they see and/or experience at home.  Values, ideals, and spirituality are close to being forbidden in schools or anywhere in the public eye.  Wholesome shows have been replaced by shows with lots of drama providing bad examples of how to behave in relationships or deal with problems.

Practicing therapy can be a frustrating business especially when it comes after a person’s beliefs and problem-solving behaviors have become crystallized and so much a part of a person’s identity that they feel threatened when challenged to change.  It has a lot to do with how a person’s self-esteem is developed and the practices that they are taught to maintain it.  Lying, deceiving, and avoiding responsibility are often used by someone when a person is afraid of being criticized and ultimately rejected.rp_Anxiety.gif

What results is a fear of change and a learned helplessness instead of developing helpful problem-solving skills and a desire to change for the sake of doing better.  We are evolving individuals and making mistakes and changing what we do or think is part of the process.  I once wrote a story or a poem about “Old King Never Ever Wrong”.

Stories are to teach and not just to amuse or vent rage.  Before most people could read or write stories were a way of teaching things and were passed down orally from generation to generation in order to do this.  What about the parables Jesus told in the Bible?  What about the Bible stories that are still taught in Sunday school or church?

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder?

Godward-Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder-1912

Godward-Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder-1912 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?  I hope so at least in my case.  I have been out with double pneumonia and was so mentally out of it,  I couldn’t get my password straight.  I almost spent the last two weeks in the hospital.

Good news, the family has expanded by two, a boy and a girl, at the same time.  I did get a peak but don’t want to spread “a good thing” and my own resistance is low.

Curiously enough I was writing about the need to take a break every now and then.  I was doing too much and didn’t even realize it until it was too late.  Too much stress can result in one mental breakdown or in one physical illness.  You may not know but your body does.  Every change (whether good or bad) or the addition of another commitment adds up until there is a breakdown.

Can’t say, “No?”  Something like this will do it for you.  Remember to say to yourself, “Take good care of yourself.  You belong to me.”

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