Lung Disease

person with lung disease on oxygen

Lung disease is not always caused by our own bad habits. There are people with Cystic Fibrosis, COPD, Lung Cancer, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Asthma, and Mesothelioma. In fact, according to the Lung Foundation there are over thirty types of lung disease.

https://lungfoundation.com.au/

Whether or not a person has smoked, he or she can suffer one of the many lung diseases.

The Stigma of Lung Disease

Over 40% of people with lung disease feel there is a stigma from the view that lung diseases are self-inflicted and smoking-related.
Not always true.

However, from my experience using oxygen, I would have to agree with that statement. There is a stigma. The reaction of some people when I am out, usually in a shopping centre, is varied. Some people are embarrassed and look away, a few smile, while others clearly are repelled by the sight of me using oxygen.

For most people with lung disease, before oxygen therapy, breathing could be likened to trying to breathe through a plastic bag.

lung disease struggle to breathe

Oxygen and Lung Disease

Not everyone who has lung disease uses oxygen. The criteria for being prescribed oxygen is much more than breathlessness. There is a series of tests which are done to assess whether or not oxygen will help. If it will help, a respiratory physician will determine how often and how much oxygen will need to be used.

I need oxygen 24/7, and this is described as palliative care. However, on ‘good’ days I have a reasonably normal life. Getting used to trailing around an 18 metre (59 foot) tube was a challenge and is quite a ‘trip hazard.’ But it is one that can be met.

(I share my experiences, the challenges and solutions in Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube.)

oxygen tubing

Use it or lose it

This common term really is true when it comes to living with chronic illness whether it be lung disease, back problems, or many of the debilitating conditions that make us reluctant to move.

It is not easy to make the effort some days. Especially the days when it is a struggle to breathe, or when the herniated disks make walking difficult.

Attitude

This is the key – the attitude of the person with lung disease, and those who care for them. It is natural to grieve the loss of ability, but it is not wise to become bogged down in self-pity. And it happens. However, life with lung disease, whether on oxygen or not, can be quite fulfilling. Some days it is more of a challenge than others. But rise to the challenge. And if you are someone who supports/cares for someone with one of the many varieties of this disease, recognize the difficulties, don’t gloss over them. Then encourage your ‘someone’ to become involved… join a club, write an article, or take up a hobby. And be aware, there will be many days when going outside the home is not possible.

However, it is true… Life with lung disease can be fulfilling.

Susan

About the writer:

Susan M B Preston is the author of several award-winning Biblical fiction novels.

The Apostle John Series

Hold the Faith (1st in the series. Award winner)

Grow in Grace (2nd in the series)

Light of Truth (3rd in the series. Award winner)

Keep the Flame (4th in the series. Double Award winner)

Hell Shall Not Prevail (5th in the Apostle John Series.)

Novellas:

After the Thirty Days

No Evil Shall Befall You

Clash of Faiths

Shadow of the Past (coming soon.)

Non- Fiction:

Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube.

How often do our plans go wrong?

Plans – how often do our plans go wrong!

The poet, Robbie Burns expressed it in one of his verses. “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley…” ‘
(From: To A Mouse on turning her nest up with a plough.)

Translation: gang aft agley…  basically = go wrong.

Many times in the last few months I have muttered that sentence ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…

So many of my carefully thought out plans either went wrong, or did not work out as planned.

Still, some of these plans that ‘gang aft agley’ work out for the best.

I had to make an appointment for a minor procedure and work out how long my doctor appointment, at another location would take. The person who would do the procedure was not working the day I rang to make the appointment, so the receptionist said the therapist would ring me the next day.

Well, the next day came and went – with no phone call. Yes, it was a bit of an annoyance, but my appointment was booked… and I received a confirmation of the appointment from someone else.

The day came… and off I went early in the morning – doctor appointment first, then fill in the time until driving to the appointment for the procedure.

By now you might be wondering what this has to do with mice and plans.

The plans were already made…

... here come the mice’s ‘gang aft agley’ – maybe.

My doctor was not running as late as he often is. So, I had allowed more time than needed.

There is only so much time can be spent in a small shopping centre, although I did have a cup of coffee and a birthday muffin from the franchise and accepted an invitation to sit with another lady on her own. We had a pleasant conversation.

Then, off I went driving into unknown territory. Anyone who knows me also knows that I am not ‘good’ at finding new places. Yes, I had looked it up on the map… but as with a trip earlier this year, found it did not give as much detail as I needed. Forget GPS! That is another story. Suffice it to say it took us to a sand patch – the freeway extension.

So, I was early for my appointment. The therapist came and apologized she had not rung me the previous day and she needed to go over some ‘things’ with me before proceeding.

Plans about to go ‘agley’?

Questions about medication. ..
Oops.

Then, “Are you on any blood-thinning medication?”

“Yes, two different ones.”

“Oh, that is a contra-indication for the treatment.”

I was there… so we had a ‘talk’ about my blood thinners and possible complications. She decided she would start and see if I bled excessively.

Off she went, and I said a prayer.

She started the procedure and  to her surprise, I did not bleed too much.

Plans going wrong that work out for the best...

If the therapist had been able to contact me the day before, I would have been told not to come because of the blood thinning medications.

As it was, it worked out well.

However, it was a long day, and I was exhausted by the time I came home. (It is hard work lying on a ‘treatment table’ for three hours!) LOL

At home, aching hips, aching feet, worn out from a 5 am start I discovered I had left the vegetables at the supermarket checkout.

I rang them, I was too tired to go back… then had a ‘reverse breakfast’ instead of dinner.

The next example is not exactly plans going wrong, but the benefits from them not working out as planned.

First, the memory trigger…

A news item...

It was either on the news, or the current affairs type programme. There was a segment about a man with silicosis.

(Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work.)

The man was on oxygen 24/7 and his life was confined to his small flat. He is not very old, and previously fit… he had been a bricklayer, he was ‘not happy’ about his current life, which he knew would never improve.

What my late husband had was pulmonary fibrosis, a different condition, but both terminal. The man’s life was confined to his lounge and his bedroom.

Memories of a change of plan...

hospital bed, at home
oxygen concentrators at home

Before my late husband’s discharge from hospital, a motorized hospital bed with a ripple mattress was delivered and set up; a pair of oxygen converters were delivered, set up and I was taught how to balance them.

One on its own would not provide enough oxygen for my husband.

A thirty metre oxygen tube was attached so he would be able to move around the unit while receiving oxygen from the linked pair of machines.

A huge oxygen cylinder and some smaller ones were provided as backup in the event of an emergency power outage. They would last him until an ambulance could come and take him to hospital.

I looked at that man on TV, and his surroundings. Yes, I cried for him; yes, I prayed for him. I know what he is facing. I also saw why it was good that my husband had only been at home 2 weeks before going back into hospital then to the hospice.

What I saw on TV could have been my husband’s fate had things gone as planned.

God’s plans are better plans

We might not see it at the time.

 

Just sharing some musings.

Now, excuse me. I have to go see if John is alright on Patmos, and check in and see what is happening with Esther.

(Hell Shall Not Prevail, book 5 in the Apostle John series, if you think I am babbling with that last comment LOL)

God bless, and tread softly,

Susan

P.S.
If you want to see the full poem by Robbie Burns – with links to the meaning of some of the words…

http://www.robertburns.org/works/75.shtml

Then come back, and wander around here. No cameras, no admission fee. Just come and enjoy exploring the site.