Sunday, December 9, 2012

Just Breathe

  If you are on my facebook page you know this has been a surprising and a little scary week for me. I had planned to write about wonderful things. And I still will. But first I must release these words that have been swirling around in my head for the last few days. My wonderful daughter and I had planned a day of shopping. It is that time of year and I love to go see all the decorations and get into the Christmas cheer. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. I have had this chronic on again off again cough. Enough to be annoying, but I have never really worried about it. Then I noticed that my hands had a blue cast. I thought I must have rubbed up against something and washed them and did not give it another thought. That was sometime last month. When the blue of my hands appeared more often, I did what anyone would do. I googled that nonsense. So, it appeared that I must have Rayuand's Syndrome. Nothing serious. Just keep your hands warm and move on. My doctor agreed and when I mentioned my cough, she said it must be post nasal drip and sent me away with a prescription for a cure. I went off to a small vacation in Florida and never thought another thing about it. Until I started getting bluer. I mean purple. It was embarrassing. People would notice my hands right away and I would try to make light of it. I really just did not want to talk about it. I knew it wasn't Rayuad's by now and I was pretty sure what it was. I have always had issue with my lungs. First it was called asthma and bronchitis. Then pneumonia. Every two years or so I would get good and properly sick.

  I knew the way of this and it irked me. I tried to push it away. To not see what was right in front me. Just like a small child I thought if I refused to acknowledge it, it would not be so. But of course, just like that child and their wishful thinking, reality was waiting for me. It caught up to me during that shopping trip. What should have been a fun day of shopping and lunch turned into a chore. My steps were heavy. I was so tired and blue. Very, very blue. I was light headed and out of breath. I had a banging headache I could not shake. I so wanted that day to wonderful. I love spending time with my children and now, with our grandson, but I just couldn't shake this feeling of fatigue. It was a medical intervention. My husband, who was out of town called to check on me. We were driving to another store or something and he rang me up. I put him on speakerphone and listened as he and my turncoat daughter plotted against me. There were stern words and may be a few well placed threats. The gist of it was simple. I was going to the ER. And for once I did not argue. I hate hospitals. I am not a fan of the medical field. I whole heartedly believe that YOU should go whenever need be. I however, do not feel that that sentiment should apply to me. I believe a warm bath and a nap can fix most things and when it comes to my health, I live in denial.

 No more. I am not going to recount all the tests and bloodletting. It was a tiresome enough ordeal the first time around. I have no desire to relive it here. The results were not great. I have emphysema and my blood vessels constrict, which is what is causing my headaches and also some heart issues. I cannot tell you the inner turmoil and anger I am trying to process. You see I have lungs of a heavy smoker and yet I have never taken more than a drag or two off someone eles's cigarette in my whole life. No, I was never a smoker. My father was, he was a four pack a day chain smoker. Benson&Hedges Menthol smoker. He would drive around with us in the car, a vintage blue pinto and puff away. Never opening a window. No, he believed in getting the full affects of his smokes. I am angry. I must work it through. I am no one's victim and I must process this information and find a proper mindset. My mother called me, while I lay in a hospital bed. Between breathing treatments and coughing fits. With a blazing headache and purple digits and I did not answer. I could not. I still cannot. I am hoping writing this here will help. I try never to stay angry. It is pointless and destructive and it causes me to be someone I do not want to know.

  I will find another way to look at this. I will. I will read all there is on the subject and go back and read some positive uplifting words and I will get through. I cannot fix this. I cannot make it better and someday it may be the end of me. I do not mean to be maudlin, but when I decide to face the truth I do so with no half measures. So, what can I do? I can write to you my lovely friend and say, do not smoke. Please if you do now, stop. I know it is difficult, I do. But you know what is a greater challenge? Trying to draw breath with the air seeming to be either too thin to reach your lungs or worse yet, so thick and heavy it feel like you are taking in syrupy liquid. It causes a kind of anxiety I have never felt. There is a large weight on my chest and I cannot get out from under it. I wake up coughing and gasping and feeling claustrophobic. I am not the fearful type. I am the charge ahead, do not bother me with your facts kind of person and I will be with this as well. Hopefully very soon. First I must mourn. Mourn my parent's choices. Their indifference and unyielding need to be self indulgent. I will figure this out. I will make something good out of this. And in a step into that direction I say again, please stop. And if you cannot, do not do it around others. Smoking kills people. Innocent people whom never chose to be a party to someone else's poor decisions. I know it is hard. I know there are withdrawals. I understand. But you know what is harder? Trying to breathe when your lungs have been compromised by someone else's choices.


  1. Chele, I read this and my blood ran cold. I had to navigate away to collect my senses before I could return and post. There are no words, simply no words, to tell you how sorry I am to hear this. I was so hoping that the "no big deal" diagnosis would stick, they would get you on a proper medical regimen & voila'--good to go. I have had you on my prayer list since your first post about the blue hands. I will continue to pray (as the Bible instructs, "without ceasing")for relief for your symptoms and wisdom for the doctors handling your case. I know you are a fighter, we Reameys have that in common, and I know you have a great support network cheering you on, led by your wonderful husband and kids. Count me among the cheering section.

  2. Oh Susan, thank you love. Yes we are fighters. I will figure this out and find the bright side. It is going to take some time. I am not as...angry as I was. Writing it all out helps me greatly. Thank you for your kindness and your prayers. Love to you sunshine.