Tag Archives: asthma

Sorry I’ve been away so long

Tall-Trees1183-1-of-1  I find myself at a new place in my life.  I find that I am content.  I am at peace.  I’ve accepted all the things that are wrong with my poor old body.  And, yes, someday one of those problems will probably kill me, but in the meantime, I’m dealing with it.  Doesn’t mean I don’t have days when my knees just kill me to try to walk on them. Doesn’t mean I enjoy days where the smoke or the dust or the heat or the cold make it hard for me to breathe, doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days anymore, it just means I’ve come to accept that it’s a part of my life and I’m just going to have to deal with those days when they come.

I’ve also found that I’m not constantly angry any more.  I don’t feel the need to get up on a soapbox every other day or so.  Yes, there are still lots of things that I am very passionate about, but I don’t get made at the whole human race, like I use to, when one small segment pisses me off, and they still do.  Actually, it saddens me to realize that there are so many wretched people in the world.  And animal and child abuse still makes me very angry, idiots who think that just because they’re unhappy or mad or stupid that gives them the right to shoot up a mall or a school or a military base, people who are so set in their ways and their view of the world that they feel it is necessary to destroy  a whole country’s history so theirs is the only point of view.  These still annoy the crap out of me and still make me very angry, however, as long as I do whatever I can do to make my little piece of the world better and happier, then God can take care of the rest of the stuff.  And I think, that’s really the bottom line.

I can’t say that I’ve “found” God.  He was never missing from my life, but I didn’t always pay attention to Him.  He’s always been there, through everything, helping to make the way smoother, when I would finally get out of the way.  I think I have finally learned how to get out of the way, to listen when God sends me a message, and to thank Him everyday whether I can see what He has done for me or not.  A lot of things I expected to go sideways in a bad way lately, haven’t.  And for that, I am so very thankful.  God is good.

So, while I try to figure out what I want to do with this blog, I may be silent for awhile, but I will do something with this, just don’t know what just yet.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back soon.

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My New Normal

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Lately, I’ve been dealing with what I’m calling my New Normal.  And, as with so many other things, there are several phases to go through to get to the acceptance level of my New Normal.  And I’m not really sure I’m there yet.

My New Normal life includes things like COPD, asthma, arthritis in both knees and moving up to my shoulders, a sciatic hip, and now, I have issues with my wrist from using the computer mouse wrong.  (Insert heavy sigh here.)  I’ve been dealing with the asthma for about 25 years, or so I thought.  Seems I was diagnosed with it when I was 12, but my Mom and my Doctor decided it wasn’t something I needed to know cause it was “low grade” asthma and it wasn’t really giving me much trouble.  I now understand why my Doctor would always tell me, “You know that stuff you had before?  Well, you’ve got it again.”  when I’d go in because I wasn’t feeling very well and was a little short of breath.  Was not pleased to learn this. It means I have had asthma for 48 years, give or take.  Oh, yea.

My arthritis is the result of “if I’d known I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myself…”  Too many twisted, popped, tweaked knee injuries over the course of my life.  I always was an accident looking for a place to happen.  But I can deal with the arthritis, as long as the barometer isn’t falling, or already in the cellar, then I have issues.  The sciatica, though, is another story completely.  I have yet to figure out what sets that off.  I can go for weeks before it flares up.  Then I can hardly walk.  Sometimes even sitting is difficult.  The same goes for my wrist.  Fortunately, when it starts up, if I just take a few minutes and let my arm hang down for a bit, everything goes away and I can go back to work.  Oh well…

The one I’m having the hardest time with is the COPD.  I’m having a real hard time dealing with the prospect of being on oxygen 24/7 for The Rest Of My Life.  I get so angry and frustrated with the stupid tanks.  I keep trying to stay off it, but I always have to give in and put the stupid nose hose on and breath the oxygen.  Oh, and I get a lot of “How long did you smoke?” remarks.  I have NEVER smoked.  The only thing I can think of is that when I was born, my lungs and sinuses were filled with mucus and not functioning very well, the Doctors put me in an oxygen tent for a week.  PURE oxygen.  For a week.  So many things get explained by that.  None of this stuff is due to anything I did.  It isn’t my fault, but I get to deal with it.  I know that having hernia surgery with the anesthesia that they used, so I wouldn’t have any problems, added to the crap with my lungs.  It was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I suppose, eventually, I would have ended up on oxygen, but before I hit 60 kind of sucked.

I still try to get away with not using the oxygen all the time, like I should, and then rush to put it on when I get winded.  So, like I said, not quite at the accepted level, still at the frustration level.  Still pretty unhappy and feeling that it’s just not fair.  But there’s a small, little voice that creeps in from time to time to remind me that the option is far less acceptable.

Well, when did this happen?

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Yesterday, My Mom, Sister and a family friend and I went garage saling.  Before we got started, we went to McDonald’s for a quick breakfast.  When Cindy was ordering, I realized that she ordered a Senior Coffee for me.  When did I become “a Senior”?  And do I really want to be one?  It’s not that I mind taking advantage of all the benefits that come with being “a Senior”, I’m just not sure I’m ready to admit that I am one.  I certainly don’t feel like it.  Except on days like today, when the barometer is in the basement and ankles hurt and knees hurt and shoulders hurt and back hurts.  For a change, the only thing that hasn’t hurt today is my sciatic hip.

Okay, so I’m now on oxygen 24/7, darn asthma and COPD, (and no, I have never smoked, just bad lungs, badly cared for when I was growing up.), I have trouble walking long distances, thanks arthritis, my right shoulder is now starting to give me grief, I find the occasional silver strand of hair from time to time and sleep and I have not agreed on sleep times for quite awhile.  There, that is my list of complaints.  There are a few more things, but they’re little and only bother me on  rare occasions.

So, here’s the thing, I still FEEL like I’m in my forties or fifties.  I know, age is a matter of mind, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  And most of the time, I could care less how old I am.  Sometimes, though, I feel old.  Today is one of those days.  Low barometer, wind, and heat – 76 degrees today, March 6th.  76 degrees.  In March.  It’s a little scary.  I don’t do well in heat.  I’ve had 2 “episodes” of heat sickness and the last put me in the hospital.  So there’s another thing that doesn’t work so well any more – my internal thermostat is shot to pieces.

Still, I guess I’m really not too upset about the Senior thing.  I just don’t know exactly when it happened.  And why…

SIGH…

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I find myself at the begins of S.A.D.  (Seasonal Affective Disorder)  I was hoping, because everything has been going so well, that I could delay it’s onset, but not so.  In truth, it’s a little early this year, not yet fall.  But that’s as may be.  So, let’s play catch-up.

My Cardiac CT, that my personal Doctor insisted on, went really well.  In fact, the cardiologist used words like wonderful and superb and terrific.  He said all sorts of wonderful things about my heart and the surrounding blood veins, arteries and vessels.  He said there was no sign at all of a heart attack, no signs of any blockages and very minimal plaque.  He said he hadn’t seen a heart in as good a shape as mine, for someone my age, in a long time.  Woo Hoo!  So I celebrated by getting my hair done, a perm and a cut.  (Looks pretty good.)

Now, while all this was going on, we were dealing with smoke from the fires all the way over in California and Oregon.  Also, in the part of Southeastern Colorado that I live in, we were having dust storms.  We had one so bad that it closed the hiways between our town and the border both to the south and to the east.  When you have asthma and COPD, both of those events are not good.  So, after a few days of extra oxygen and allergy eyes, I went to my ophthalmologist for my annual eye exam.  She was new, my older eye doctor having retired at the first of the year.  But I really liked her.  Even if I wasn’t thrilled with her diagnoses.    My eyes, never very good anyway, have gotten to the point that my glasses can only partially correct my vision.  Can’t get it to 20/20 anymore.  I told her so long as it can be corrected so that I can continue to work, I will deal with it.  She smiled and said that not being able to see well enough to do things was a long way off still.  Okay, so I can deal with.  Heck, for most of, if not all of, my life, I’ve been told that I would probably be blind by 60, so no big thing.  (By the way in 4 months I will be 60.)

So, while things are going well, physically, my mental issues are returning.  I’m glad its only seasonal.  Though I’d prefer not to have to deal with them at all.  Even though I still have small bouts through out the year, too many grey rainy days, etc., my worst days are when winter hits.  Last year wasn’t too bad, but with predictions of a cold, wet, El Nino winter, I’m not looking forward to winter…  oh well.  Sigh

A New World Order

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These last two weeks have left me shaken a bit.  I got sick.  REALLY sick.  I was so sick that when my Doctor saw me, the first thing he said was, “Don’t really want another hospital patient, but I will just have to deal with it.”  I asked if I had a choice and he said, “sure, you can go to the hospital, or you can go home and wait to die.”  That’s when I started thinking that maybe I was sicker than I thought.  And I was.

I ran very high fever for several days, had a bacterial infection and fluid build up in my lungs (my lungs were functional at less than 85%), a sinus infection, two ear infections and an UTI.

For the first two or two and a half days, I really didn’t care what was going on.  Once they got the temp down, and reality started to set back in, I realized something that every one else around me had already picked up on.  I have severe asthma complicated by COPD.  Any little infection that I get can cause me a great deal of harm.

That’s a hard thing for me to wrap my brain around.  I have to worry about even the common cold now.  Never use to.  And I’m on oxygen, 24/7 for the rest of my life.  That’s the hardest one to deal with.  I’m not even 60 yet, and I’m on oxygen.  For the rest of my life.  Does not make me happy.

However, after these last two weeks, I will learn to deal with it.

And I am still waiting to be released back to work.  Maybe tomorrow…

Taking a chance here…

All night exposure

This is stuff that’s been on my mind for awhile and I haven’t felt like letting it out, until lately.  It was started when the Doctor finally decided I had a hernia and that it had to be fixed.  Then the surgeon added to my “worries” by telling me she thought it was torn abdominal muscles.  Fortunately, relatively speaking, the CT Scan showed a hernia.  “A big hernia”, but a hernia nonetheless.  Then the fun began.

Because of my medical history, the doctors and nurses around here don’t want to operate on me.  I have an atrial flutter, vertigo, and asthma.  So, I have a Doctor recommended to me in Denver.  And he wants to see me as soon as we can get an appointment.  That’s a two day trip.  Up the day before, meet with the Doctor, then come home.  So I will be talking to him sometime in the next week to set that up.  In the meantime, I have a Pulmonary Function Test, an Echo cardiogram and a drug induced stress test.  I already had the EKG done.  MY Doctor thinks it’s going a bit overboard, but I do understand that these guys down here have issues about dealing with someone who isn’t 100% for surgery.

For my own part, I’m getting more and more frustrated and annoyed at how long this is dragging out.  It’s been, or is close to being, 2 months since all this brew-ha-ha started.  I am still no closer to getting this thing fixed then I was 2 months ago.  Oh, and the cost – each trip to the various Doctors and Technicians costs me $2 or $3 dollars (Medicaid).  But after 8 or 9 visits to said “specialists”, it adds up.  And there is no budge in my budget.

There have been days when I’ve just wanted to sit down and cry.  Or just throw up my hands and say I’m done with it all.  But I want this hernia thing fixed.  I can’t do ANYTHING until it is.  My lifting weight limit is 5 pounds.  5 pounds.  Weigh your bags of groceries and then tell me how long it takes to unload a month’s worth of groceries.  Oh, and kitty litter.  Down here, it’s hard to find kitty litter containers less than 5 pounds.  Mostly its the 10 to 20 pound range.  Ugh.

Then there’s this whole ‘asking other people for help thing’.  I really hate to have to do that, but I can’t not ask.  I’m probably wrong, but lately I have felt like such a burden to my family and friends (here in Lamar).  Its very hard, on me at least, to tell someone, I can’t lift that, could you put it in my car?  Or, Can you put that box of books on that top shelf over there for me, please and thank you.  It just makes me feel so worthless…

Even though EVERYONE has told me not to worry about it, I’m still a little worried about the surgery.  Even if it is laproscopic surgery, I’m still going to be under a general anesthesia.  And I’ve never had any kind of surgery before at all.  Say a prayer for me and keep your fingers crossed…

*SIGH*

An update and a few things…

Train Your Dragon 2

Just saw “How to Train Your Dragon 2”.  If you haven’t seen it, GO.  Go now.  I loved it sooo much.  It will make you laugh and cry and cheer.  Sometimes all at once.  You can bet I’ll be getting this one as soon as it comes out.  And if you haven’t seen the first one, GO, rent it or buy it, then go see 2.

Now for the updates…|
I have a new roof on my garage.  Yea!  And it looks real good.  And the City Building Inspector has already been out, looked it over and approved it.  That was on Monday.  Then the rains and hail came.  Lots of rain and pea sized to marble sized hail.  We got 2 inches in two days.  For down here, that’s a lot.  Way more than we got all summer last year.  Talked to the guys yesterday, showed them where the hail had punched holes in the patch and showed them the, once again, caving in roof.  They were here this morning to patch the patch.  Hopefully, we’re done with the rain for a while so they can get back up on the roof.

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My front outside faucet was leaking, the plumbers were here this morning, before I left for work, and now I have a new, not leaking faucet.  (I called it a spigot and then had to explain what I meant.  What kind of plumbers don’t know what a spigot is?)

We had an unexpected death in the family, my cousin Clay’s wife’s brother died last week from an asthma attack that couldn’t be stopped.  The really sad thing was that he hadn’t told anybody he had asthma.

My job has just turned awesome.  In October, the current board members of the Genealogy Society time is up.  The lady who is the current president wants out – badly.  She has some health issues and other things going on and she just wants to be a member and not in charge of anything.  So, I’ve had 4 other members approach me to be the President of the Genealogy Society.  Well, of course I said yes.  And the Senior Citizens Board is also looking at spots on the board and I have been asked about taking one of those spots.  Yes.  The only small problem I have is that I still don’t know if I can make the next meeting – reason – hernia surgery, and that’s when I have to formally accept the nomination for President…

And that brings me to the last update – my hernia.  It’s still there and I still don’t know when I’ll have the surgery, but the consultation with the surgeon is just over a week away…

I am content

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I moved into my little house a year ago.  A lot has happened and a lot has changed.  I don’t think there’s much that is the same as it was a year ago.   I find myself more and more comfortable in this small rural town.  Yes, there are still lots of things I miss, but mostly, surprisingly to me, I am content.

I have another vehicle.  Used, but in good shape.  I still have the monster truck, she’s sitting in the garage, mainly because I really don’t want to sell her to anybody here in town.  Silly?  Yes it is.  All the same, I’m thinking of donating her to PBS or other charity group.  She’s in good shape for how old she is.  Somebody out there, not here, could still get a lot of use out of her.

Snug in her new home

Meow-Yen is finally herself again.  I’ve worried so about her.  It was a lot of trauma for her.  Everything that goes with moving, twice in 2 months, then getting fixed.  Then me, going off to work four, or five days sometimes, a week, after not going anywhere for longer than a couple of hours for almost a year and a half.  But now she’s snuggling again, and sleeping on the bed with me and just being the Velcro kitty I had before.  (She’s curled up on the floor on top of my feet right now.  Again, I’m happy.)

My health was for crap when I moved down here.  Bronchial pneumonia, asthma out of control, exhausted.  Now, while, my asthma is still not as controlled as I would like, it’s so much better.  The down side is that my osteoarthritis has gotten worse and I am beginning to have back problems and I have atrial flutter and I finally slipped over in to the diabetes zone.  Still, I actually qualified for Medicaid and can now afford the medications I need to take to keep me healthy.  I have even, finally, started to lose weight.  Not a lot and not quickly, but I’ll take loss to gain any day.

My mood is finally, slowly starting to improve.  That is because the sun and Spring are coming back.  But, I made it through one of the colder, darker, snowier winters I’ve had to deal with in a long time.  And I’m proud of that.  It wasn’t easy and I’m grateful I have tolerant and understanding friends and family cause they all understood and helped as much as possible to keep me from becoming a hermit and never going out at all.

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My roof, however, is still not fixed.  The guys came in one week, when it was nice, and put a drywall patch on my ceiling and cleaned things up a bit.  Then said they’d be back the next Monday to paint.  That was over a month ago…  And I still have just the patch on the roof.  And the City sent them a Cease and Desist Order because:   1 – no building permit.  2 – they are not licensed, bonded or insured. and 3 – the foreman didn’t return any of the calls the City made to him regarding all of the above.  I so wish this was my house.  I have all the information for another roofer – licensed, bonded and insured, with references, that I would call in a heart beat.  But, and this is the ridiculous/stupid/complicated part – the foreman is my land lady’s friend.  Been friends for 30 years.  And yet she didn’t know he wasn’t  legit.  She also paid him all the money first.  And now, he’s in Mexico.  He promised her he would get right on my roof and ceiling and finish them up as soon as he gets back.  Whenever that is…  I’m definitely learning patience…

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I’ve even got involved in giving back to the City.  I am officially on one of the City’s many boards.  I’m on the Lower Arkansas Valley Area Agency on Aging.  Ain’t that a mouthful.  I’m so excited.  My first meeting is March 18th.  I’m only a lowly Alternate, but it’s a beginning.

So, all in all, I think moving back here was a good thing, even if I miss my friends in Denver and some of the things I used to do.  I have new friends and a boy friend, of sorts, so, I am content.

Breathe…

Sunrise-Among-Snow

Sometimes, sunrise is my favorite time of day.  There is that little tiny second when it feels like everything is holding it’s breath, waiting to see if the sun will, indeed, rise again.  Then that first spark appears and before long there are rays of light going everywhere chasing away the dark and the cold (even if it really isn’t chasing away the cold, it just feels like it).  Sometimes my life feels like that, like I’m holding my breath and waiting for that first spark of light to appear.

Then I remind myself of all the rays of light I already have.  I am, relatively speaking, healthy.  My Mother and Sister are healthy and safe as is my Brother and his family.  I have friends that really do care about me, which I find wonderfully amazing.  It’s been a long time since I’ve actually had people really care if I’m breathing or not.  It’s an interesting and wonderful feeling.  I like it.  I have a job, granted it’s part time, but, to be brutally honest, I don’t think I could handle full time anymore, and we got a raise at the first of the year.  I have a companion, furry and four footed though she is, Meow-Yen makes me smile and she is MY responsibility to keep safe and fed and happy and warm.  (Which  sometimes I kind of fail with, especially with her litter box.)  And the most important thing is God and Jesus love me.  And I love them.

All this leads up to a discovery yesterday.  Some of my friends and family still don’t really get how hard winter is for me.  They’ve implied that it’s all in your mind.  Just get over it.  Etc.  Well, of course it’s in my mind.  S.A.D. doesn’t live anywhere else.  And it’s especially hard when it’s as cold and snowy as it is now.  With my physical limitations, going outside is not an easy proposition.  The low barometer makes my joints hurt so much.  I tried to go shopping on Friday with my Mom and Sister and I couldn’t do it.  I only got 6 or 7 things and my legs and back were screaming at me to stop moving.  Here’s a small gripe – why are there no places to sit at grocery stores except in the Pharmacy and at the entrance?  I had to put gas in  my car yesterday and barely got home before my body, once again wanted to shut down.  Not fun.

Then there’s the asthma.  When the weather gets cold, I start having to think carefully about going outside.  it’s hard to breathe when the temps get down to the lower 20’s.  I have to cover my nose and mouth when it gets down to the single digits, and when it’s below zero, like now, I can’t go outside because I can’t breathe.  No ands ifs or buts.  I just cannot catch my breath.

I try so hard not to get mad at people who don’t get it, but after 30 some odd years, it gets frustrating and annoying.  And when I’m out of breath and hurting, that is NOT the time to ask why I’ve stopped and what’s really the matter.

Some days I just want to give up.  Hide in a cave or something.  But then, the sun comes up and I find that, once again, I can breathe…

So, on to try number 2

I got my letter from Social Security Disability. And I was denied. So I get to start again. Evidently, being denied the first time is “normal”. Doesn’t help. Today was a bad day. I thank God for getting me through the day. I hurt in so many places that walking out to my car this morning was an ordeal. I get really tired of hearing that Osteoarthritis isn’t as bad as rheumatoid arthritis. From my point of view, both hurt when the weather turns icky. And we’ve got a storm with the possibility of rain/snow coming in. Barometer is falling rather quickly. Knees hurt, hips hurt, back hurts, shoulders hurt.

I also have RLS – Restless Leg Syndrome. And it’s going to town right now. Leg muscles twitch and jerk and tingle. While it’s not painful, it is annoying as hell. Makes it nearly impossible to find a comfortable position and with the knees hurting, walking it off is not something I really want to do.

I have asthma, which has gotten worse since I moved. So I moved from a big city, Denver, to a small, rural community, Lamar. Lamar, don’t misunderstand, I love Lamar, it is my home town, is situated on the High Plains of Colorado. Southeastern Colorado. Smack dab in the middle of Colorado’s worse drought area. We’ve got a lot of rain, for the area, this year – close to 7 inches. So you can do the math. When the wind blows, so does the dust. And the wind blows – a lot. There’s a joke down here – depending on which way the wind is blowing, that goes – Kansas sucks and Oklahoma blows, or Oklahoma sucks and Kansas blows. Nothing against either one of those states really, just the way the wind blows.

So to get back on topic – Evidently, I am not disabled enough. Yes, SS says, I am partially disabled. Yes, there is damage to my knees and my lungs aren’t working as they should. Yes, I can no longer do work that requires any long distance walking, any standing for extended periods of time and can no longer lift heavy loads, I can still work. All I have ever done in my life is retail, which includes all of the above. Don’t know if I can do anything else, so I’ll keep trying to get my Disability. Took me 6 months to get the first denial. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take that long for the next try…