Friday, March 10, 2017

when Breathing is a difficult thing

It's becoming a chore, kids. It's a real drag. Some days, I struggle to fill my lungs to 75% capacity. Some days, I struggle to fill them to 50%.

And on days where the act of breathing isn't the problem, then I cough my fool head off. Or I clear my throat All. Day.

Here are "just the facts, Ma'am":

  • we moved in October
  • adjacent to our new building is a church that's been under construction for something like 4 years (timeframe per our upstairs neighbor)
  • I started having shortness of breath issues in November
  • I had health insurance through Warner Bros. until the end of November
  • I called Kaiser on a 50% day to make an appointment; I was seen the next day as a walk-in to fill a cancellation void
  • my appointment was likened to taking your noisy car to the mechanic but the car purrs like a kitten - my breathing that day was probably at 90 - 95%
  • the doc found nothing physically wrong with me (I'm not sick, kids) but did prescribe for me a rescue inhaler of Albuterol, with the admonition that if things got worse in the next week or so, I should follow-up with him
  • my rescue inhaler started with ~200 "hits"
  • I no longer have health insurance
  • the construction is nearing completion
  • the weather has changed to warm, sunny days (from cold and wet)
  • I'm down to fewer than 20 "hits" on my rescue inhaler
We walked over to CVS yesterday, because my non-productive cough was worrying for Stephen. The lung capacity is more of an issue in my mind, but I understand that if my coughing keeps either or both of us awake, then our sleep is interrupted, and our next day is likely to be pretty crappy all around.

So we picked up some Mucinex DM, which is both an expectorant (to make my coughing productive) and a suppressant (to quiet me enough for us both to sleep). I have taken three dosings so far, and my cough is more productive. I do not know how long I will need to continue taking Guaifenesin (the active expectorant ingredient). According to my nonFitbit-thingy, I slept pretty damn well last night, and I guess I can blame the Dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) for that one. Also, I've been feeling a bit sleepy since about 9 p.m., so I'm thinking that one of the "inactive" ingredients may also be contributing something there.

But I have been unable to reach a person at Social Services to see if I qualify for Medi-Cal or if I'm supposed to be paying out of pocket for health insurance that I cannot afford at this time, and my inhaler has fewer than 20 hits left. The CVS pharmacist told me I could get the doc I saw to refill my Rx, or I could go to a CVS insta-clinic (he called it something else) or an Urgent Care center to get a new Rx, but without insurance, how much will that cost me? I just don't even know.

And right now, Breathing is a difficult thing.

What advice would you give me, since I'm pretty sure you can't just send me a cartridge of Albuterol or any Prednisone (steroids) to help open my airways?


  1. I don't know what advice I could offer but I am curious if your shortness of breath occurs more often when you are at home and clears up the more time you are away from home?

    1. I just returned from a 4000-step walk in 90º sunny weather, and my breathing was VERY poor for the walk, not improving until I took my shoes off inside the front door of our apartment (currently 78º with windows open at both ends and no fans/heat/ac running). So I think that answer is NO.

      However, I have jokingly said that I'm allergic to Stephen, if at the end of his workday, my coughing has been light all day and then gets bad when he returns home. He doesn't think that's a particularly funny joke.

      I think everything really has to do with moving to a construction zone during a weather change, and the current weather change reminding me that I'm allergic to changing weather.

    2. At least you can still joke about it. I hope you can breath easy soon. :)

    3. I have an APPOINTMENT today with a Social Worker to see if I have Medi-Cal coverage! Yay! And either way, I WILL follow that with a visit to a clinic of some kind (likely CVS) to get my inhaler refilled.

      He's gone to work, so I'm now coughing less. ;)


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