The first time I saw “SOB” written on some paperwork I was a little offended and slightly confused until I learned it was the abbreviation for short of breath. Right now, that seems to be all I am. I’m constantly huffing and puffing while trying to do really basic stuff. I haven’t been getting much work done. Last Saturday I felt sort of ok so I did some cleaning and picking up, but then spent all of Sunday in bed and this week I feel constantly tired and exhausted.
I’ve been talking to both of my lung doctors and I now have an upcoming echocardiogram scheduled. I think this will be the 4th one I’ve had. The first one was about six years ago and showed my right ventricle was enlarged. I started using a CPAP after that which has helped the right side of my heart to shrink back to normal, but every couple years the symptoms come back. This time seems worse than the others for me. A few weeks ago I went in for my PFTs and the numbers were actually 5% better than six months ago. It seems odd to have so much trouble breathing when my lung function hasn’t gotten worse. I’m hoping to find out something sooner than later because this is really cramping my lifestyle. Just going to a store and walking around is enough to tire me out and require me to lie down for a rest.
Asthma attacks can be rough. Chronic asthma can be even worse.
I’ve been officially diagnosed with asthma for about 23 years. I have a family history of severe asthma and severe allergies. I’ve been prescribed maintenance medications for the past 22 years and have pretty much taken every single steroid and combination-steroid inhaler at some point in time. I pretty much take all the types of medications that are offered for asthma and have been taking prednisone solid for the past 15 months. Just making sure I take my medications on time and log my daily symptoms feel like a part-time job.
I work full-time, I attempt to help take care of our two small children, and I’m working on grad school. Amongst all that I have trouble sleeping on a regular schedule combined with weekly exacerbations/flare-ups, and every day I hit a wall of tiredness where my body declares, “NO MORE,” whenever it pleases. It’s hard to make plans because I often have to cancel them. I also have to be careful where I go so as not to encounter anything that could set me off on the chance I’m having an OK day and have decided to be adventurous. I can’t go to friend’s houses with cats, I must avoid all types of smoke, I can’t be around mold, places with water damage are usually a bad idea, dusty is usually a bad thing, and during non-winter months there is always something in the air that can make me cough or sneeze and my eyes water…leading to it being harder to breathe. I also have to be really careful about getting sick because common colds are like bronchitis, bronchitis is like pneumonia and actually getting pneumonia is a Go-To-Jail-Don’t-Pass-Go sort of situation for me. And by jail I mean the hospital.
Luckily I love watching movies. That’s a great activity for someone like myself. I also like to cook things I find delicious, and grow beards. I just wish sometimes I could wake up in the morning without spending 30 min taking medicine trying to feel not-too-awful to start my day. I wish I could spend an entire day at work not trying to figure out when I have time to take my meds or need to take my meds. I wish I could come home after work and actually accomplish some things instead of needing to rest up so I can get out of bed the next day. I just wish I wasn’t tired all of the time.