My Favorite color is green, though you wouldn’t know it to look at me. These days, I’m more likely to be sporting a rather sickly blue — blue lips, blue fingertips, blue finger nails, even blue toenails. You see, when my oxygen sats drop, I go Smurf. And since my sats drop when I do just about anything, I spend a lot of time looking, well, blue. It’s a fashion statement, though I’m not sure it’s a very good one!
During my check up at the doctor yesterday, I couldn’t get my sats above 89, even on 15 LPM (anything above 90 pulse ox is considered good, and 15 LPM is a pretty high flow rate). Turns out, I have bronchitis. So, I’ve added Cipro and lasix to my daily handful of pills. The lasix should reduce any fluid that might be building up around my lungs. The unfortunate side effect, though, is that it brings my blood pressure way down, which can make me dizzy. If I get up too fast, my knees buckle. It’s a weird feeling to have your knees just give way.
The most disappointing thing, though, is that the doc decided to hold off on reducing my prednisone until I’ve worked through this flare. Right now, I’m at 20 mg. The magic number is 10 mg. That’s when we’ll start talking about me going back to work. And boy do I want to get back to work! The doc also raised my Imuran to 125 mg … we’re working up to 150 mg. Imuran is an anti-rejection drug that should take care of a lot of the inflammation, which allows us to reduce the prednisone. Got it? Good!
So, in the meantime, I continue to wait, do my rehab, and thank God for every step in the right direction. Since I have a bit more time on my hands, anyone have a book they’d like to recommend?
TIP: When you get breathless, usually your first instinct is to pant. But panting is not the most efficient way to replace oxygen. All lung patients learn a technique called “pursed lip breathing”. One of the respiratory therapists at rehab describes it as “smell the flowers, blow out the candles”. Take a controlled deep breath in through your nose and blow it out slowly through pursed lips. This technique pushes the oxygen deep into your lungs, whereas panting usually results in lots of shallow breaths. So, even if you don’t have lung disease, try pursed lip breathing the next time you’re feeling breathless. You’ll be surprised how quickly your breathing comes back to normal!
And a Special Thank You… to everyone who signed up as an organ donor and helped spread the word during Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Week. Your support means so much to all of us suffering with this disease. You’re alll heroes in my book!
PHOTO CREDIT: inspiredwombat via Flikr