It Was a Meltdown (Part 2)
Letting it go
It stung when it felt like the doctor blew me off. It almost seemed like he was sarcastic. I asked my husband about it and he said no, he was just being him. He said to let it go. This doctor has been so good for the years that I have worked with him. He and the staff have been busier than normal. I do need to just let it go. The clinic even gave me a follow-up call the day after my visit to the ED. They wanted to know if I was taken care of. Sure, they were just doing their job, but it meant a lot.
Coming to town
A few days later, my pulmonologist was coming to town. It’s nice that we have doctors coming from the bigger towns and cities to our small clinics and hospitals. Patients don’t have to travel unless they need testing or surgeries that are best held at the bigger facilities.
It’s been 6 months since I last saw my pulmonologist. Last time he asked if I could walk the length of a football field. I said no. At that time, I didn’t think to tell him that it was because of my back and knee. If I paced myself I maybe could walk that. That needs to be mentioned. I shake my head. Why clarify 6 months later, unless something comes up?
The staff wanted me to ride in a wheelchair because I was so short of breath and weak. I’m sure it did look like help was needed. I walked but had to stop a couple of times. I was grateful to all of the staff, they are so helpful and friendly.
The pulmonologist came in
We had small-talk while he looked over my chart. As he looked over the readings from my CPAP machine, he said that it looks like I’m doing great. There weren’t any “events”, which meant that I hardly stopped breathing. He said, “you are tired”? Yes, I am so tired. How did he know? When I read, sleep is likely. He asked about driving, looking at my husband, and my response was “I haven't been driving”. He asked about watching TV. I told him to have my husband answer these because I don’t know. “Watching TV, yes she will fall asleep. When riding in the car, yes. Yes, yes, and yes.”
He then asked about my bronchitis. This is a chronic condition that falls under Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Those that are under COPD are emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and Alpha-1, which is the genetic form of COPD. I told him that I still cough a lot and explained my mucus to him.
Our very own John Bottrell, RRT, wrote a great article on the topic. It’s very informative and explains so much. Check it out: COPD 101: What Is Chronic Bronchitis?
I have had bronchitis before, but it was acute, and went away with medication. This has gone on long enough. Last time I told him that we had done some remodeling and found mold in one of the outside walls. I had been telling my husband that this house was killing me. That mold surprised us so that was a great finding. I thought I had been kidding all of this time.
I am to discontinue Advair and Trelegy. He came up with more aggressive treatments and my bronchitis seems to be getting worse. It’s time to switch to the Duo Neb, which is Ipratropium Bromide and Albuterol Sulfate, three times a day. Also, Budesonide Inhalation Suspension is to be used two times a day. I’m to use the Pro-Air rescue inhaler when needed. Singulair will stay with my nightly regimen as well. I also have a 2 month supply of antibiotics. He debated putting me on Prednisone for some time, but would rather not do that if he didn't have to.
Waiting to see
Making a difference
He wants to see if these nebulizers make a difference with bronchitis, as well as my emphysema and exercise-induced asthma. If my tiredness and inability to function continue, I am to go on a medication that will help me stay awake during the day. This is so crazy, that I didn't even think that I could get another disease that falls under the COPD label.
I did ask about my oxygen levels and they're running 91-92 at rest. He said that he wasn't too concerned with that because it's above the minimum 88%. I do use that at night and during the day as needed anyway. These medication changes will hopefully make a difference with my oxygen level as well.
I do feel bad and stupid about my meltdown which I felt because I hadn’t received a call back from my doctor's nurse or anyone actually. I don’t know why no one from the clinic called me back and I probably won’t know. Letting them know how upset I was really upset me.
Harder on myself
Anyway, that was my meltdown. A little over a week later, it’s a thing of the past, something that I can hardly remember. Hopefully, the doctor and others that I talked to will forgive me and forget that happened too.
It sounds like pulmonary rehab will be in my future as well which is so good. Maybe it will help build my stamina, so I can safely do more exercising at home and will lose weight. Maybe I’ll be able to walk the length of a football field. Maybe I’ll be able to breathe.
COPD isn't for sissies!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?