Month: March 2020

A Critical Attack by Lois Hewitt

Have you ever had an asthma attack? I’ve had asthma literally as long as I can remember. I was born premature so my lungs did not get a chance to develop enough.

As a child, the doctors all thought the difficulty breathing were my attempts to gain attention. One doctor even told my mother to let me pass out, it wouldn’t do any harm. I never heard the word asthma applied to my case until I was in my 20s. When I had an attack, I would just have to prop myself up on the couch and wait for my breath to return… Sometimes four days later. A trip from the couch to the bathroom could delay the process of breathing normally.

I say breathing normally but I do not mean it. My normal is not normal for non-asthmatic people. I’m doing better, but I am still always out of breath. Breathing is on my mind every single day of my life. I can never turn my back on it. Just like anyone with a chronic disease. It is ever present.

I have had so many attacks in my life. Most I recovered from just by sheer stubbornness, which I do not promote as a way of handling this. I have landed in the hospital several times with extreme attacks. One in particular never leaves me.

I was in my 40s and doing home parties as a side gig. Many of my asthma attacks, especially the most severe, were brought on by cat dander. So I’m doing a party in the dead of winter. The temperature is hovering around zero. The extreme cold is another trigger. The house I’m at has six cats. The moment I walk in, my lungs immediately start to close.

I made a commitment and I was going to honor it so I continued on because I am that stubborn. As the night, the Neverending night, my breath grew more and more shallow, to the point not much air is getting in or out.

As your body reacts to the decreasing amount of oxygen, your body temperature rises to where it feels like it’s hovering around 150. Standing outside in the zero temperature and I was still profusely sweating. Your muscles get so tense that it takes days for them to not hurt any more. But before the attack is over, they start violently shaking from the now lack of oxygen. Your nails start to turn blue and all color drains from your face. You look like a corpse.

All the while, you are fighting the second worse part of the attack after lack of oxygen. The panic starts to intensify. Soon you lose the ability to comprehend what is going on around you as you mind singly focuses on staying alive. It’s like in the movies when a character is standing still and all the activity around them slowly disappears. As this happens you cannot speak because it takes breath to talk and you can’t concentrate on anything long enough to make a full sentence anyway.

Luckily I was not driving that night because there was no way I could. I got home and kept thinking if I could just sleep I would be better. Now by this time, I have used so much asthma medicine my heart is beating out of my chest, along with the adrenaline coursing through me. I was still in survival mode. Things were getting grimmer by the hour.

Somehow I made it to 5 am and I went downstairs to try some more medicine. I stood up, ran into the living room and yelled to Mike to call 911. My knees folded underneath me and everything went completely black. I was unconscious for the next four hours.

This is what Mike told me later. He ran downstairs and I was not breathing at all. He performed CPR. He said my eye were rolled up in my head and that I was turning blue. He got me breathing again and called my mother who lived right next door.

The ambulance came and they stabilized and took me to the hospital. They worked on me for a long time and I finally started to come around with no knowledge of what happened.

I was honestly spared from death. If Mike had not been home I would have perished right there on the living room floor and that is not an exaggeration. The memory of that night is clear as crystal some ten years later. The fear of reliving that experience is always somewhere in my mind.

Now what is the reason for telling that story now? It’s really simple. What happened that night pales in comparison to what the Corono Virus does to your lungs.

To those who think this is not serious, please think again. Lives depend on it. Do the right thing. Thank you

My First Rodeo by Lois Hewitt

background beautiful blossom calm waters

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here we are quarantined because of the Corona Virus.  There is a lot of time to think in these very quiet times. Fear is all around from many as is indifference from some.  Some are welcoming the slower pace and others are going stir crazy.  It is uncertain times, for sure.

As I was thinking about this virus yesterday, and trying to stay calm, my mind traveled back to another time.  My first rodeo time back in the early 1980s.  I was a teenager in the 70s and acting rather reckless.  I did some things that I would NEVER even, for a moment, think about doing today.  But I was young, dumb and very angry at life.

In early 1981, I decided to clean up my act and start putting my life together.  Then came, seemingly out of the blue, a virus no one had ever heard of…AIDS.  Remember, at the very beginning, even scientists seemed blindsided.  Please note that I am NOT comparing AIDS to Corona, but I am comparing the FEAR of the unknown of each.

The general understanding at the time was cloudy as to how it was transmitted.  Airborne? Contact? Toilet seats? Risky behavior? It was unclear.  Since I was still very close to my reckless days, I totally freaked out with absolute blind fear.  This manifested itself in some extreme OCD tendencies on my part.

I started washing my hands a lot, sometimes 4 or 5 times an hour.  I was spraying Lysol on every surface over and over.  I took up to three showers a day.  I was afraid to leave the house.  Every time I left there was a two hour ritual, similar to hazmat cleansing, that took place: clothes were washed immediately and disinfected, the car was cleaned with Lysol, I showered again, everything that came into the house from the outside was inspected and cleaned several times.  Even stepping outside meant these procedure had to be done and it had to be done in the correct order or I would have to start all over again.  It was literally and figuratively exhausting.

There is no Internet at the time (thank goodness), so watching talk shows and news shows was the source of information.  Everyone had theories but no definitive explanations.  The panic continued for years.  I could not sleep I was so scared.  I kept tally of the number of cases and where they were, it was a crazy time.

I finally learned to function in my fear.  I looked only slightly crazy on the outside, but on the inside I was a complete mess.  I let the fear of the unknown grab hold of me and my constant worrying feed the fear and made it grow.  Washing my hands with bleach probably contributed to my future weakness to infections. The things I did then are still impacting me today.  I still have OCD tendencies, but I have learned to use them in productive ways.  Some times during stressful situations I find myself falling back into the chaos of checking and rechecking, but I can usually talk myself off the ledge now.

So what is the point here?  I spent a good part of my 20s in fear of an unknown.  While healthy fear is a good thing, that’s what keeps a person safe, unhealthy fear is as damaging as the disease itself.  Stress and worry can be detrimental to ones health and emotional wellbeing.  So as I ride out the Corona Virus, I plan to take the threat to myself and others seriously, but I also plan to not panic.

I have learned that educating oneself tends to ward off the panic.  Being fearful, no matter the extent of that fear, does not help the situation.  Understanding that the answers may be slow in coming, doing those things that seem necessary and staying calm are the choices we make that will see us all through this challenging situation.

This is an unprecedented time.  Everyone has the right to voice their opinions on platforms that can be read by many (heck, even I have a blog Lol:), but remember not everyone is skilled or knowledgeable enough to speak on every subject.  I guess what I am trying to say is, just because something shows up in print, it does not mean it is true.  Please take the time to research the facts, choose who you listen to and use common sense in your actions.

I want you all to be and stay healthy both physically and emotionally.  That is why I tell you these dumb things I have done, so that you do not have to live through them or if you did that you are not alone like I always thought I was.

Today, I choose to be calm.  Be safe as well as kind!!!  Love you all!!!