Dealing With Pulmonary Oedema…

After a week without at attack of this most egregious of respiratory illnesses (damn near killed me back in August and it is not a good way to go – trust me on that), I’m not happy at all to see it back this morning.

It kicked in at around 03.30 as usual, but failed to progress as it usually does, I stuck it until 06.30, watching with dismay as my sputum pot was filling up, then got the hell out of my bedroom and came in here, to the living room.

I have, over the weeks since August, found a way to deal with this. I can’t guarantee it’ll work for you – hell, I can’t guarantee it’ll always work for me, but so far it has.

The “trick” is to use my large Volumatic inhaler to megadose on my inhalers, especially Salbutamol and Clenil Modulite (high-dose steroid). I could have done this in bed (I bought a second Volumatic last week), but my steroid inhaler was missing – I’d pinched it when the one in the living room ran out a few days ago.

By megadose I mean 8 squirts of everything you’ve got, and I find it’s best to do this in two batches of four (or four of two if your breathing is seriously impaired – and if it is, follow up with a 999 call), and I follow this with a mug of espresso, and I do mean a mug, 200ml. Technically this is called a caffè crema – think of it as an Americano but ALL coffee, no hot water, and for which I use 16.5g of ground-to-fluff Old Brown Java and a flat tamper. As explained here, coffee contains Theophylline, a bronchodilator.

And if, like me, you have a whole load of meds to take first thing in the morning, get those down too.

For me, so far, this has shut down several bouts of P.O. before they’ve got a hold on me, including this one. I’ve also found that trying to tough it out by staying in bed is bad news. Sitting upright in my swivel chair aids my breathing – in a crisis like this my clockwork bed, good though it is, won’t get me vertical enough.

And that’s it, except to say that the sooner you do this the more effective it is, and from my experience there is no way to confuse P.O. with a basic asthma attack once you’ve had a couple. Bleeding lungs is a giveaway, but I’ve noticed that this can be late to show up, by which time the attack is well established. So don’t wait for the blood – hit the inhalers as soon as you can. Repeat after an hour is necessary. And don’t worry – compared to the dose you’d get from a nebuliser the aerosol dose is minuscule – you simply cannot overdose, I was assured at the Pulmonary Function Laboratory. Well, OK, I suppose you can – you can o-d on water if you’re stupid enough. Just don’t be stupid.

And if this doesn’t work for you, don’t play silly buggers, phone for an ambulance, 999 not 111 – P.O. is life-threatening.

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