My breathing problems affect my life on a daily basis. Every morning when I wake up I take a handful of pills and puffs off inhalers. I track peakflow numbers and sometimes take note of my oxygen saturation. I must pay attention to my body and symptoms in an attempt to catch any flare up, attack or exacerbation before it gets bad. I have to avoid smoke. I can’t hang out around cats. I have to stay out of musty/moldy buildings. I have to limit my activity in extreme temperatures. I must pay attention to the weather. I must manage my stress levels. I can’t let myself become too worn out or tired.
If I fail to stay on track with these things and others things can quickly go downhill for me. I may not notice right away, but the longer I wait the worse it gets. My rate of inhalation increases. I may breathe shallowly. I don’t always breathe with my abdomen well. I over-utilize my auxiliary muscles to breathe. I act irritated about everything. I become sluggish and less responsive. I slouch. I become still. I quit talking and start using other means of communication. Oh yeah, and I can become irritable like a 3 year old who desperately needs a nap.
I’ve snapped at my wife, yelled at my daughter, blown people off, acted rude and have probably looked like an idiot at times. I don’t like being this way and don’t try to act this way. It’s just what happens sometimes when I can’t keep a lid on it anymore. That stabbing pain every time I inhale or the constant struggle just to appear like I’m breathing normally without gasping for air in the middle of a meeting. It can be rough sometimes. I haven’t had a day where I’ve felt great since 2005 or so. Invisible diseases are tough.