Archive for October 31st, 2010


I am very tired.

Last night was pretty terrifying when it was happening. People who don’t have asthma or haven’t experienced any kind of event like drowning probably don’t quite understand how horrible it can be to not be able to breathe. What’s worse is that often, when you start feeling like you can’t breathe, you begin to panic, which makes it even harder to breathe. By the time I actually got to the emergency room last night, I was hyperventilating so hard I could hardly walk, and I couldn’t talk.

I can’t quite explain what the fear feels like in that situation. It isn’t so much that I’m afraid of dying, although perhaps it would have happened eventually if it hadn’t gotten under control. More likely I would have ended up passing out, and either choking or having my body begin recovering. There wasn’t really any room for thinking about possible death, because every time I gasped for air I was simply fighting to breathe, not thinking about anything else but continuing to get oxygen into my lungs, feeling like there was some huge stopper inside of them that made it almost impossible to do so.

Once the respiratory therapist got in and told me they were getting me the nebulizer and albuterol, I knew it was going to be okay. That was something familiar, something I’d dealt with several times as a child, when my asthma had been much worse, being woken up in the middle of the night because my parents could hear me coughing and gasping for breath in my sleep, being given a treatment at 3 AM to keep me from having to go to the emergency room for the exact same treatment. Lying back down in a semi-conscious daze, finally more able to breathe, and slipping back into unconsciousness, silent for a little while as the drugs did their work.

By the time the albuterol was gone, I was calm again. This was old hat to me, and I was glad I’d brought my Kindle with me (thanks again for the birthday present, dad!) to pass the time after I had been treated, until they saw fit to release me. They did a chest X-ray, to be safe, which I’m sure will cost me later, but I didn’t begrudge them that.

I’m still a little bit anxious. I’ve had some more shortness of breath today (mostly going up stairs, which I believe is in part because someone in the building has been smoking inside and it’s making things much worse for me), although I’ve managed to keep myself from going into real distress (much to Casey’s relief, she spent a good deal of today with me also, just in case). I have antibiotics from the ER doctor in case it’s an Upper Respiratory Infection, so in theory I should be fine.

But there’s a little girl inside me who’s scared. She knows what it’s like to not be able to breathe, and she is very afraid of it happening again. And for her sake, I’m staying as calm as possible. Because the alternative is a lot scarier.


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Happy Birthday Cookie!

A picture taken before all the excitement started.

So I was gonna post a bit before midnight (I did get sidetracked from doing it earlier today) but instead, I had a fun visit to the emergency room.

I’m okay now, it was an asthma attack that was exacerbated by a panic attack (well, you try not to panic when you can’t breathe) and after they gave me a nebulizer treatment I started getting better. I’m just glad my friend Casey was visiting this weekend to help me get my car back, she graciously drove me there and she’s very level-headed so all was pretty much well.

So yes. So far, my birthday weekend has been AWESOME. At least I won’t forget it anytime soon.

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