How it all went wrong

This photo reminded me that it was this time of year where everything was turned upside down, inside out and generally mixed up to the point where life has really never been the same again.

13 years ago around this time of year too my breathing, lungs and asthma all changed for the worse and have never recovered. What started off as a dream year living in Canada, ski instructing ended up nothing like I could ever imagined.

Some of it is a blur but essentially I developed an atypical pneumonia which at first I didnt feel to bad with but it soon changed and very quickly I felt really unwell. We were on a trip to Banff when I first got ill and on the bus back to Fernie I had an asthma attack and I had to hospital. This was were the chest X-ray showed the infection and had very uniform Y shapes on it. This is apparently typical in the infection I had. I recovered from the attack and started on antibiotics but didnt feel much better.

It was only about 4 days after when everything went totally downhill. I felt awful, and I was finding breathing such hard work. I was taken to the local hospital in Fernie where they tried to get on top of things for me but they couldn’t. I don’t clearly remember much after that but I do know I was packed into a warmed sleeping bag type thing and was flown across the mountains by helicopter to the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary. I reckon the helicopter ride would have been awesome had it not been such bad circumstances.

My stay in the hospital in Calgary I don’t really remember. The main thing I do remember was the nurses and Drs calling my dad while I was in resus room and his voice coming over on the speaker so it was like surround sound when he spoke. My poor dad had to go shopping for clothes for me as I didnt have anything other than the clothes on my back. The rest of them were still in my room in Fernie. It took a wee while before I was better and able to fly home marking the end of my time in Canada.

Arriving home I thought I would just need a week or so to recover and I would be all good but no. My asthma control and breathing has never been the same. Since then it has been a never ending cycle of hospital admissions, attacks, different medications and trying anything to get control again.

I often wonder the what if’s. What if I didnt take a year and go to Canada before I started university, would none of this happen and my breathing would have remained as it was. What if I went to a different country to ski. What if I hadn’t got ill what would I be doing with my life now. I do wonder and will sometimes regret the choice I made to go out to Canada but then it could have easily happened anywhere I was. Even at home.

I do long to be able to play sport again, go to the gym, go on holiday without having the worry that this might cause an attack which may result in not only hospital but also intensive care. Its not just the hobbies I long to be able to do. Not being able to play sport etc is something that comes to everyone in time for me it has just happened a bit earlier but the one thing I find so hard to deal with is not being able to work full time, and not even able to do that job properly because of it all.

The main point of this post is that I cant believe that it has been so long since everything changed but in that time nothing has changed or improved. Life has adapted to accommodate my breathing and asthma but it hasn’t got any better in fact it feels like it has just been harder. With each attack it takes longer to get back on my feet and harder.

I really do hate what it has done and days when my asthma is more of an issue it makes everything more prominent and highlights everything it has taken away or prevented me doing. Having said that there have been great moments and experiences because of the asthma.

With each attack getting worse and almost always ending up in ICU or HDU mentally it is harder to deal with. I have never had flashbacks really but recently parts of what happened in Canada has come to the fore and it wasn’t the best experience. Despite not recalling much of it, it still terrifies me and comes to the fore front of my thoughts when Im in hospital. Thankfully during an attack I don’t get the flashbacks of Canada but just having an attack is terrifying enough that I’m pretty sure if I did get them it would be way too much to cope with.

13 years on and I am determined to keep trying my best to live life to the fullest and do what I can when I can and not think that attacks, hospital admissions are the end of everything but discharge is another battle won.

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