Air pollution contributes to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, doctors warn, with tobacco, deodorants and wood-burning stoves among the causes.
Have not written a full post since being in hospital. I went in on Sunday the 7th February in the evening and I have been home now for four days. I am recovering but still finding it hard to get about and still have got a terrible chesty cough to get rid of and steroids to count down on again!!! These stubborn chest infections are such a nuisance and if there was a magic recipe or plan I could put into place that would eliminate them, I would start it right now. However, this does not seem to be the case, no matter what I have done, I just can’t get on top of them.
On a brighter note I was definitely better this time I was in hospital than I have been during the last four years. I usually spend a period of time in hospital every year and its always after Xmas and before April. One year I was in twice but every time it has been for more than 2 weeks and I have been really poorly not been able to walk or look after myself at all. This time my stay was for only 6 days and I was completely mobile and independent. I could shower and get myself to and from the toilet even dragging my blinking drip there and back too and with no oxygen. The staff who know me by now commented on how much I had improved and they liked this! It must be a change from seeing people just getting worse all the time. Because of their care I was very well looked after, the staff are so wonderful, I just can’t praise them enough, they are so very busy but always have time for a chat when they can. I did miss the television as they do not have beside-the-bed TVs on the chest ward, so I would like to do some funding to help with a few luxuries for the ward. Also, the curtains around the beds were very basic they were the disposable ones that they have in A and E. The staff said it was due to funding and that the ice machine they always used to have has not been replaced due to cuts. But they were all smiling and adjusting to less.
I was there during the Junior Doctors strike and had a word with a few Doctors about it as they were in and out all the time checking on my oxygen levels. Anyone who has had their oxygen gas tested knows how long it takes to get it done; my wrists are covered in bruises. So to take my mind off the pain the poor doctor was inflicting on me, I would ramble on about the strike. Talking to them makes you see the great injustice that is being done to them. One Junior Doctor I spoke to came to put my IV in at two in the morning and he had been working for 48 hours. How many of us would put up with this, definitely not any of Cameron’s Hench Men, I am sure. They have lost a generation of voters for their next election because I doubt very much if any Junior Doctors will ever vote Conservative again.
Well back to what have I done to considerably improve my position in the breathing steaks? I think it has been partly due to the fact that I have gained a bit more lung function from stopping smoking (which was over 3 years ago now) and I have been doing that bit of exercise that I told you about in one of my recent post, need to exercise. It really surprised me when I could walk and not have to wait for people to take me to the loo, wash me, change me etc. And then I realised that it was that bit of exercise I had done that must have caused this transformation. Talk about happy!! I was totally brimming with smiles realising that THIS EXERCISE IS WORKING!!! I had not really noticed any pay back for all the hard work I had done and I must admit was feeling a bit let down by all my effort and no rewards. So, all I can do now is carry on and see where further exercise will get me, a long way I hope! The problem with this illness (combined with aging), you get very out of condition and very quickly if you do not keep on top of your exercises and you do not realise how bad things have got until you try to do something. So now I am older and wiser and will get on quickly with my exercise routine, I am also going to ask my Doctor to refer me to PALs which is a scheme the council run and you get cheap gym membership and more specialised help, more on exercise.
A new thing that has come into my life is the community matron, I am getting a visit from her today, I will be glad because of my cough worsening this morning. We have to be vigilant because it is easy for an infection to flare back up again when you are low.
Well, my Community Matron has been while I was writing this post and she is lovely. I will have her help for three months to help me get back on my feet. She is there to help me recognise when I need to take my antibiotics, steroids, manage my nebuliser and also help me work out a safe exercise routine. She also has all the contacts for help in the home etc as and when I need it. During the next three months if I am feeling ill I have to ring her she will be my first point of call and she will come out and listen to my chest etc. So this is really great am very happy with the arrangement. And will be really happy when I can go swimming myself, will keep you posted on that one!
This week that good old saying of Robert Burns comes to mind! I had imagined myself sat today eating my pancakes and reminising about skipping day in Scarborough. And am I? NO! Instead I’m in blinking hospital AGAIN!
Seven years ago today, I was in the same hospital on the same ward but with pneumonia and it was that week on the Friday, (Friday the 13th February actually), that my beautiful son died. He will have been gone from my life now for 7 years. Gone but never forgotten.
It just seems like yesterday, I can remember talking about him to another patient. He had been on my mind for a while, I was trying to organise his life. The soft approach hadn’t worked with him so I had decided to take a harder approach. But like anything else I try its got to backfire on me. Michael had been addicted to drugs and alcohol and no matter how much I tried with him I just wasnt getting anywhere. It was so frustrating. He had just come out of prison and I had been talking to his probation officer in Scarborough only a few days previously. I was cross with them because they wern’t dealing with his mental health issues. I can remember saying to her, “if anything happens to my son it will be your fault”. I wanted him sending to hospital so he could be monitored properly as I felt it was his mental health problems that caused his drug and alcohol abuse issues. He was 33 but so vunerable. Every time over the past few years when I had tried to get the mental health team to see him, Michael would do a runner. Then I wouldn’t see him for a few weeks/months until he turned up dishevelled and dirty. I would send him up to the bathroom and sort some clothes out for him and then we would be back on that same merry-go-round. I had to break this vicous circle somehow.
I already had my hands full with my youngest son who had an aquired brain injury after falling through a factory roof and I was trying to get him into Daniel Yorthath House for rehabilitation. That was a great fight on its own trying to get funding etc. I was planning to bring Michael through to live with me while my youngest son was safely away in rehab. But what was that I said earlier about mice and men and things not going to plan!
My youngest son had already gone through a couple of operations to repair his fractured scull with a titanium plate. And then, I ended up in hospital myself with pnumonia, I didn’t have a diagnosis of COPD at that time, but I know I had it now, my breathing was definitely not what it should have been.
I’m afraid because of all this Michael took a bit of a back seat while I was sorting my youngest boy out. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and didn’t get the chance to help him as I wanted to. I tried to park him up for a while and sent him through to where his dad, brother and grandma lived. I just wanted them to see to him whilst I sorted my youngest boy.
Life can be so cruel at times and you need all your strength to get through petiods such as these. When the police delivered the message that my son was dead I felt numb with disbelief. No he can’t of, I am going to bring him through here! Knowone can explain the raw and constant pain you suffer when you loose a child. Even though it was through drink and drugs I still miss my son so very much. It doesn’t matter how they died you still feel useless. Tonight reading this through I felt like running into the hospital corridor and screaming my son is dead and its my fault. I’m his mum and I wasn’t there for him! Deep down I shall always feel like this. If and buts?
But no matter how much you suffer in personal grief there is always something to slap you in the face telling you that things could be so much worse. What my gran used to call a big dose of reality. From my hospital bed, I watched a young woman with no hair who could hardly walk struggle to the toilet. So obviously a cancer sufferer and I thought shame on you Gina wasting even one minute on self pity, you have so much to be thankful for.
I’m sorry but there’s simply no nice way to say this. Nicotine dependency, like alcoholism, is a real mental illness and disease. While able to fully and comfortably arrest our chemical addiction, there is no cure. It’s permanent. Like alcoholism there’s just one rule. Once we’re free, just one, using just once and we have to go back. You see, it isn’t a matter of how much willpower we have, but how the brain’s priorities teacher teaches, how nerve and memory cell highways that recorded years of nicotine feedings have left each of us wired for relapse. But it’s not all doom and gloom, it can be cracked, armed with the right knowledge you can do it like millions of others have – click below to find out how its definitely worth a read!
Source: Nicotine Addiction 101
Did you know as we age we begin to lose lung capacity?
Typically this happens for men starting at the age of 25 and for women at 35 years of age. At the same time this is happening, we also tend to lose muscle tone. Just when we most need our breathing muscles to help us in our daily lives or our exercise, these muscles may not be working as efficiently as before.
If you exercise regularly you may think you don’t have to worry about this natural event. However, aging is associated with increased breathlessness and declines in respiratory function. And further breathlessness could be due to the effects of increased inactivity, heart disease, worsening asthma or pulmonary disease. All of the symptoms associated with this extra breathlessness can be enough to contribute to a long term decrease in activity. And here starts the viscous circle of further respiratory muscle atrophy and further breathlessness. Termed as the viscous circle of respiratory muscle weakness!
So what can we do about it?
One report I have recently read states that exercise alone cannot provide respiratory muscle training. I was also told this when I was in hospital last year, breathing exercises are the only type of exercises that hit certain muscles associated with the respiratory system. Therefore, it seems to me the best way to give your system a workout is to combine both breathing and physical exercises. Without going through a load of reports and boring the pants off you, I have found that doing both type of exercises needs to be a priority. The lady in the video below explains how pulmonary rehab has worked for her, it’s not a great picture as I had to use the video on my phone and my Grandkids are making too much noise in the background but it’s watchable and it gives you an idea of its success and how worthwhile the exercise bit has been for her –
After watching this video you can see how important exercise is to us COPDers we need to be taking part in something every day! Housework used to be my exercise, running around with the hover to music and I loved walking. I also loved to dance, wonder if I will ever be able to do that again, well never say never! I have my appointment at the end of this week to see the Pulmonary Rehab Nurses at Huddersfield General Infirmary and I am going to do it this time. Every time I have done a course I have had to give up after a couple of weeks due to being such a baby and also getting a chest infection. Well this time I am going to step up and be a warrior again. ‘A COPD Warrior’, and the best bit will be that I will be able to do a video of a before and after for everyone to see on my Blog! Before anyone starts any exercise you must go and see your doctor or specialist and in order to exercise safely see the Pulmonary Rehab Team at your local hospital. They will show you how much exercise you can do for it to be safe to your personal fitness level. My daughter is coming with me on Friday and I will get her to video my session to put on the site and it will show you the type of testing you have to go through. Unfortunately my Rehab was put back because of a stupid arrhythmia that they are exploring but will carry on with all this as soon as they have it sorted.
The Breathing Exercises!
While I have been writing this post, I have mentioned breathing exercises as well as physical exercises for being the optimum type of routine to help with the respiratory muscles. To the left is a picture of a Power Breath, which you can get from your doctor on prescription. Don’t use it until you have been given the go from your specialist first. My respiratory team said that they recommend it to some patients but not all and it does work your respiratory muscles, so I am going to get mine out now and try it again. The last time I used mine after a few days I was in agony and could hardly breath but that was probably my respiratory muscles getting a workout and it would have passed eventually I think, like I said I am such a baby. So, I am going to have another go now that I am under the Pulmonary Rehab Team again. I will let you know how I get on with this too! Another good breathing exercise is Yoga and Pilates. I am going to look into that too. So happy exercising and talk again soon. And here is a lovely bit of music to exercise to or to put you in the mood for it!
Used to get me on the dance floor this song!
And another cant believe I was as thin as them in the 80’s
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE MOTIVATIONAL EXERCISE MUSIC? PLEASE ADD IT ON IN THE COMMENTS AND WE COULD DO A PAGE OF EXERCISE VIDEOS