Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will Work for Air

It's official, I do NOT have Swine Flu. The test was negative, and after 2 days off Hannah is back at school today.

However, my breathing is very bad.

Whatever I have has settled into my lungs, I'm having those 3 am waking-with-no-breath episodes that were so charming back in winter 2005, and I'm back on prednisone. Alert the media.

It's true that I've had precious little appetite for weeks (except for a chocolate croissant that I HAD to have this weekend) so I'm certain the P'zone will change that. I feel as though I gain 20 lbs every time I'm on it. Shannon's recommended her accupuncturist in Cleveland, and I think I'll make an appt when I'm in that town in late May. Right now I'm setting up an appt with someone my doctor recommended, just a few blocks from my house.

When I watch "What Not To Wear" - which I love - and I fantasize about them going through my own closet (admit it, you do too!) I can just hear Clinton reading me the riot act about my elastic waisted skirts and pants. I'd hang my head in shame, he'd tell me, "Elastic waists are EVIL!", and Stacy would pipe up, "They allow you to gain weight and NEVER KNOW IT!"

And I'd say, very quietly (breathlessly?) "But they allow me to breathe, too..."

If I had to take in or let out the waists of my garments every time my breathing took a nose dive or upswing, my sewing machine would never be put away. Some days - like this week - even a bra is too much. It's unsettling how the small pressure of a strip of elastic can make me feel as though I'm being waterboarded.

All the chatter about that insidious torture hits home with me so deeply. When I can't breathe, when I have that horrible 1-second gap between when I thought I'd have air in my lungs, and when I actually DO have air, the panic can be overwhelming.

Anyone who's ever experienced lack of air understands the fear, the adreneline (not in a good way) and the immediate deep depression one falls (sometimes just for a few minutes) at feeling so close to not being able to take any more breaths. I guess there might be exhilleration at living when it's all over, but I just wait for the next gasping episode. I hate steps.

I've had a long fear of falling into a river in a car - I drive across bridges with my windows open and my PT cruiser was my first car with electric windows for just that reason. Water can be fearsome. Just ask Max when I tell him to shower.

I'm moving slowly - nothing slows me down like lack of breath. I feel embarrassed, feeble, old, fat, all those things that I'm not (well except for fat) but these feelings are more a by-product of just feeling so inadequet for several days.

I made Gerry a strawberry shortcake tart this morning (bisquik, milk and cut up strawberries, not hard...) so I'd feel I'd DONE something.

I also moved our seedlings from the front porch to the back deck (it took me an hour, moving one egg-planter at a time, like a Carol Burnette character)

I've been finishing up an independent crochet project for a book the Stitch Coop is putting together.

It's something I'd been thinking about for a while, creating something with the heft and feeling of the quilt(s) I inherited from my grandma, but crocheted.

I'm very happy with it - it's a car-seat blanket (with a slit for the between-the-legs buckle to fit) and I'll make a matching hat and booties. And it's due - tomorrow. Better get hooking!

But aside from that, I'm painfully inactove. Oh yes, there's Scrabble! I've discovered that the online game has amazing medicinal properties at 4 am.

Perhaps part of my mental hovering - not getting down to tasks at hand - is because I've upgraded to a new computer (my old was having repeated problems in many places, which we had been fixing, but an upgrade was in order.) and I'm still trying to find my way through a new operating system and mail upgrades. Curse you, upgrades!

Gerry found this one at Micro Center for $799 with twice the hard drive, 1-1/2 times the memory running the most up to date operating system.

I've named it Blanche because it's white (I liked the aluminum better) and it depends on the kindness of strangers. It has a smaller screen (of course I liked the bigger one better...) but it's LIGHTER, and that will make it easier for travel. And it's lovely and fast.

And I'm all about lightweight travel these days.


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posted by Annie at


OpenID monder said...

I hope you feel better soon. Not being able to breathe is the worst. Of course the bridge thing is never fun. Would you mind elaborating on the tart? It looks like a super treat!


April 29, 2009 4:17 PM  
Blogger athena said...

oh, annie. hope you feel better soon. xo

April 29, 2009 4:49 PM  
OpenID kmkat said...

The panicky feeling at lack of oxygen is hard-wired into our brains, so don't feel bad about it. (My husband the nurse gave me that little factoid when I once required oxygen on a military flight.) I am glad you don't have the H1N1 virus, and I hope you feel better SOON!

April 29, 2009 5:30 PM  
Blogger catie said...

Wishing you thoughts of clear lungs and clean air. Sorry you feel sucky. But I can't wait to see the carseat blanike, what a great present for a new mom! (And I know several right now)

April 29, 2009 6:23 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

The acupuncture totally works--Shannon made a good suggestion. Find an acupuncturist you feel comfortable with/can communicate with and the results are fabulous. Great for asthma/allergies.

I know exactly what it feels like to be gasping for breath and you have all my empathy/sympathy. Feel better soon! (In the meanwhile, don't feel guilty about taking it easy. It apparently takes a long time for lungs to heal and to feel better.)

April 29, 2009 9:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad to hear you don't have the flu. Hope the 'roids have you feeling better soon!

April 29, 2009 9:34 PM  
Blogger Kathy in San Jose said...

About bloating while on the prednisone -- try caraway seed tea (steep 1-2 teaspoons of caraway seeds in hot water for 5-10 minutes, strain and drink). It's a natural diuretic, which will help you lose some of the puffiness. A friend who unfortunately also needs to be on pred more often than she likes, uses this and swears that it helps. It's an old folk remedy.

Hugs (but not too tight) and best wishes for conquering the breathing issues!

April 30, 2009 12:44 AM  
Blogger astoriaAnn said...

I know what you mean. I had spinal anesthesia once that numbed me higher than it should have and I stopped being able to breath. I actually felt myself unable to take a breath and blacked out. (They quickly put me under and put me on a ventilator.) That experience changed my life. It was only a few minutes, but I am forever more panicky about air, breathing, water, allergies, etc.... I dream about suffocation. Once you experience the fear it never goes away.

I hope for you that the issue quickly resolves itself and your lungs become clear!

April 30, 2009 9:23 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Feel better. Can you sit outside at all and enjoy the weather?

April 30, 2009 9:40 AM  
Blogger junior_goddess said...

I hope you feel better soon. Project Runway Lifetime is looking for people. I know you feel like crap, but have you considered it? Perhaps the drama llamas won't run the auditions this time.

April 30, 2009 9:35 PM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

have they figured out WHY you're having breathing troubles again? i think this is the first time since you moved. my brother has recently had an upswing in his asthma, as well (new allergies, etc)

May 01, 2009 10:06 AM  
Blogger DeltaDawn said...

So many things in one post! I resemble a Carol Burnett character when I wear heels - you're probably thinking of someone other than Mrs. Huh-Wiggins....

I named my white laptop Jackie - for Jackie O's white sunglasses - and I'm not usually a thing namer!

Hope you're feeling MUCH, MUCH better by now!

May 07, 2009 8:29 AM  

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