It’s so easy to let something like a blog slip under the rug when life gets hectic. I’ve tried very hard to not let that happen but lately I’ve lapsed. Only two posts in almost three weeks. Sorry about that. I’m back now though and I’ll try not to let it happen again (for a while).
For those that are interested, you may know that I’m suffering from various medical problems. Because of that I am often down for a couple of days at a time. However, most of my issues are interrelated. When one gets bad, it sets off the others. That’s what happened this time but in addition to everything getting worse all at once, I also had something new thrown into the mix.
Three or four times over the past ten years I have woken up unable to breath. Each time it lasted just a few seconds and then was followed by extreme indigestion and reflux. I assumed that these were asthma attacks. Although scary, they were very infrequent and of such short duration that I never looked into them.
A couple of weeks ago I had a much worse attack that lasted over a minute. When you can’t breathe, a minute is an eternity. Fortunately, I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for two days later and was able to talk to my doctor about it. She referred me to a sleep specialist for evaluation and a sleep study to verify my sleep apnea and prepare a treatment.
Visit the ER
Three days before the consultation with the sleep therapist I had another attack. This one lasted over three minutes! Immediately afterwards I went to the ER and spent five hours ruling out the alternatives. The doctor on duty that night concluded that, for lack of any indication of an alternative, I had experienced an asthma attack. He sent me home with an emergency inhaler.
You might be interested to know that an emergency inhaler does not work in an emergency. The medication in the inhaler must be inhaled in order to function. If you are unable to breathe, you are unable to inhale the medication. I was told that when I felt an attack coming on to use the inhaler. Unfortunately, the attacks have always come on while I was asleep and I awoke already unable to breathe. Hopefully, squirting the medication down my closed throat will have some effect but I’m not looking forward to having to find out.
In the short term, I was also told to use the inhaler four times a day, two puffs each, as a preventative measure. I must say that it does seem to help.
Tomorrow night I go in for the sleep study. It’s hard enough trying to sleep in a strange bed. Add to that the anxiety about the test and the distraction/discomfort of having various wires attached and knowing that people are watching you. I hope I’ll be able to sleep.
I’ve known that I’ve had sleep apnea for many years but I never fully realized had debilitating it was. Once confirmed, the standard treatment is to sleep with a CPAP mask. It is a mask you wear while you sleep that creates a positive pressure which helps keep your throat open. Everyone I’ve talked to that has used one says that they instantly started getting better sleep, wakened refreshed, and had many other issues (headaches, grumpiness, memory issues, etc) completely go away. I’m crossing my fingers!
Dealing with the sleep apnea may not have any effect on the asthma. We won’t know if there is a relationship for quite some time. But most medical conditions are related to everything else in some way. Attack em one at a time and whittle em down.
Go to the Gym!
All this has also given me the enthusiasm to start up my gym membership as well. Keeping weight down and staying in shape is the cornerstone to any medical treatment. hopefully I can stay at it this time.