This is a recovered post from a botched website transfer in 2014. It was originally written and published on 06/26/2013.
Breathing. We all do it.
On June 8, while in Pennsylvania for a family party I’d been looking forward to for over a year, I became out of breath walking a very short distance. Not like me, at all.
On top of that, my appetite was out of whack, I was tired, chilled in the 80-plus-degree air, and just not feeling right. Something was amiss.
Back in New Hampshire on Monday, I began to address my symptoms in hopes of figuring out what was going on. By the end of the day on Tuesday, none of my efforts had helped. If anything, I felt worse.
Wednesday morning, June 12, I went to the emergency room with shortness of breath, sporadic chest aches (couldn’t call them pains), and dizziness. There was no one else there, so I was taken right into triage, where the barrage of questions and tests began.
A couple hours later, a possible diagnosis of a blood clot in one of my lungs was offered up. After an echocardiogram, chest x-rays, and a CAT scan, the diagnosis changed and was formalized.
Congestive heart failure, with blood tests indicating a virus was the culprit. I was admitted to the ICU.
What kind of virus can lead to congestive heart failure? One of my many doctors said it could have been as seemingly innocuous as coming into contact with someone who had a stomach bug. Not a comforting thought.
Hourly blood pressure checks and constant heart monitoring. IV steroids. Saline. High-dose Motrin. Lowpressor to regulate haywire heart and blood pressure. So. many. wires. and. tubes.
On Friday, over a quart of fluid was drained from my left lung alone. The steroids served to “naturally” drain the fluid from my heart sac.
I spent four days in the ICU, and half a day in the cardio wing, from which I was released on Sunday, June 16. Just this past Monday, I had an appointment for a follow-up echo, and was told my heart and lungs are looking good.
They’re healing. I’m grateful.
The past couple days, with the high humidity here in New Hampshire, have been rough. Breathing does not come easily. Lots of coughing, which leads to fatigue.
Even so, I can breathe. My lungs are functioning, albeit not as optimally as I’d like. My stamina is slowly returning. I’m still on the high-dose Motrin to keep any inflammation at bay, and Lowpressor to keep my heart a wee bit happier while it continues to heal.
I find myself offering up a prayer of gratitude every time I draw a deep, full, lung-filling breath. Breathing is awesome. I don’t think I’ll take it for granted, ever again.
Have you ever experienced difficulty breathing? Do you have something chronic that inhibits your breathing, like allergies or asthma? How do you manage it?