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Year Three, Day 154: COPD and Me

I am in my library office. I made it hear just before the heavens opened up.  This library must have a tin roof.  The sound of thousands of raindrops pummeling us from above is most deafening!

I am struck by deja vu suddenly. It was just yesterday that I was blogging from another library before my afternoon students. I signed off and headed out.  I had my small umbrella with me. The kind that collapses. Perfect for my backpack.  I had walked a few feet away from the library when I looked up and noticed how the sky had suddenly darkened. And then a moment later I was hit by a deluge of heavy rain. I put up my little umbrella and pulled my purse up inside of coat, hoping to protect my cell phone.  And then hail!  Hard little pellets of ice pummeling me from above. I arrived at my student's house looking like I had just gone for a swim. With all of my clothes, backpack and purse on me!

This household is one of my favorite families. The grandma took one look at me and told me to put my socks, coat and shoes in a bin. She took them downstairs and put them in the dryer, gave me clean dry socks to wear, slippers and a big, puffy flannel shirt to wear.  Then she popped into the kitchen and made me a hot cup of tea! I love my students and their families! I felt most comforted!

Well, this morning I checked the weather forecast. It said cloudy with only a 10% chance of rain. I guess we are getting the 10% all at once. And me with my little umbrella again. Sigh. Tomorrow, I am bringing my big umbrella.  Tomorrow until rain season is over.  I guess I'll be packing until August!

I was amazed at how much less puffy I felt this morning. I hopped on the scale. I wonder if it is stuck? Still 180. But this is after a month of serious bad eating.  Yesterday was a good eating day.  I ended with a bottle of water and a green banana.

But my cough is kicking my butt. Not only was I up all night coughing and wheezing, but I was feeling short of breath. This in turn made me feel panicky and more short of breath!

But I got up and did my hooping. It was wet out, so I was confined to the sidewalk behind the house. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I teach at a church all day. There is a lovely room in the back of the sanctuary, with stone floors that is perfect for hooping! I hope to get a good long session in tomorrow.

Today is day 118 of my daily hooping adventure.  Sunday will be day 120 - four months! Woot woot!

After my hoop, I took a quick hot shower and made a mug of grits and some hot tea.  I am serious about sticking to a reduced budget and eating out less frequently. It may be painful to wean myself from Starbucks, but I am a survivor!

Speaking of surviving, I have COPD.  I just got back from the doctor. Yup, the grumpy doctor I have blogged about. Only today, he was not so grumpy. Perhaps because we are building a doctor/patient relationship. He has a new assistant who is super sweet and friendly. We talked about piano lessons. She thinks she is hopeless. She showed me her fingers. She said they are too stiff to play piano. I told her music is for everyone. I told her my oldest and one of my best students is my very own mother. Who is 75 years old. Most ornery at times, but she practices regularly and loves playing the piano. Even with her stiff, arthritic fingers.

Anyway, I was feeling cheerful this morning. I like the feeling of being a "regular" wherever I go. The doctor popped in. He recognized me immediately and asked how I was doing today.

I told him fine, except for the wheezing, hacking and shortness of breath.

"Just call me wheezy", I said. "Sounds like one of the seven dwarves!"

He chuckled.

He asked how I did on my last course of Prednisone. I told him it worked like a charm but I worried about long term use.

He told me we are only doing small doses in "short bursts".

I asked him if I though I had COPD.

He nodded his head. "Most likely", he said.

We talked again about my history. I told him I had never smoked. But that I did work in a bar for 6 years. This was back in the day when people smoked in bars. I came home every night reeking with smoke. My clothes, even my hair.  It was nauseating. But I was a single mom. I worked several jobs just to make ends meet.  Received very little child support. And I was most proud that I did not get state assistance.

I should have gotten state assistance. My lungs are paying for it now.

We also talked about the genetic component. My grandmother on my mother's side had sever asthma. She raised four kids on her own. On a farm in Texas. My mother told me her mom would tie a bandana around her nose and mouth when she went out to garden or get eggs from the hen house.

My doctor told me some people have a deficiency of the enzyme "Antitrypsin". Apparently it is a protein that helps protect the lungs from "damage caused by inflammation that can lead to emphysema and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)..."

I am oddly relieved. It is helpful to actually have a diagnosis, even though it is informal.

I told him I was frustrated because I was working hard on my health: eating healthy, trying to lose weight and exercising daily. I asked him if I needed to stop exercising while my lungs healed.

"I would never tell you to do that", he said.

We both chuckled.

He wrote my out another prescription for Prednisone.  Suggested I get a flu shot once this cough eased up.  Drink fluids, exercise, avoid smoke and crowds.

Avoid crowds!

The perfect justification for this introvert!

I talked to my daughter. She sent me an article on home treatment for COPD. She underlined DRINK MORE WATER!

She has been lecturing me about that for years.

Ginseng is also recommended by some doctors. I have been taking ginseng. I just picked up my prescription. I also got some vitamin c powder, some green bananas, rice cakes and tuna.

I am well armed!

On the positive side, I told my daughter it is a good thing that I started eating healthy, exercising daily and working on losing weight. What if I had developed COPD at 240 pounds? I would have been in a world of hurt. Probably would have to lug around an oxygen tank and use a walker!

I love seeing the positive side!

And now, I notice the rain has stopped and the sun is peeking through. Time to make a break for it!

Happy Friday to you!

Talk to you tomorrow!




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