We don’t like to think how serious respiratory conditions can be, but at the end of the day we need to breathe to live. You get complications with breathing and it can land you in hospital or worse. It doesn’t have to be a quick and sudden deterioration, sometimes it can be slow deterioration… When people think asthma attack they think it’s a sudden occurrence, when actually just as many people die from attacks that have built up over time and got worse over hours or days.
Yesterday I attended a market research interview about the effects of pollution on those with respiratory and heart conditions especially. The UK has now got to such high levels of pollution and not just the levels that we are breathing in but the types of chemicals that are burning in the air that we are breathing are so dangerous to our health. More and more people are getting respiratory issues, and their already respiratory conditions are deteriorating because of the pollution. I know that for me pollution affects me quite drastically, I can go to the town center where I live which is built up and has high traffic flow and my breathing is instantly a lot worse when i’m there. To think, we are all breathing this in every day. This may be one of the main contributors to why my breathing has been so unstable this year. I mean, yesterday my breathing got so bad in such a short time I thought i’d have to call an ambulance for myself. That was just a half an hour visit to town.
In my market research it had also shown the effect it had on pregnancies and children. I think our pollution issue is getting out of control and if something isn’t done soon, it’s going to cost the government so much money treating all these people with lung conditions and their life expentancy is just going to get shorter and shorter. Right now as we are the pollution levels are expected to reduce life expectancy by around 7 years. That is quite a bit!
My asthma has been so unstable that I have had to have many emergency treatments and visits to hospital. I’ve had to be treated in intensive care and monitored for life support because of how bad my asthma has affected me. I’ve nearly died multiple times because of it and sometimes it’s taken weeks of being so severely ill before i start to improve. The worst being november 2016 when all I did was go outside in the cold for 5 minutes (cold air being a trigger) and it set my airways into spasm. I got my mum to take me to hospital and within 20 mins of being in hospital I was taken to intensive care because my oxygen levels in my blood were so low (hypoxic). The energy it takes out your body when your body is just trying to breathe and pump oxygen round is massive. I couldn’t manage to get out of bed at all for around 2 weeks. I was hooked up to so many wires, machines, and IV’s along with my face mask pumping high amounts of oxygen into me. I was eventually stepped down out of intensive care onto a respiratory ward and was still very weak and very ill. They couldn’t work out why I was making such little improvement and to be honest I felt like giving up. 2 weeks and I had barely idea of my name, where I was, I was so weak and no matter how much oxygen they were giving me my oxygen and breathing was still so bad. I know that repeated asthma attacks can cause scarring in the airways leading to perminant damage and i thought I can’t go on if this is it. Eventually, my doctor decided to send me for a CT scan where he found a blood clot in my lung (Pulmonary Embolsim) which was blocking the blood flow and oygen to part of my lung effectively starving it. Along with multiple stress fractures in my ribs and sternum from coughing. They immediately started treatment and I started to improve.
For me, this was my waking point that i couldn’t just put 80% into managing my asthma… that if i really wanted to get better I had to really put all my energy into it. I didn’t ever want to be that ill again and I would never wish it on anyone!
Right now someone may look at me and have no idea I have a chronic illness, they may not know i have any form of disability, or that I suffer daily with many issues. That is why it’s important to never judge someone. Sometimes chronic illness can be a hidden illness… Tomorrow, my asthma may suddenly flare up and I may end up seriously Ill. I never know. What I do know is I have today, and i just take each day as it comes and do the best that I can.
So everyone who has a chronic illness, I want you to stay strong. Even the worst days may feel like they will never end, but they will. A new day will come and then one day you will look back and realise what you have gone through and achieved. So my love and support to those fellow chronic illness sufferers!