Sunday, 12 March 2017

Lung Problems

This week I got the news that my lungs are in a worse condition than I expected.

I had been told last year that I had Bronchiectasis, which was caused by
 childhood illnesses, like Whooping cough, and mumps, and I thought that was bad enough.

While I remember my mother talking about me being ill as a child with these illnesses, I never really understood what impact it could have in later life

These illnesses did the initial damage, and now it seems that I  now have Emphysema, which was caused by the health damage in those early years, smoking and then industrial pollutants, asbestos, and wood dust etc.

When I look on the internet these days, nearly all of the products we used, or were involved with, are now classed as hazardous, or in many cases cancerous, like many of the timbers in use at those times.

I also did Wood Carving and Wood Turning as a hobby before I became ill in 2001, and I guess that as most of these timbers were hardwoods, and in some cases exotic timbers from foreign lands, it was asking for trouble anyway.

Having said that quite a lot of timbers used over the last 50 years have been from foreign lands, and some are deadly when they get into the lungs, according to the Health and Safety Executive these days

Many British timbers could cause breathing problems, but I never associated them with my problems over the years, because I used a face mask on most occasions.

But looking back the dust is also carried around on the other parts of the face which were  not covered by the mask.

It was well known that many of these face masks, were inadequate for the job which they were meant for

Its only later in life, that you realise that some of these products  can cause pneumonia and other chest problems etc, and it brings it all down to earth

I confess that I don't really understand, what these two illnesses "Bronchiectasis and Emphysema" mean, because they both do different things to the Lungs, according to my daughter who is a biologist

When I was given this last diagnosis,   the Consultants waiting room was very busy, so he really did not have time to discuss anything this time round.

 The last time I saw him, he spent a long time explaining Bronchiectasis to us

However this time he said that because I have Broncheitasis already, I don't have "COPD", which is confusing because Emphysema,  comes under the umbrella of COPD.

However if I picked it up correctly, you can have both illnesses without having COPD.

Looking around there is a lot of information about COPD and Broncheitasis, but little about Emphysema, which is very odd

As I am being referred for Respiratory physiotherapy sometime soon, we may get the answers we need, and then I see the Consultant again in June

Its very strange, but last year I felt a lot worse than I did on the day of the Consultation, but whether it was because I am trying to convince myself that nothing is wrong, I am not sure.

I know that I had paced myself on that walk from home to the hospital, which is around half a mile, so I may well be getting better at pacing myself these days, I simply don't know.

It could also be to do with the fact that we had to wait for one and a half hours to see the consultant, so I had time to relax

I am now waiting to hear from the family doctor about the changes in my medication. However as this is being done by the Consultant, it may be  few weeks before we hear anything, and then its trial and error to make sure that the medication starts to help me.

I know in my own mind that the damage is done, and cannot be corrected, or stopped, but I guess its all down to me getting on with life as it is now, and accepting what has been done

I have a lovely family to think about,  and that includes  5 lovely grandchildren,  so my mind will be occupied for a while to come.

From this point I will need to do something I have struggled to do for years, and that is to pace myself properly every day.

But I know that if I overdo things these days, I simply sit down and go to sleep for an hour or so.

It staggers me these days, when I see people working without protection equipment on.

I do wonder if they bury their heads in the sand, but it's no excuse, because health and safety is more prominent than it has been for years.

Recently I have struggled with pollution when I have been out, and I guess that this is going to get worse, especially if we travel around, but its no good sitting down and thinking about it, life goes on and its a case of making a go of it.

We never really appreciate our lungs etc, during our  early days, and looking back over my working days, there was not the health protection that we see these days, you simply got on with your job as best as you could

Industrial places are much healthier  than they were in the 1960-70s etc, but in all honesty some health protection equipment in those days was so uncomfortable, that you either wore it or took a chance with out it.

I worked on many building sites, where asbestos was being sprayed onto the ceilings above us, but you just got on with life. All we had in those days was a cloth face mask, and that's no protected from asbestos

There were no warning signs anywhere and no protection for those of us working below.

I know that some employers did their best to protect employees, but in many cases it simply was no where good enough.

 My memory is worse than ever before, and perhaps in some way this has helped.

However I have decided to throw myself into doing work promoting projects like the Lewy Body Society etc, to keep my mind occupied.

This may also help me to do some good while I am still able to do so.

I thought life was bad with the Lewy body dementia,  memory problems, and the fear of what may happen in the future, but now its taken a different turn.






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