No, seriously. I really, really, like breathing.

So – two trips to the ER. Every test an ER can do. There is nothing at all wrong with me. I’m in*perfect* health. (Okay, that part is good, and I am grateful.) Except for the part where it really hurts to breathe.  I have been aware of and pretty well in control of my breath my whole life. Literally. My mom is a yoga teacher. She taught me how to take slow full complete breaths… probably before she taught me to tie my shoes. Five years of vocal music lessons – I can’t sing a note, but you had better believe I can breathe from the diaphragm.

But now all of a sudden, I have no control over my breath. And I’m not gonna lie, it is freaking me out a little.

A week and a half ago – Saturday, the 19th. I took a Sabbath. No kidding.  I had been busy every weekend for months – photo shoots with Bo, CMA events, weddings,  work days, baby showers, travel to VA for school – always something. And Sundays are a day of worship for me, but they aren’t really a “Sabbath” because of the amount of work that we do to set up and tear down our church. So Saturday I told Bo that I was not doing anything. I literally laid on the couch, surfed the internet, and scratched my dogs all day long.

Apparently that much rest is bad for me.

At one point mid-afternoon I got up to make a sandwich. Somewhere around spreading the almond butter, I noticed that I was a little short of breath. Weird. I’m in pretty good shape, walking to the kitchen doesn’t usually wind me. The rest of part one of my saga is here.

So, by the end of Part 1 I had come to the conclusion that it was allergies, dog hair, dust, maybe mildew from the ducts. Yeah, um … no. That wasn’t it.

We went over every square inch of floor, with the Dyson, four times. Dusted everything that couldn’t run away from us with very good ostrich-feather and microfiber dusters that hold everything, not the kind that just kick the dust up into the air. Brushed everything that  could run away from us. Changed the vent filters, with special attention to installing the super-mega-ultra-allergenic-millionth-of-a-micron gold standard filters. I felt better, some. So, that was all probably a pretty good idea. (It’s definitely all stuff I should do a lot more often, with or without the silly breathing thing.)

But then we went over to our friends’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. My friend is a neat-freak. I’ve never seen dust in her home. And she only had one small, not particularly shed-happy dog (a miniature dachshund.) And I was still periodically noticing, especially when I was standing up or walking, that I was breathing fast and shallow at the very top of my lungs.  And the instinctive response when you notice that you aren’t breathing well is to try to breathe deeper. Which now really seriously hurts. So that’s scary. And when you are scared you breathe faster, and… it all gets in a handbasket and rolls on down from there, unless I get really conscious of the situation really fast and make a very specific, very focused effort to get it under control. Which I can, yay! But only by breathing really unnaturally slowly, from the abdomen only, holding my chest muscles completely still.

And then came Saturday. Beautiful day. Woke up feeling pretty good. (sidebar – I can breathe just fine when I’m lying down. Mostly okay when I’m sitting. It gets bad when I stand, and really bad when I walk more than a block.) Got on the motorcycle (backseating on Steve, Krea is still… becoming beautiful) and rode to CMA bible study down in Morehead City. Spent a nice two hours with great friends there, and then several of us planned to ride to New Bern to the Harley dealership to help out with a children’s home fundraiser ride that they were doing.

If you aren’t familiar with my neck of the woods, the ride from Morehead City to New Bern is maybe 40 miles, mostly open state highway, passing through a couple small towns but  mostly open road. Not much traffic, not much exhaust, certainly no dog hair or mildew, very little dust. And I could not get my breathing under control. All the fresh clean air anyone could want, and I’m hyperventilating and feeling like I have my head in a plastic bag. Seriously?

So we went to the event, I sat down and kept trying. Unfortunately the only bench available to sit on was right next to the ashtray. So I was breathing secondhand smoke and trying to get my breathing under control. It didn’t help that I was pretty upset, because I really wanted to be at this particular event, held in honor of a wonderful dear man who recently passed away. Bad conditions for breath control.

So, I admitted defeat and told Bo that I needed to go back to the ER.

I won’t go into detail. Nobody wants that. Short version (no, Chan, too late for that) after two chest X-rays, a contrast C-T scan, heart monitor, Pulse Ox, extensive conversation with the respiratory therapist (who is also my Thanksgiving hostess friend), and even more blood tests …. I am really. Really. Healthy. Except it hurts to breathe.

From here – I have a consult with a cardiologist, then back to my primary doc. Then, maybe (I really really hope not) a pulmonologist, an allergist, an endocrinologist… apparently your thyroid has a lot to do with how you breathe. Who knew?

And after all of that, it is probably an odd presentation of a panic or anxiety attack. By odd, I mean – my stress level is lower now than it has ever been in my adult life – and the worst of these attacks happened when I was totally chilled out or having fun. And I’ve never had panic or anxiety attacks before, even when I was under serious stress. But still – right now that is what seems likely.

I think I have a new ninja talent. I can make medical professionals scratch their heads and shrug.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: