Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dust mites and leaf mold and corn, OH MY!

My body has decided to do me the gracious honor of reintroducing me to one of the delightful wonders of my youth: Asthma. Except of course with the decorum of a matured lady, I no longer indulge in the loud wheezy rattling coughing hacking gasps for air that peppered my youth after I played in the forbidden hay lofts and corn fields and fall's leaf piles. This sudden resurgance of asthma in my middle years takes an outwardly more subtle form, card-on-bike-tire rattle replaced by long but ladylike yawns and short stops between breathy phrases as I struggle to talk, trying to force air into tightened passageways. I'm unsettled by the occasional sense of gradual suffocation, but I keep my head together enough to not freak the hell out on anyone, especially myself.

Asthma just sucks. It's awful. I got some work done on the house this weekend but there was no energy in it, only this sense that I have to slog through what needs to be done - laundry, mopping, sealing the bottom of the baseboards in the doggie hallway, going through another box or two in the attic. Nothing that will give me any real satisfaction. Nothing that takes me less than fifteen minutes when it should take me five. Nothing that will remotely push my body into feeling like it worked.

I've been having some restrictive breathing for a few weeks, or maybe even a few months (I tend to ignore such things), but honestly I think it was the allergy tests I got two weeks ago that sent me over the edge into this Asthma Hell a few days later, deep into breathing treatments and prednisone shots and "gee, your oxygen is only 93, if it doesn't go up I'm sending you to the ER" and two types of inhalers and one nose spray and two types of pills forever plus a week of prednisone to make me freakin' nuts and some antibiotics to take care of that fever, without bothering to look too hard for what the fever might be from. And still, there are bands on my chest, allowing me to breath but not with the full use of my lungs.

I can't transplant dozens of perennials, trim privet monster trees, get the attic insulated or the garage organized, put the gutters on the garage, or even figure out what to do with my outside potted herbs - the prednisone having stripped me of my logical stamina as thoroughly as the asthma removed my physical stamina, and so I just can't think of my options, and they may freeze before I can bring myself to evaluate the best possible solution. I can't put up the shelves in the linen closet, think through what type of bar we should use to hang up my mother's quilt, clean out the pantry, make pies, or even just clean my desk.

Ironically, we've dramatically lowerd our exposure to allergens since moving here: No carpet, just small rugs. A new central heat/air system wtih two 5-6" thick super-filters and a built-in humidifier. A house that's not subject to the endless mold and mildew that plagued our former concrete block beach cottage. Dogs (which, by the way, rank right up with cockroaches as The Two Things Leslie Wasn't Allergic To) are not allowed in most of the house, cats banned, no smoking inside. Sure we could dust and vacuum a bit more often, and we need to get those dust mite covers for the bedding. But we're doing ok.

I just want it to be over. I want to be working on my house, rearranging my garden, riding my bike to school on these cool fall mornings, frantically building my 4x4 boxes for next spring's garden, sitting thickly bundled on the porch with my morning tea as I engorge myself on long slow deep hits of the morning's moist cool clear air. I want to be well.

A cold, the flu - those I could deal with because there is an end to it. But asthma sucks. I have no guarantee when, or if, things will get better.

And I'm getting tested for food allergies Thursday. Please don't let life just dive straight down into Suck, full speed, by making me allergic to some of my most loved foods, like nuts and cheeses.


EGE said...

PUKE! May I recommend a book to cheer you up? The Plague and I, by Betty MacDonald. Not my favorite of her books, but you will find a kindred spirit there. It's about when she was in a sanitorium for tuberculosis -- which is obviously not the same as asthma, but I imagine they have some things in common.

Feel better. Do what you're supposed to do and if that means not getting things done around the house then so be it. Is prednisone a steroid? Can you even have a beer?

Leslie said...

So what IS your favorite of her books (as I add that book to my library request list)? I'm not sure if you remember this, but they thought my mom had TB, but then it turned out to not be TB and they're waiting to confirm if it's another really nasty lung infection called MAI. UGH.

Yeah, nothing's getting done around the house. So be it. And I have no clue if alcohol and prednisone can mix (and yup it is a steroid, thus its capacity to make me into a total emotional whackjob) but unfortunately for me, alcohol and asthma don't mix well.

Leslie said...

Huh... interesting. My library system has a book called "The Egg and I" by a Betty MacDonald, but no "Plague and I." Too bad, would have make an intersting read.

EGE said...

The Egg and I is my favorite of her books -- I named my blog and book after it, in fact, in case you haven't figured it out!

The Plague may be out of print in this country, I got it from Amazon and it came from England, but it was only like $6 or something.

No, I didn't remember that about your mom -- I hope she's all right. And you, too!