My Latest Exacerbation

Upon waking, I realize it is 11:30 am, way past my usual waking time and I still feel tired. I begin to feel an odd sensation in your throat. As consciousness takes hold, I know I need to survey the situation. I have been doing well the last little while in spite of the changing weather patterns.

I can tell something’s wrong

I felt fine going to bed last night but today I can feel that tickle. Trying not to overreact, I take deep breaths, but when getting out of bed makes me feel very short of breath; it usually means something is up.

Using the washroom sends a million thoughts through your mind. The main thought is what is going on and how will this day end? Being in an upright position allows me to cough up mucus and access it for colour and texture. It’s thick and brown and has that odd taste to it. Not a good sign.

Trying not to panic

I try not to panic because some days it’s harder to get out of bed than others, and it will usually pass without a second thought, but on other days I am not so lucky. As I take deep breaths to test for wheeziness, and my airways feel narrowed and I cannot catch a deep breathe, and then it ends with the unwelcome musical wheeze.

Then, I begin going through the rest of the checklist for a fever, fatigue, headache or water weight gain. Fear and anxiety are beginning to set in. I know all too well how this could go. I have been here many times in the past. Temperature is elevated just slightly.

Today I opt to take my rescue inhaler, use my BiPap and go back to my bed for a few minutes. Let’s see if that helps my shortness of breath. I am trying to talk to see if my voice is OK. It feels and sounds like it has a rasp to it.

Mindful of how I’m feeling

While back in bed, I take stock of other sensations throughout my body. Is it just my throat that is sore? Perhaps my BiPAP has run out of water and it is just a humidity problem. Do I feel it anywhere else? Is it in my chest or my head?

Tapping into my mindfulness meditation practice I try to stay in the moment, accepting it as it is, without trying to change it. I am working hard to keep all of the bad thoughts at bay and keeping the panic down. I am vulnerable. There is always a danger that catching a cold could put me back in hospital. I am really scared of that happening again and I just want my mommy to come and fix it all for me.

I need to know what to do and how I feel, but right now, I just want to make it to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. As I dial the number for the drug store, I try to reason with myself. I am never sure if I should go back on my management action plan or wait it out. My entire day and the next few days will revolve around my breathing. I will once again be robbed of any well-being today to care for my ailing lungs.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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