Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mick McKellar Update -- Day +646

Just a little intrepid...

It was only about 3 inches of new snow, but by golly, I grabbed the old scoop and cleared all three inches out of my driveway this afternoon! I know I looked ridiculous, all covered up and wearing a mask part of the time, stopping to gasp for breath every five minutes or so, and tottering about like an antique automaton — but when a half hour or so had passed, the snow was moved.

It is such an odd sensation, when small movements carry incredible consequences for my oxygen reserve. A life-long asthmatic, I can sense immediately when my oxygen level decreases even slightly. I know the progression from weakness and tingling in my extremities, to an unexplainable ache in my core, to a loss of focus, and finally the encroaching darkness as I begin to lose consciousness.

So when I work or exercise, I push until I begin to feel the loss, then I pull back, slow down, or stop until the tingling and weakness go away. It is a game of brinksmanship with a huge downside, but it is a necessary game to help retain some muscle tone in my major muscles. It's dancing on the brink of an abyss filled with a vacuum — one misstep and I get to try living without air for awhile — or forever.

Silent Fear / Secret Agony

This is nothing more nor less than the silent fear, the secret agony that shreds through the nerves of every child with severe asthma. I know the pain and fear of being smothered or of drowning (from the inside out), because I have walked that road thousands of times in my life.

A Bit of History...

In the sixth grade, we were outside for calisthenics and exercise. A new teacher started us running the circuit of the school yard. I stopped and told him I was asthmatic and could not run with the others, especially in the fall when my hay fever was bad. In 1961, there were no medications for asthma one could take as a preventative. He didn't believe me and ordered me to run.

So run I did. To my credit, I made three full circuits of the yard before I passed out, plowing face-first into the dirt — scattering dust and gravel all over his highly-polished new shoes. I came to almost immediately — I usually do, because once I pass out, the muscles in the chest relax and the weight of the atmosphere forces air into my lungs.

Now, I work with 27% lung capacity and the remnants left by damage done by bronchial asthma over nearly 58 years of coughing, choking, and gasping for air. Amazing how life comes full circle, and it is the small things you remember.

Other than the lung thingy, I seem to be doing quite well. I remain thankful for your prayers and good thoughts.

God bless and good night,


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