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Living With Severe Asthma in the Midst of Covid-19


Photo by CDC from Pexels

Source: Photo by CDC from Pexels

Last week I wrote “Lessons from a Week In The Hospital.” My asthma had gotten so severe, high doses of steroids were not working and my pulmonologist admitted me for IV steroids. I was in the hospital for a week, which is longer than I had expected.

I’ve been out of the hospital for about 10 days I’m and doing okay. I have to stop and rest when I walk up a hill and I’m not tapering off the oral steroids as quickly as I would have liked, but those are relatively minor issues right now. I’m still using my rescue inhaler around two times a day, which is not ideal.

It’s the emotional fallout that is equally if not more terrifying as Covid-19 cases with both the Delta and Omicron variants multiply rapidly. I’m hearing about breakthrough infections and about how rapidly the number of Covid cases is increasing and it’s frightening. And since I’ve been on steroids for over two months, my immune system is suppressed. Yet, I can’t imagine going back a year to those days where the country was in lockdown, businesses were shuttered, and we were all so isolated.

Back then, I fell into a mild depression, and my psychiatrist, Dr. Lev, and I tried to adjust my meds, but whatever she gave me had no effect and we discontinued it after a month. In February, after the New Year, was my 60th birthday, for which I hosted a virtual cupcake party, sending cupcakes all over the country to dear friends and family.

© Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Source: © Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

My “guests” could choose from flavors such as carrot and red velvet to tiramisu, strawberry daiquiri, and cognac-infused. At the appointed hour on my birthday, we all met on Zoom, they sang “Happy Birthday” and we ate our cupcakes. Just being reminded of all my dear friends and family was enough to lift me out of what remained of my depression.

I know it will not be good for me to return to that emotional place again in addition to the physical challenges I’m facing. My pulmonologist is recommending I go for an evaluation for a procedure called a bronchial thermoplasty which, according to The Cleveland Clinic, is “a treatment that uses heat to shrink smooth muscle in the lungs. It keeps muscles from tightening and causing an asthma attack.” I need to focus on putting my energy toward healing from this procedure, which is done in three parts, and for that, I need to live my life as “normally” as I can, which means working, writing, seeing friends and family safely, and of course, being a dog mom to Shelby.

I will proceed with an optimistic caution and live my life. But I refuse to cower.

© Andrea Rosenhaft

Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft

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