Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Drowning in fresh air

Life can change so quickly and can be full of the unexpected. Life had been going so well for me. My energy levels had begun to improve after 8 weeks. The discomfort and ocassional shooting pain from my surgery had settled down. Dilating had for the first 6 weeks been taking up what seemed so much of my day. I had just started venturing out & been enjoying short walks in the fresh air.

Just before Christmas my Mum had an allergic reaction to some medication that she had previously been fine with. She developed a very bad wheezy cough and shortness of breath within minutes of taking it. She did not want to make a fuss and begged us not to call an ambulance. I was torn what to do and so called her own doctor who arrived within minutes. He gave her antihistamines and steroid injections which almost certainly saved her life thanks to his prompt actions. We were so lucky, if she had been home on her own she may not have survived. He gave her a course of tablets for 3 days for her system to be clear of the medication which may have caused the problem, which he hoped would be successful.

We had a lovely Christmas together. Unfortunately the symptoms gradually came back once Mum finished her course of tablets and with the doctors closed over Christmas holidays she became steadily worse. We were up until the middle of the night for several nights and none of us could sleep with worry. Health problems particularly breathing always seem worse at night. With snow and ice on the ground we could not risk venturing out.

Thankfully the snow began to thaw a little and as soon as her doctor surgery reopened after the holidays we got to see him. We did not know what was happening to her. I felt so guilty and responsible for how my Mum was feeling. First my Dad was taken ill trying to do too much while I was unable to help him because of my operation, then my Mum was taken ill. She was getting really anxious about my surgery and I was afraid the strain had weakened her heart. We were all getting very frightened but tried in vain not to show it. The not knowing what was causing her symptoms was the worst bit.

Having to go out in the cold air to visit her doctor made her breathing even worse. When we arrived the patients in the waiting room appeared afraid she had swine flu. We were rushed in to see her doctor.

He surprised us by diagnosing asthma which usually occurs much earlier in life. It had been bought on by the side effects of a blood pressure tablet she had used for several years and the allergic reaction bought on the severe symptoms. He gave Mum a prescription for inhailers. As we were leaving because of the noise her chest was making the nursing staff stopped us in our tracks. They were so kind so helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. Mum told me she was terrified of going to hospital in case she picked up an infection in the wards. They gave her oxygen and special asthma medication. Thankfully she responded to treatment and we were able to return home.

As an Asthmatic from childhood I should have recognised the familiar signs. It was as though she was drowning in fresh air. I have been teaching Mum how to use inhalers morning and night. For a time she has had to learn how to breath again. I did not appreciate Asthma could develop in older people and never expected to have to go through this traumatic experience with her at this time in her life. Mum pulled through. She has survived a world war and been through far greater challenges.

She is doing really well now and using her inhalers just fine. So much so she is kindly accompanying me to Brighton today for my post op appointment with Mr Thomas. Nether of us ever dreamed we would make this journey together.

For our loved ones and ourselves, the guilt, the fear of the unknown can sometimes get too much and in panic it feels like we are drowning in a sea of love, always responsible for how the other is feeling. A miracle has happened for us. Our little family had been through such dark times together we now treasure every moment. We have reached a very emotional spiritual place where the ordinariness becomes so life affirming, so loud and yet so peaceful.

May life be kind to you.




alan said...

I'm glad you were there for Mom and Dad as all this was going on! I can't imagine being miles away and worrying and wondering...

May spring bloom soon and happiness grow for the 3 of you right along with the flowers and grass!


Anonymous said...

Its so wonderful you have such a good realtionship with your parents.
I am glad she is ok.

Jess H said...

Hope both Mum and Dads health improve - they are lucky having a caring daughter, you are lucky having accepting parents.

Much love, and in my thoughts and prayers.

Lucy said...

You know how I feel. Best wishes for your Mum, and let's hope that spring and sunshine come early!


GirlWhoShould said...

I echo the feelings said by all above.
Hoping your mum and dads health improve. Many hugs Lucy x

Karen said...

Your parents and yourself have been through a lot. Now hopefully you've all entered calmer waters.
Karen x

chrissie said...

Best wishes to all of you, pet.

I do hope that your folk's health issues settle down quickly.

Aside from that, it's nice to hear you are up and about.

Just don't overdo it, OK?


Anji said...

Sometimes just knowing what's wrong helps a lot. Hopefully now you can all settle down to a quiet life. I hope that your post op appointement went well.