Tag: still kickin’

The Great Asthma Debacle of 2017

Welp, I’ve had an eventful week.

After taking a long weekend to visit my grandpa in NC for his birthday, I got home and ventured up to my building’s gym. Yes, I know: there’s nothing notable there (although I can report that the elliptical is just as heinously boring as ever). Mercifully, I had lots of guilty-pleasure TV shows on my phone to keep me entertained, and I refuse to feel ashamed about watching Hollywood Medium while sweating like a woolly mammoth in Dubai.

Side note: I especially refuse to feel ashamed when it keeps me from also being so bored that I contemplate things like what I’d eat if I ever became one of those people whose Ambien prescriptions cause them to binge-eat in their sleep. (Would I wind up eating gluten, either inadvertently or out of some kind of subconscious sense of defiance? And if I did do that, would I go for just any gluten, or would I seek out the good sh*t like pizza and brownies? Would Ambien-me know that Celiac-me would suffer grievous consequences for this, or would Ambien-me just not care?)

But I digress.

Anyways, after my session with the elliptical and Tyler Henry, I got in the elevator to head back to my apartment, and I found myself in there with two heavily-cologned dudes. Now, this isn’t unusual either, despite Axe Body Spray being basically a weapon of mass destruction.* But this time, for whatever reason, the mild asthma that I’ve had since I was a kid, and which was well-managed until this week, decided to become wildly ambitious. Because why not? Breathing is for sissies, y’all.**

I started coughing almost immediately, and since hot air and steam usually help to loosen up my spazzy lungs, I jumped in the shower to let the steam work its magic. But it didn’t work. Soon I was dizzy from the lack of air, so I took a seat and had my husband bring me my inhaler. Now, for me, using my inhaler is the nuclear option: it makes me shaky and anxious, so I prefer not to bust it out if I can resolve an asthma attack by other means.

As you will soon find out, my inhaler is no longer the nuclear option.

Because it barely worked.

And then I could barely breathe.

It wasn’t fun.

I couldn’t talk by this point, so my husband called an advice nurse to see if we needed to go to urgent care — and she immediately told him to call 911. Basically, my existing respiratory distress was at a stage where it could rapidly turn into respiratory arrest, and since I could feel my airways swelling, it was time to go for the real, actual (but not, y’know, literal) nuclear option: an ambulance.

Since I’m stubborn and also vain, I resisted this because I knew it’d be embarrassing — and, since I was conscious and able to walk around, it didn’t seem bad enough to warrant this level of emergency response. But, deep down, I knew it was imperative.

So I did what any 100% sane, level-headed person would do while my husband coordinated with the 911 operator: I tried on four different shirts, all while wheezing and coughing my brains out and barely moving any air, because I didn’t like the way they looked with my pants.

Oh, and I also grabbed my phone charger, list of medications, and all the responsible, logical things one should probably consider taking in a f*cking ambulance.

Yeah, I was doing really well.

So then the EMTs arrived, loaded me onto a stretcher, and wheeled me out through my building’s lobby (thus causing me to almost die of embarrassment in addition to hypoxia). All in all, I got three nebulizer treatments, one prescription for Prednisone, five hours in the ER, another prescription for Singulair, and a fancy new inhaler.

I’m doing better now, thanks to the, like, veritable cornucopia of medications I’m now taking. But looking back on it, it was scary and weird. At the time it was mostly weird, since the lack of airflow made me do bizarre things like worry about whether or not my shirt worked with my pants, and not, for example, the fact that severe asthma attacks can wind up being fatal, and that I was definitely having one. Deep down, I knew I was in serious trouble — when I’d thought about trying to drive to our urgent care clinic, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it there in time before things got precipitously worse — but my conscious mind wasn’t willing to acknowledge it. (Hence the “OMG, but what am I going to wear to the hospital?” fashion crisis.)

Now I just have to finish out the Prednisone and hope that I can eventually start exercising again soon, since that’s the primary way that I manage to stay sane. Until then, a brief PSA: friends don’t let friends wear Axe Body Spray. Especially not in elevators. The public thanks you in advance for your consideration.

*Props to one of my favorite former colleagues for pointing out the Axe-WMD connection. This makes perfect sense, you guys: Saddam Hussein gave all the WMDs all to Unilever.

** As you may have discerned by this point, it’s not for sissies. It’s for people who want to stay alive. Vital functions: who knew?

 

The Great Un-F*cking of 2017

This is a story all about how
My life got flip-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute and sit right there
And tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air

No, wait. Hold on. That’s not my situation. My life definitely got flip-turned upside down, but the last time I checked, I was neither royalty nor in Bel Air. (Alas. Le sigh.)

Let me try this again. You know how sometimes people have a so-called “annus horibilis” (year of disaster/horrors/misfortune)? I had four of those. In a row. It was exceedingly lame.

To make a loooooong story super short, endometrial cancer, the realization that I got myself into the totally wrong line of work, student loans, fibromyalgia, major depression, a hysterectomy – and the resulting infertility and premature menopause – all pulled a Captain Planet and combined their powers to turn me into a hot mess.

I’ve been pretty fercockt for a while – but now, with my health under control and things calming down a bit, it’s time for me to rebuild and recreate my life not as something to slog through, but rather as something to enjoy. Hence the renovation: much like HGTV – but without Chip and Joanna Gaines or the Scott brothers, alas – I hope to tear out the old, dilapidated parts of my life that don’t work anymore while rebuilding a much nicer, more livable structure in its place.

It’s not what I had originally planned or wanted for my life, but a mantra that has gotten me through the last few years has been a quote borrowed from Sheryl Sandberg’s incredible Facebook essay about life after losing her husband: “Option A isn’t available. So let’s kick the sh*t out of Option B.” The things I had planned, hoped for, and wanted – fertility, a job and career that I love, perfect health, full repayment of my student loans, a life free of debt (the aforementioned loans) and chronic pain (fibromyalgia) – aren’t available right now, so I have to move forward and rebuild with what I’ve got.

So, this is my effort to start kicking the shit out of Option B. My goal is to do one thing each day that helps me renovate my life. Whether it’s something that helps me improve my physical or mental health, un-fuck my professional situation and move towards a new career, improve my finances, pay off my loans, or just something that brings me happiness, I’m a big believer that small steps can eventually lead to big changes.

And so, to use the already heinously overused cliche,* if a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, this is that first bit of forward movement. I don’t anticipate being able to write a long and involved post about each daily activity, but as long as I’m doing something, I’ll consider it a win. So, feel free to come along on this ride, and welcome to the party.**

* May the writing gods forgive me this sin. I shall provide a burnt offering in hopes of absolution.

** And by “party,” I mean an introvert party wherein things are tame af and we all go home by 9.