I am now taking my first easy breath of the day. It’s 9:21 PM. Sometime during the night last night, the bronchitis I had been recovering from triggered an asthma attack and I have been breathing with labored breaths ever since.
It’s the old “Did the chicken come before the egg?” question with asthma and bronchitis. Was the asthma an underlying contributor for me coming down with bronchitis? Or was the bronchitis the stress/irritating event which caused the asthma to blow up?
Either way — I did not move much today. I literally sat on my ass and learned to breathe all over again. I sat and I waited for the medications to begin to work their magic.
Hours passed without relief. I took each breath as though I was breathing through a straw. Tightness and constriction lived in my chest. Every movement I made, every syllable I spoke used more energy than I had and would leave me huffing and puffing — gasping with air hunger.
The medications given for asthma are wonderful/awful. Wonderful as in this moment when they work and you can exhale completely. Awful in that the side effects — physical and emotional — can be brutal.
The nebulizer treatments I inhale have ramped up my heart rate and blood pressure. I can FEEL my blood flowing throughout my body. My Fight Or Flight response is ON. Way on. There is no kill switch. My OCD brain which is usually able to ‘Heel’ at my command has completely broken free of its leash and has no plans to return. Sleep is not an option. Hell, lying down is not even an option.
The change in blood pressure and some impressive shortness of breath moving across even flat surfaces leave me practically immobile. And you can just forget about stairs. Going up and down stairs is a planned expedition — complete with provisions and check in texts to friends before and after the summits so they know I’m not lying in a blue breathless heap needing oxygen.
I am covered in bruises thanks to the steroids whose job it is to rid my airway of inflammation. Those same pills have caused me to morph into an unrecognizable Troll of a Human. I have one nerve left and everyone is on it. It’s not that the people who love me are doing anything wrong — it’s that everything they do for me WILL BE WRONG. It’s just that simple. Chronic inflammation has been replaced by chronic irritation.
Of all the issues associated with an asthma exacerbation — I find this last thing the most troublesome. It causes me to swing between so many branches of so many different trees in the Jungle Of Human Emotion. Fear is the momentum which keeps it all in motion. But Anger, Grief, Helplessness, Vulnerability, Mortality, and Dependency are always in attendance. I find myself completely appalled at my own ability to be an asshole when I can’t breathe.
I send my people away from me. As much as I can. Especially those I care about the most. Afraid they will be wounded by my asshole-ness beyond repair. Not trusting them to know I am still inside the Troll — waiting to emerge from the prison my lack of air has trapped me in.
I am always amazed by the people I have been sent in this Life. The Helpers — as Mr. Rogers used to call them. Strong, caring, with skin as thick as leather. They do not have to love me. Yet they do.
Even when I reside in The Asshole Jungle. Their Love is beyond a miracle. And I am forever grateful to each and every one of them.
Dedicated to those who stand by me — through the ups and downs and all arounds of All. The. Things.