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!…..


Airless Indian Summer

September 30, 2011

…..Its currently hotter here than in Hawaii!…..

And whilst it isn’t hot by some people’s standards, namely my friends in Palm Springs, where it is still in triple digits, our 84F is certainly out of the ordinary-about 18F above average.

We are currently having a really hot Indian Summer spell. They’re even talking  about it reaching 90F later in October! But of course, I keep getting AirTexts about the moderate air pollution levels that are also hanging around.

It has certainly hit my lungs at school, particularly yesterday. I had to indicate to my classroom assistant to instruct my class to clear up after lunch and she had to dismiss them for me as I simply couldn’t breathe. I always teach with the door open, but with no fresh air coming in it was like sauna meets steam room, and apparently we have air con? My lungs love dry desert heat but hate England’s almost Flordian humidity. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I have an invisible illness anymore, it’s rather obvious I clearly can’t breathe at the moment. The guy who came to fix the blind yesterday tea time commented on my asthma “are you really ok?” “that’s the worst I’ve heard anybody?” He must have asked me 5 times if I was ok. But I really was gasping and had just pulled out the sofa bed so he could get to the window easily. Shucks!

Thank the Lord we forked out for our full house air con system this summer. Julian is on Nights and has his bedroom set to 20C which is perfect for him sleeping in the south facing brick front of the house. He has had no idea of the melting pot going on outside all day.

So after multiple extra nebs, a bit of added physio as I was really inflamed and producing more mucous yesterday afternoon (sorry), and a bolus dose of Pred last night, I am ready, I hope, to face a long hot gruelling airless and no doubt very breathless day at school.

All I can do is dose up, and take it very slowly. And keep as many doors open as I can in the educational greenhouse I teach in.

…..Going to be a hot airless weekend out there too…..

School’s Coming and so is my Sickness Allowance!

September 1, 2011

…..It’s the 1st of September, and from today I will be counting my days off again, religiously!…..

OMG: That’s it, the summer is done with and school restarts on Monday.

In planning the new timetable for September 2011, I pleaded with the Management to decrease my working hours. 3 days has once again proved too much for me-but they said they needed  me to work  3 days next year too, so I am stuck with it. 2 days would be my optimum. Enough to keep my foot in the door and to not think my illness had won and my lungs had failed me, but hey ho-they need me there teaching, 3 days a week once again next academic year.

And of course it was inevitable I would exceed my ‘allowed’ quota of sick days (9 per 6 month period) again in 2010-11, as I’d  totalled up 17 in the 1st 6 months and 9 in the 2nd-therefore 26 in all. (By the way, there have been several members of staff off sick more than me this year, I keep a kind of mental track record, and even with my lungs I am not the worst!)

I had a meeting with the Head in June:  he said they would increase my allowed sick days but this is so silly as with an illness like mine there is absolutely no knowing  when I’ll be really sick, and for how long-I’ve done so well to dodge the hospital-especially back in November ’10- but if I’d given in and gone in, then I’d no doubt have had even more days off due to incarcerations.

I just said the usual to him-that I’d continue doing my utmost to be there if it was physically possible and safe for me to be at school teaching.

I’ve never taken the micky with sickies-I am very often at school when I’m too sick to do a good job. It drives me mad how many people can feign illness when I do my utmost to feign health!

I have regular appointments with the School Board’s Occupational Health Dr who determines whether I am well enough to be at work-and she has more control over this than my own GP. Time and time again she tells me I need to signed off and at home resting, she does not consider my level of lung disease something to be at work with, but I am particularly good at smiling and pleading I’ll cope. I am also protected by the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), and in 2009 won an award from the Access to Work scheme who now support me in the workplace and bought me my Scootie to enable me to get around at school and cope with my breathlessness better.

However, like all of us who live with constant chronic illness, I do wonder how long I can keep this working thing going. I love it so much, which is why I wont give it up easily, I have pleaded with them to decrease my hours from September 2011, and I am  hoping that I will be able to get them to agree that I can now come in later on a Thursday, as my timetable shows a double free p1 and 2. This would give me 2 early starts on Wednesday and Friday , and not 3 in a row. We’ll see.

But in the light of day, a School Sickness “Allowance”?

And considering these places are veritable germ factories,

….Can there really be such a thing?….

Wednesday Weevils Wobble!

May 26, 2011

…..I wobbled after school  last night…..

Couldn’t get out of that after school Faculty meeting yesterday afternoon quick enough-was pelting down the corridors of doom on the top floor on full speed-even poor Scootie was puffing!

I got home and thought I was going to faint. That weird blood sugar low feeling when you come over all shaky and sweaty and very peculiar feeling. Checked my O2 SATS: 83%. That explained it. I’m also now almost at baseline Pred so this is my wobbly crucial time too. Texted Julian-mini riot act was read to me-put your O2 on now and sit still. So that I did. An initial 10 mins of 5L and then down to my rescue me 3L level.

No walking AB slowly round the block so I let her run amok chasing pigeons in the garden whilst I sat on the bench with E.T. in the shade and breathed in deeply. And had a cup of tea and some marmite rice cakes to pick me up off the floor, energy wise.

I used to get so air trappy on Wednesdays as it is such a hard teaching day for me and I back up so much stale CO2 talking like that-add to that a rehearsal p5 and a meeting and I was literally on my knees.

I couldn’t even detect the pollen or the ash cloud-double weirdness-it was all just my dysfunction not that of the air outside for once.

Going to have to check my enthusiastic pace today-I’ve got my band and some musicians playing for a Eucharist first lesson and have to keep going for another after school session-detention duty.

 …..I really don’t want to come home in that fit for nothing state again today!….

((Half term in 2 days and counting!))

Bad timing lurgy!

April 23, 2011

….So my cold went South….

Such an annoyance. I’ve kept J awake and he’s been on an exhausting Late shift for a few days. I’m hoping I haven’t passed this to Anna-Bell who has been sneezing A-LOT (mind you, the whole world has hayfever atm!) People are running out of sympathy and disbelieving me when I say I have a ‘rotten cold’ as they are all trying to tell me it’s ‘hayfever’.

S-O-R-R-Y! I know my lungs and I’ve had more than my fair share of lurgies to know this ain’t just a seasonal sneezing thing. Plus I have been running a temperature all week-very, very unlike me.

It’s the Easter Holiday weekend and with Easter being so late this year it’s pants that I’m feeling so rough right when I need to be “all batteries recharged” and ready for school again on Wednesday. I suspect much of this is to do with the fact that with ABs op I have been living off of adrenaline for the last few weeks, and was flat out exhausted from the end of term but didn’t really get to recover from that before we were dealing with our doglet. Never mind.

So it’s Action Stations here. I’m having to fire the “Added on Extras” to my regular “Anti Asthma Arsenal” now.

  • Whacking the Pred up to 40mg from NOW!
  • Whacking the emergency Antibiotics from NOW too!
  • Doing 20mins of Autogenic Draining twice a day (very boring and uncomfortable and exhausting)
  • Nebbing the 7% hypertonic saline that my Physio prescribed on Tuesday twice a day.
  • Sinus Douching twice a day with Montesol (hefty saline and Dexpanthenol)
  • Taking my Carbocisteine 3 times a day from now on, with the extra dose being the liquid form at lunchtime.
I knew this would happen. My Physio on Tuesday said to me I was crackling and sounded really nasal and I knew on Tuesday I had a cold. And like all  gravity, it went South.
And we have a smog alert over much of the UK at the moment, so what chance have I got of shaking this off easily?
….Bad timing lurgy or what?….

Pieces in our Medical Pipelines

March 29, 2011

….Things are rather fraught in the Tow-Hunt household. We both have pipelines of medical appointments that are backing up, and I still have 2 more weeks of school to get through, although I’m clearly running on empty….

I seem to be collecting Royal Brompton Hospital appointments at the moment like some people collect stamps. And this is all the more irritating after having arranged in my last big clinic appointment back in February to collate all of my appointments onto Mondays and Tuesdays to make it easy for me to travel up to the hospital, and not have to miss school. But I have now been sent two Monday appointments and two Thursday appointments both of which were on days when I was due to be at school. And the Thursday ones are with my Dietician-somebody I really need to see! In changing one of the Thursdays to another date I then realised I had double booked myself with an important day at school. So today I decided to take the bull by the horns and e-mailed my consultant to say ‘enough is enough’ and ‘please can you somehow arrange for all of these different clinic appointments to fall onto one day and I’ll come up for a mega session of appointments’.


Such  is my wonderful Team, that they have already e-mailed me back to say that they are working on it and they’re hoping I will have a major series of appointments on April 19, a Tuesday, in the Easter holidays, which would suit me very well. I also today managed to track down my long awaited blood test results from 25th February. My Aminophylline is a little lower than they would like, at 9.7 and my potassium level is still too low at 3.4. I have also managed to e-mail my Specialist Asthma nurse at the hospital with these results and she has told me I need to stay on the horrible Sando-K for the time being. Ack. I didn’t need to hear that.


So that’s my update from the Royal Brompton Hospital regarding my asthma and clinic appointments.

Julian’s health, however, continues to be a source of concern for us all. He is now having a series of investigations at Charing Cross Hospital in London. He is under a top Endocrinologist but they still do not actually know what is the matter. He has been found to have a raised metadrenaline level which is possibly stemming from some sort of benign adrenal tumour. The next week will be a tough week for us both, with his many appointments, tests, scans and procedures to be carried out: hopefully reaching some sort of diagnosis for Julian in the next few weeks. But it’s likely he may have a Pheocromocytoma.
I thank you all for the many messages of support, prayers and well wishes you have passed on to me. Your support is immeasurable.

….Please bear with me-I am more than a bit rattled by all this that we have going on….

A Wibbly Wobbly Week!

March 20, 2011

….This week I have not been very well, and even crashed out of two days of school….

I’d been feeling off colour and under the weather since Tuesday. My stomach was so tender and making grumbling and growling noises like it had a Tsunami of it’s own sloshing around inside. I went to school on Wednesday and said to Sue how decidely off colour I was feeling and that my stomach was sore and bloated-not in the distended sense of the word bloated-just really uncomfortable. I kept having to find moments for trips to the loo-250m away. Even on scootie, I had a few mad dashes there!

But I didn’t know ‘the bug’ was going to hit me until 1am in the next morning. Up down, up down like a yo-yo, I was. My poor tummy turning itself head over heels. Plus I had the stonker of all headaches-not a migraine though,-plus a high for me (99.2f) temperature.

So that was that. I phoned in sick on Thursday, barely lifting my head off the pillow as that was how wiped out I was. I stayed on the sofa under a blanket all day-and just yards luckily from the closest bathroom.

I did manage to eat-dry crackers, dry toast, dry rice cakes, mashed potatoes for supper-and had loads of fluids and gatorade and sweet tea.

Unfortunately though, I was similarly crushed-well, maybe the tiniest bit less so the next day and had to phone in sick again-a double whammy of a non-asthma absence-almost unheard of for me.

But on the Friday I also had to get myself in to school in order to leave cover work. Something that required Herculean efforts from me to not keel over, need the loo or flop in a heap in the car. But I did it!

And although I spent virtually the whole of Friday in bed asleep, I still felt ropey for Julian’s birthday on Saturday which was a shame. I dont know any one else who has had this bug. It doesn’t seem to be doing the ropes at school and J has not come down with it either-phew! Friday Night Chinese was distinctly unappetising and I had a bowl of chicken soup!

….At the time of writing this on Sunday I am feeling very thirsty and have just finished my 3rd cup of lemon tea at 8.30am. I guess I still need fluids. At least the headache and stomach troubles have finally gone!….