As I typed the penultimate sentence in what follows, my breathing shut down with an almost audible clang! Christ, this is some scary shit. This was typed in real time, as it happened.
Not as bad as when I was admitted to hospital, but it’s fair to say I’m not having much fun. And it’s the first time this has happened in daylight – it always happens around 3.30 in the morning (though – and these parentheses are a later addition after time to think – it also occurred at a similarly low point in my medication cycle). Anyhow, I’ve taken a slug of codeine linctus, and megadosed on my inhalers and, hopefully, stopped it getting worse. But what the hell triggered it? It came out of nowhere. Perhaps it always does, I’m usually asleep when it starts.
10 minutes later – I’m on top of it, which poses a question – if I woke sooner when it happens at night, could I minimise its effects?
And how the hell could I arrange that? Beats me.
25 minutes on and, for now, breathing is smooth again, though shallow; no wheezing now, and no coughing. O2 is down to 90% though and on my pulse ox my heart trace is as erratic as buggery – instead of a smooth flow of peaks and troughs, it’s a jagged mess. Feels like there’s a demented pigeon trapped in my chest, too. Strongly suggests that whatever the cause of this current exacerbation is, it really does involve my heart – are you reading this, Denial Nurse?
Now almost 2 hours later (17.50), and I’m back to normal. Is this an indication that if I catch these events in time I can reduce their severity? But, as I said, how do I do that?
And this is what I started out to write.
This is why I have right-side HF as well as the “more normal” left-side:-
Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart.
Pulmonary hypertension begins when tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs’ arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart’s lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and eventually fail.
Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that becomes progressively worse and is sometimes fatal. (Source: Mayo Clinic.)
The only thing I take issue with there is the word “sometimes” in that last sentence. If the heart muscle weakens and fails, then – unless something else gets the patient first – it must inevitably be fatal. But I’m finding that medical websites, when discussing heart failure, get evasive when it comes to the prognosis. I can sort of see why – tell someone thousands of miles away they’re going to die, and there’s no telling what the consequences might be. Me, I’d prefer the truth.
And I got that in hospital, much to my surprise. I won’t say I was thrilled – quite the opposite – but I appreciated it. I’d like to know – roughly – how long I might have, too. I appreciate that this might well be a minority view – I have a friend who thinks I’m nuts for wanting to know – but that’s how I am. I also accept that it might be impossible to say with any accuracy – a ball-park figure would do. Am I looking at weeks, months, or a year or two?
I don’t have a bucket list but there are still things I’d like to do while I’m still here. It’d be nice to know if I have the time, or should I just forget it and make the best of what’s left in whatever way I can? I have no idea, and that frustrates me!
And at this point my world – for a little while – went to hell.