Tag Archives: learn

Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Three

With a blocked off throat preventing me from drawing in air, it produced a sound like a flock of honking geese.  My eyes bulged and my arms flapped but only the tiniest bit of air came in.

Lasting several seconds but feeling like minutes, my throat relaxed and I sucked in a roomful of breath. I was stunned but other than my raw throat I felt fine, so I let the moment pass.

It was a warm afternoon, hubby came home from work, our daughter dropped by for a quick visit and I casually mentioned that if I happened to choke again I’d like to be taken to the Emergency Department of our local hospital.

Several hours later I coughed which tore at my raging sore throat and again, something closed off and would not let air in. I opened my mouth and tried to suck in but only produced the same honk.  Mysteriously as it began, it stopped and my breathing returned.

At the hospital, after the routine of discussion, waiting and telling the same story several times with a voice that only squeaked out sounds I was settled but sitting, into a bed.  I’d had my temperature taken but because I wasn’t ill, I had no fever. We waited.

While studying me, the attending nurse says, “Why are you talking like that,” as she stands nearby  and observes me with her notepad, writing who knows what.

“Pardon me,” I say as I look up at her. She repeats her question and I whisper-squeak while I push out the words, “Because I have no voice.”

Really.  Did she suspect that perhaps I’d pop into the emergency  ward with a wild story and fake laryngitis just to get some weird connection with nurses and doctors?  I’d told my story – I believed it was a reaction to a prescription nasal spray I’d been given two days previous.  Within the first two hours my throat became raw and as time passed, it dried out, pain increased, a dry cough appeared and things were not getting better.

Strange yes, as I looked perfectly fine.  I was scared and there for help, not disbelief.

It wasn’t long before I had the place hopping as the entertainment began with a cough, gasp, honk and then honk some more while I tried to breathe.  Staff stared at me, while calling for more staff to come and stare at me. Now I had their attention. This was real.

A doctor looked at me, a call went somewhere to find an ENT (ears/nose/throat) specialist, the staff chattered and  I heard a call go out to get Respiratory there and it seemed that curiosity levels rose all around.

When my throat relaxed and was again able to suck invisible life giving air into my lungs the curtained off area became quiet as the nurse stuck a needle in my left arm taping it off, “just in case,” they had to give something to open my airways.

On the next round of bug eyed, chest heaving attempts to breathe and many seconds later take large gasps in as the throat once again opened my nurse appears on the left. Medication is gently attached to the line leading to my taped up hand and freely flows into me.

From the right a mask is placed over my mouth, “a Nebulizer, to help you breathe” I was told and my blood pressure taken several times.

A respiratory person arrived and stood nearby on my left, chatting softly to me, yet I don’t recall what he said.

On the next round of cough, choke, no breath, the attending doctor hands my hubby his phone to video me so he can show the ENT exactly what I look like.  Hubby stands at the end of the bed helpless to do anything but do as he is told.

Nice.  Somewhere out there my face, gasping and gagging and flapping arms are likely going to be used as an emergency room teaching tool.

This time the lack of air is longer and little dancing tingles creep their way up my fingers to my shoulders and I feel my body begin to sag like a lumpy pillow.  My head begins to buzz  just as my throat releases the stranglehold and I flop back against the bed, while the darkness behind my eyes returns to light.

By now a couple of hours have passed, the staff have other patients to attend to and hubby’s job is to stand on guard at the door ready to alert them if I begin the routine again. Really, it is so loud I’m quite sure it would not be missed.

The ENT arrives, also stands in the doorway, looks at the phone video display of my performance, looks at me sitting there in my blue gown, with wires and mask and the machines hissing and popping.

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I immediately feel embarrassed as I listen to him chat with the staff about what this looks like and I hear the words – Laryngospasm and  vocal cord dysfunction which means the cords close.

Then he mentions it can be caused by stress or acid reflux.  These are all new terms to me while I process this information – really – I’m choking because I have some stress or acid. Maybe my imagination has made up the whole thing.

I’m sure more professional examination happened but this is my memory of what took place next.  The ENT sat down on the right side of the bed and asks me if I was stressed.

“Like what, husband- family-life?” I answer rather astonished at the question as  I then let him know this situation was certainly causing some anxiety.

It was mere moments before a nurse was at my left side ordering me to open my mouth and popped a tiny pill under my tongue to relax me or keep me calm or…zone me out.

ENT doc chatters at me as  he slips a slick little tube in my nose and slides it down into my throat. That did not feel especially good.  He tells me he is going to hit the vocal cords to make them close.  Honestly, if my brain had been functioning on full capacity instead of being oxygen deprived I’d have jumped and run.

He makes me talk while he bangs with his little weapon on the inner parts of my throat. Not only is he bashing at me he irritatingly sits too close to me, in my space one could say.

I wasn’t liking him  too much.

Then I feel the lid of breath shut off.  ENT doc sits calmly telling me to breathe and I just want him to go away.

Instead, he tells me to breathe through my nose, tells me I can do it.  I can’t and grunt this information to him.  I’m told if I can speak I can breathe.  Really!  I’d like him to try it.

A straw magically appears and he tells me to suck it – to find the airspace and draw it in.

I try.  Then toss the straw.  After that attempt fails we return to the nose conversation.

I notice people and activity to my left and I think a hole is about to be stabbed into my throat to help me.  I hear them talking but not what is said because my honking is so loud.

I can feel the tears of desperation, frustration and embarrassment run down my face.

My brain squeezes tight as  it tries to find a pathway to my nose to make it find air.

It is a battle of wills, the ENT doc’s determination for me to listen to his instruction and use my nose to breathe and my will to breathe any way I can.

My brain finally grasps the instruction and my nose does what my closed vocal cord could not do, air slid into my nostrils, seeped down the back of my throat and into my lungs.

My vocal cords opened and I learned a new life tool and it is one I’ll likely never forget.

I was so mad at him I was speechless.  I was so grateful to him I was speechless.

Time passed and that tiny pill settled its soft glow of relaxation and sleepiness over my body as I was wheeled off to ICU (intensive care unit) for a nights rest.

 

 

 

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One Step at a Time

Laying down the basics and keeping things simple. That is an easy model for me to begin my painting and then allow what transpires to take me where it wants to go.  I follow.

This process is helpful because when things go awry and get complicated my creativity is blocked and I believe I am stuck and unable to move forward.

I find it’s rather like life, mine anyway.   I like to lead a  simple life but at times it can get complicated or I  can run ahead of myself. It’s then I need to get back to the process of step by step even if I have to create it.

One of the items I brought along in my paint pack on my Arizona holiday were several strips of colored rice paper.

An idea I’ve used before and decided to try again thanks to an artist who taught me is to apply various products to the painting like string, sand, leaves, buttons, lace, etc – anything to give a lift, depth, dimension and excitement.

In a couple of my past favorite paintings I did use sand and bits of bark for logs for a particular beach scene – I loved those finished pieces and so did others because they bought them.

It’s rather an honor knowing someone liked the process I went through, learning, being challenged, growing, changing then ending up with a satisfactory and pleasing finish.

It’s like this in friendships, love, work and play, giving and serving others.  If I remain open to be taught, to grow, change and flex  perhaps in the end of days I’d like to think it will be a satisfactory and pleasing finish.

In this part of the picture below I began sticking wet rice paper onto the canvas and scrunching it to shape the hills and mountains in the background and rocks in the foreground.  In letting the shapes direct me I followed the shoreline with my fingers.

In some spots I had to pick off paper and in others add more to make the dips, shapes and jagged rocks appear or disappear.

Reflection keeps popping up as I compare the shaping of my life to the shaping of a painting.

How it will be in the end is yet to be discovered.

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End and Begin

Here it is again, the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. Last year I chose a word to live by rather than making a list of New Year’s resolutions which I may or may not have followed.  I came across ONEWORD THREE SIXTY FIVE and adopted the idea.

Last years Word of the Year was Surrender and here I’ve hit yet another learning curve in my older age of navigating being a writer, connecting with social media, and trying to stay current with developing computer skills. Surrender to the fact that I’ve much to learn, must ask for help, must yield to instruction, follow instructions, then retain all that information to repeat actions in the future.

In order to finish what I originally set out to do: write about my word for this year, I had to teach myself a new skill which was to find the title of a previous post and insert it correctly with a title and not a long list of… what is the computer word for a bunch of letters, symbols and ….ahh…yes ‘code’?  This was definitely a ‘learn as I go’ post.

I read Claire De Boer’s  article on her chosen word and I borrowed her plan to think, pray and toss around ideas for what my word would be…several options presented themselves until it became clear. It wasn’t until after I’d chosen my word, gone back and read Claire’s article again that I spotted my word right there in the middle of her writing. Thank you Claire. It was confirmation somehow that I was on the right path.

I am currently reading The Inheritance by John and Lyza Clarke who share several of their sailing excursions along with spiritual truths of travelers from the Old Testament. In one particular chapter John was telling about the time he and his son were on the boat together, stuck at dock waiting for some stormy weather of wind and rain to end so they could continue sailing.

John says, “Two things are especially important to remember on a sailboat voyage. One is you need a destination to head for and the second is you have to keep moving. If you stay in one place too long, its charm diminishes and restlessness sets in. A destination gives you a direction, a distance to cover, and a sense of accomplishment. When our children were young, we headed for Desolation Sound and back to Seattle on our summer vacations. They anticipate the special places along the way, like good old Sydney Spit, Hawkins Island, Bucaneer Bay, or Harmony Island, but we always hauled anchor and moved on to the next spot before they grew tired of each place’s uniqueness. By the end of the trip we looked forward to the routines of home and were ready to get off the boat. But then we repeated the same cycle the next year and the kids never tired of it as long as we kept moving.”

I was prompted to read that paragraph several times and then continued to read, “Life, too, needs a purpose or destination to keep progressing toward. We are meant to keep moving toward the inheritance through the lessons God has prepared, to a place where the intimate knowledge of God and a mature character are the goals.”  While John and his son were stuck waiting out the storm they explored the beaches and kept moving and as John says, “talking about life.”

It was during those repeated readings the word FORWARD came to settle upon me as the focus for upcoming year. FORWARD is significant for me because it clarifies how to set goals and ask myself if any particular thought, book, activity or habit will move me or not.

Over my life journey I’ve needed to look back a lot, to sort out where I came from, heal from wounds and discover who I was – a tendency though is to emotionally live back there if I’m not careful. To let go and look FORWARD is wise and good inner advice for me to follow. As I approach my 60th birthday – oh right, that happened in October…as my husband Ross approaches his 60th birthday in February and we anticipate our 35th wedding anniversary in March we’ve planned a fun holiday for ourselves.

A few ideas of putting my word into daily life plan means I can prioritize my writing activities and decide whether they are moving me in the direction I want or need.  I may even dig my paint brushes out of confinement and get creativity going again.

I can focus on the big dream I have of one day walking the Pacific Coast Trail which runs from the Canada/US border all the way to the Mexico border which I’ve loosely read about. In looking toward that walking trek I can make choices about how much I will walk this month, this week, this day. I can choose how I treat my feet, my health, my attitudes about fitness and how I will use my mind while out walking.

I enjoy my family and friends, the game of Pickleball, the recovery/discipleship ministry called Freedom Session and I anticipate what will come in this next year as I keep my word in front of me as a guide. I want to step in the direction of my destination as it unfolds before me.

Oh, and after several hours of experimenting with how to ‘simply’ insert a link from another website I accidentally did it right one time and after that…well, I managed, with help to do it again.   I am moving FORWARD.

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Skill Development

       Wandering through the programs on my computer I discovered this word,  “painting” and from there I created my first doodle. Of course it makes no sense, has no rhyme or reason but it is a collection of lines and colors, dots and strokes mixed with a few cartoon circles.   I am glad I wandered and visited  unknown places on my still new laptop.  Not sure how I got there, not sure how I’ll find my way back but in the meantime it was material for a new post on the learning curves and breaking the fear factor of stepping into new territory and just trying something different.Untitled (3)
Poster Doodle

 

 

 

 

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