Surviving With SOB

December 19, 2011

…..So many people remark they are SOB, but I think we all deal with it and suffer from it differently…..

Whilst there are varying degrees of any symptom, there are also some pretty uniform ways of self helping your SOB. I do not profess that any of these truly work for the most severe of symptoms but on a day to day basis this is what I generally try to do to cope with mine. If like me you have a COPD element to your asthma then these steps will make sense and you may have already been taught them and/or PLB techniques.

  • I get myself in a comfortable position with the medicines I need to hand, and take them, an extra dose or two is not an overdose in this example!
  • I try to calm myself down and prevent panic. I reassure anyone I’m with so that they don’t panic and set me off. I always let them call for help if I feel I’m not getting my breathing under control. ((You can always cancel the call if you don’t need assistance.))
  • I find I like to go outside, or anywhere where the air quality is different-by a window for instance. I know that even if I’m gasping for air, there is still some oxygen going into my lungs. I tell myself I will be okay.
  • I try to relax shoulder and neck muscles. ((When we panic our muscles tighten and make it more difficult for the diaphragm to do its job of drawing air into our lungs.))
  •  I also know that I can’t draw air into my lungs if I already have stale air in there. So I stop trying to breathe for a moment-I actually practise breath holding for as many seconds as I can manage to slow myself down, it helps to relax and calm me.
  • I also slowly squeeze all the air out, using my stomach muscles as well. I try and breathe out for about a count of 8 to really empty my lungs before  I inhale as deep and as slow as I can manage. If it doesn’t feel like the air is going all the way in, I don’t worry about it – I know to just breathe out slowly, and breathe in slowly again.
  • Hopefully, after a few regulated breaths, I should start to feel things  are calming down and my lungs are “opening up” “better” and the air  is getting to where it’s needed. Remember this is how I deal with SOB episodes and not asthma attacks as such-I’m not talking about coping with the tightness, just the horrid air feeling of “air hunger”.
But please be wise and seek help and advice from your Doctor. I’m not a Doctor these are only my first hand ideas of how I get through the tough SOB times.
…..Peace of mind is worth a lot, and if your shortness of breath is caused by illness, early detection is your best bet for dealing with any problems that arise, oh, and maybe a trip to the ER for BiPap….
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Hark, the Herald Angels Are Singing “It’s the Last Day of Term!”

December 16, 2011

…..The Christmas Holidays start TODAY!…..

The Newsflash!

  • I made it!
  • I’ve only had one day off sick this term!
  • I am actually more pleased with my teaching than I have been in recent years-(thanks to my lovely supportive department & colleagues)
A distant memory!
  • This time last year I was sick for 5 1/2 weeks-thankfully no repeat!

The Big However!

  • I still have a rotten sinusitis and earache and am rattling away here.
  • My lungs are struggling to keep up with my head, at around 40% and I’m finding the slightest thing tough.
  • It’s just started sleeting outside and snow is forecast for later today (Luckily the doglet has snow boots!)
  • All I want is a duvet day! (Tomorrow-legit!)

And if I have any puff left in these rattly old bellows, here’s an alternative carol for today:

Asthma Boys, Asthma Girls,

Wheezing all the way

Oh what fun it is to take

Loads of Pred a day!

Asthma Boys, Asthma Girls,

Coughing all the way

Oh What fun it is to take so

Many nebs a day!

….. Congratulations to all my Teacher colleagues for surviving another gruelling Autumn Term and for all my pupils for surviving my broken sentences!…..


It’s The ‘Pepper Nose Feverish Coldy’ Time!

December 14, 2011

…..I have a cold!…..

But not that you’d really notice, I just feel utterly crap as opposed to those who sound coldly crap or look it with their noses running down their face. Mine never does that. It’s the low grade fever and headache and my itching peppery nose that makes me feel so  bleugh!

Having survived almost the whole term dodging germs of all sizes, we went to Mark and Kate’s wedding on Saturday and it seems I’ve brought more than memories away with me. Somebody I hugged or air kissed has breathed the lurgy of the moment over my persona and I’m now riddled with a pepper nose (feel I want to sneeze all the time), ear ache and a fever.

Oh well, nothing I can do really except take the Lemsip to school with me and keep warm-fat chance in our ‘practically below the legal limit music room that I’m teaching in first thing!’-and drink loads to wash it out of me. Doesn’t feel like this is anything more than a head cold, so I shouldn’t be fussing, but it’s already got me in a quandary over my Pred reduction. I’ve been struggling on 30mg-and already so SOB that things are really tough and very uncomfortable-and to think, the plan was I was actually going to go down to 25mg on Friday-big problem there, me thinks that may have to wait. I’m racked with aches and pains as it is and feeling yeuch from the less Pred, how simply dare a cold now show it’s ugliness. As if I haven’t got a big enough case of the reduction blues already.

…..Oh well, off to school to mingle my germs with those of approximately twelve hundred others!…..

Post Script: The second this hints at going south I’m bringing in the SAS!

 


A Visit from Elisheva!

December 6, 2011

…..So a 3rd member of my worldwide online community came to visit with us at home in London…..

Or as my Dear friend, AG, who started this whole visiting ball rolling back in June said, our house is fast becoming the Asthma Embassy of London!

I picked Eli7 up from Ruislip station on a cold and frosty Monday morning, after her early 6am start from Luton airport. Geez, why do people visit England in the Winter! Brrrr.

We went home and settled her in comfortably on the same sofa Steve had sat on, 2 weeks previously-(I should get a plaque of the names of all my visitors who have sat there, actually!)

And the doglet appeared and jumped all over Elisheva and had her usual tuggie tuggie fun and games! AB was extremely fascinated in Eli7’s rucksack-could have been due to the enormous stash of chocolate she had with her! She gave us lovely gifts of Israeli Halva and Bittersweet chocolate with nougat in which sounds amazing.

We chatted away happily -Britain’s Got Talent, Eurovision Song contest, all things Jewish, and of course, Eli7’s WAD party!-and at 10am decided to go to my Club to have a posh coffee. It was a nice drive in the frostiness and I hope she enjoyed seeing something of our surrounding area and actually how rural we are here.

The Club was bustling. They had a Christmas bazaar on and everybody was wearing funny hats which really amused her. I showed her my pool where I swim so she can now picture me there. She seemed amused by the reserved parking space up front that I have my badge for!

We got back home at about 11.30am and Julian was awake and up (he’d been working all weekend and was whacked out!). This meant we were able to get him to take the statutory photo.

I then did my ‘Jewish Mother’ impression and made her a packed lunch of kosher cream cheese and bagels to eat on the long train journey up north, and got her back to Ruislip station at 12pm in time to get to Euston for her 1.30pm train.

**J and I were very relieved to hear when she was on the train, munching and ready to depart.**

It was such a lovely morning, meeting with a special friend who had journeyed so far. And so confident to travel alone in a strange country and I’m glad that now she is back on her Symbicort – she was breathing excellently.

…..However, I have a strong suspicion that when she arrived in the Lake District that evening, they’d had heavy snow! Safe travels, Eli7 and enjoy Barcelona next week…..


Foggy Birthday Party!

November 21, 2011

…..Yesterday we had an incredible day of thick, cold fog…..

We went to visit my Sister in Esher as it was Oliver’s birthday, and I tried to take photos coming round the M25 whilst J was driving-but you could barely make out the dot matrix boards. The Christmas lights in Ruislip were seemingly invisible as the cloud was really down to ground level.

One of my dear friends, Michelle put this picture online a few days ago and I asked to borrow it.

It gives a really good indication of how fog can affect me. Although we did celebrate Oli-Will’s birthday and managed a very foggy walk around my Sister’s estate.

And then last night, as quickly as the fog had appeared, it went! When we went out again at 8pm to pick up some pizza express salads, it was largely gone. Not soon enough though, given the havoc it played with my lungs particularly in the late afternoon as darkness fell. But a bolus dose of Pred and the air con running on dehumidify all night long has now largely fixed things again for me!

…..And yes, sometimes it is ok to just sit and breathe, particularly if it is really foggy outside!…..

 

 


Ciggies for Wheezies?

October 20, 2011

…..I can’t quite believe this poster! And I’m not entirely sure I’m supposed to!…..

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Whilst, I whole heartedly love watching TV Series such as the BBC’s Victorian Pharmacy, I don’t remember having seen such a cure advocated or advertised. If only asthma cigarettes were truely a cure! There’d no doubt be a lot less wheezy smokers or COPD sufferers out there. And at a time when everybody is advocating a ‘smoke free’ lifestyle too.

I particularly love the ‘Not recommended for children under 6’ line!

I suppose back in the Victorian times children did pick up the habit very young. Oh Well, that’s history!

…..I hasten to add though, that I think I have got wind that this poster was a spoof from a campaign in the 1970s. You may even know the truth behind this? Interesting talking point though!…..


‘Mugged’ of air by Mist and Fog!

October 17, 2011

…..We woke up to a right pea souper yesterday….

Of course, the temperamental bellows knew what was out there even with the curtains drawn and every window in the house shut. I guess it comes in through the CO2 vents in the windows! AB wasn’t amused either-she sneezed when I took her out at 5.45am. We had to get up early. I was driving J to work at 7am-something which turned into rather an adventure in such horrid driving conditions. I had to get out the manual for his car as I didn’t know how to switch the fog lights on!

And all the way to the BBC, the lungs were protesting so. J sounded like a record getting stuck “You need a neb”  and “Promise me you’ll have a neb as soon as you are home” turned into “Make that a double neb, please!”

Actually when I did get home a little after 8am, I ended up on a triple neb whammy, a double ventolin plus an atrovent and then a super seven percent saline one and a spot of gunk clearing physio.

Fog is my worst enemy.

Forget Floridian Humidity, which in itself finishes me off, Fog is evil, with a capital E.

I may have done my good deed for the day in driving J to work to help him, but silly me, I didn’t exactly help my lungs in time. And then spent the day in bed, accompanied by my mini Furry Fajita who herself does not appear to like the Fog either.

It did lift mid afternoon-my friend Tasha saw to that by single handedly blowing it away, all the way from Holland 🙂 😉

Today the fog is lesser this morning-but I took the time to wrap a scarf around my face before I entered into the great beyond to water the dog at 7.30am. Thus doing a wonderful impression of a burkha woman.

I’ve had a rather broken night-up twice for nebs. Oh how these little barometers do annoy me so. I’m in for a bit of a duvet day again here, no doubt.

….Reckon the time of year has arrived to dig out all the scarves and gloves!…..