Archive for April 8th, 2011

Some of you may have noticed my conspicuous silence in the Facebook world. Last  Sunday I succumbed to a one -two punch of COPD and Heart failure. Now normally I can whether one or the other, but having them both come to visit togethe…well it was too much.  The thing is, the double dose of illnesses was unavoidable. There was virtually nothing I could have done to side step this event. 

Spring time in South Texas brings with it tons of allergens.  Oak pollen so thick, everything outside is coated with a coat of the devilish yellow dust. Now I am not normally very sensitive to pollen, but this year is turning out to be an uncommonly high pollen count year. And, as you know, my lungs are not in the best shape.  As the pollen count rose, so too did the level of irritation in my lungs. By last Monday or Tuesday I could sense me hedging closer and closer to a COPD exacerbation. ( flare up)  When Friday came along (last Friday) I could barely breathe. I was using my rescue inhaler every couple of hours. I needed full-time oxygen support. My wife Denise thought I should go to the emergency room. I should have then, but my step-grandson Jake was having his 16th birthday party on Saturday.

The party was very nice. I was glad I went, but during the party I noticed something else. I was losing strength. My stamina had drained away, my lungs weren’t working and I was in my crouching, old man with a cane stance. Yep! I am in heart failure. We left the party.  Denise wanted to take me to the emergency room that evening, but I hedged. No, I would wait it out and see how I felt in the morning.

When Sunday morning came along, I was in full-blown heart failure and full on COPD exacerbation.  The stress from the COPD had been too much for my heart. I can always gauge how sick I am by how long it takes me to get through the E.R.’s triage system and to the back for the help. In this instance, a new world record. Less than 2 minutes. As soon as my smiling, wheezing, grey skinned self presented at check in, they whisked me directly to the help.

Well,  after 5 days of steroids, breathing treatments, and other supportive procedures I was able to leave the hospital. I am still weak. I still have some heart failure symptoms and COPD symptoms, but I am getting better. This episode was closer to disaster than I liked to think., More so than I will discuss with Denise. One major organ failure; no big deal. I can handle it. Two major organs failing…makes life a bit dicier.  For those that have followed this blog, you know, my liver is looming in the background. Slowly, but surely doing bad things. I was lucky this time. The hospital and staff at Brook Army Medical Center are amazing. You guys are the best. They may have very well saved my life. Hard to tell, and way too much drama to contemplate. I wonder though: How many more of these episodes will I be able to endure? Stay tuned and we’ll see!


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