Why am I writing about this problem? Because it is debilitating, worrying and difficult to come to terms with, even for an optimist like I am.
I need to explain the symptoms I experience, so that others less able to understand what is happening to them, can identify with my trauma, and better come to terms with their own.
I need to explain I also suffer with heart conditions treated with open heart surgery, that include coronary arterial disease, CABG, and Aortic valve replacement with atrial flutter.
My Lung condition is Pulmonary fibrosis (fibrotic NSIP/atypical UIP pattern). Just so that those that know will be able to identify the actual medical problems I am faced with.
I have no stamina, get breathless at the thought of any activity. Walking ten paces creates stress and a need to gasp for air. I have been assessed and granted oxygen that must be in place for 15 to 16 hours per day to be affective. I struggle to determine any real benefit from the oxygen, having said that, I cannot wait to get it on, as and when my breathing is compromised and oxygen has briefly not been in place.
COUGHING: The chest alerts me to the need to clear a build-up of mucus, it becomes sensitive to incoming air resulting in a cough.
Lungs build-up contamination and need to be cleared several times a day, sometimes as few as two or three times per day. The method used is coughing.
This first cough may or may not be successful in shifting some of the material.
Gradually coughing becomes more violent, until eventually it effects the brain. It is essential to clear the lungs, so whilst there is an obstruction, I have to keep coughing until all feelings of chest sensitivity has been dispelled.
When I say it affects the brain: Violent coughing creates (I think) pressure within the head to the degree where it alters my vision, spacial awareness, ability to move, weightlessness, a sensation of bodily emptiness where only the outer edges of the epidermis has solidity. Limbs resting on furniture appear to be suspended in mid-air, with a disconcerting sensation of coldness affecting the lower back across the kidney area.
The mental sensation: I can only imagine, is likened to being comatose whilst still being aware and cognitive, monitoring the symptoms illustrated above.
A wee dram of whiskey (in my case), although I imagine brandy or similar spirit would also be successful, helps to quieten the chest rapidly, especially if the coughing has become prolonged and still not clearing the problem.
Medication: I am on (Lung) Acetylcystein 600mg 3 times per day. (Heart) Clopidogrel 75mg 1 per day. Amongst other medication.
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