Having a chronic illness and a DNR preference highlights just how risky every choice I make can be to my overall level of health and wellness.
I’m in the middle of construction to improve my rat trap of a 41 year old mobile home. I’m also living in Northern California, hiding from the poor air quality due to the ongoing fires. Unfortunately, I can’t hide from the very risky need to breathe, so I have caught a lovely, streaming head cold as the warmth of Summer gives way to unpredictable weather, allergens and fires has hit me squarely between the eyes.
Being a DNR chooser due to my complex and chronic healthcare issues related to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), plus my failing liver (due to the various treatments I’ve tried over the years to remain well, or, as healthy as I can be given my crappy lungs) is not an emotional choice. It’s not risky. Instead, it’s simply practical. The truth of the matter is, despite all the challenges and risks, my body keeps on fighting. It’s busy relentlessly fighting, and I just want a nap.
My birth defect damaged body is fighting to live, to take a deep, full breath. To be well. I get it, even when I find that I have zero energy for what * I * choose to do. However, my body apparently has found a way to tap into energies that I cannot see.
Nights are the worst.
Not that the days are any fun, when you’re trying not to cough (as your ribs hurt like crazy from your coughing spasms), and yet the wrong inhale triggers a coughing spasm as your lungs fight desperately to expel the bloody crud clogging them.
Somehow, though, it’s easier to believe you’ll make it through the day. A day with the sun shining and the welcome sounds of neighbors going through their lives, whistling. Banging trash bins together. Juggling grocery bags to get everything into the house in as few trips as possible. Normal sounds. Comforting noise. Life.
The anxiety of fighting off a cough in the daylight isn’t half so challenging as doing the same battle overnight. In the darkness. The only one awake.
By midnight or 2am, you’ve been up and down multiple times. Sitting up in a chair, trying to breathe without coughing, and your boney butt is killing. Your legs are swelling because you didn’t have enough energy to move around much that day, and you just want to lay down, as flat as you can, to get an hour’s rest. Rest before your lungs are filled up, again. Rest before you’re up and coughing, again, trying to stop the spasms.
I know that I’m fine. I have plans for the future which cover the next 9 months or so, and I’ll be damned if I’m going anywhere that doesn’t involve a caribbean cruise or a trip to the British Isles next Summer.
I have done my best to prepare for my life, ensuring I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and I’ve made my deductible for the year so my medicines are covered. My money is stable for now. So, believe me, I know it could be much more difficult.
I know I have things better than other folks who are suffering constant pain.
I know I have things better than the folks that have lost family members, their homes and in some cases their jobs, as the fight against the Northern CA Fires continues.
But, this pity party is about my tiny world, and my worries as I handle my own risky business and related choices.
I keep pushing the liquids and doing what I can to simply endure the anxiety while waiting out the congestion, the feelings of imminent suffocation, and fighting to win this battle once again.
Who knew breathing, or simpky trying to breathe, was so risky?