48 hours out of the joint and the prednisone withdrawal process is in full swing.
Instead of starting my day at 6:30 am , it now starts at 3:30 am. This sleepless pattern usually lasts a week or two depending on the steroid dosage at the time of discharge from the hospital.
This is the part of the game where I can’t get my brain to turn off. Its usually the time when I start reflecting back on the circumstances which put me in the hospital in the first place. I find myself constantly playing back the sequence of events that transpired in the hospital and then trying to make sense of things that were said between physician and patient (I’m the patient). I distinctly remember a couple of the physicians telling me that I might be suffering from depression and perhaps a visit to a shrink might help …WOW you think so? If you were gasping for every breath, you’d probably be a little depressed too. I’m not sure how you can treat clinical suffocation with psychoanalysis. I guess you can dull the sensation with drugs to allow for a more gentle, less anxious , type of suffocation. This is another one I get all the time… ” Why did you let your asthma get so out of hand? “. Its comments like these (warranted or not) , that keeps my mind reeling.
I always seem to blame myself for being hospitalized. What was it about this particular asthma attack that made it worthy of a hospital stay? Should I have waited a little longer before going in? Did I wait too long to go in? Should I have started on the prednisone a day earlier? Should I have toughed it out and not gone in at all? What could I have done to prevent this from happening? Why am I even feeling guilty about this?
This is the crazy stuff that always fills my head in the first few days following a hospital discharge. I just want to turn the switch off and forget it.
The fact is, It’s not my fault that I have asthma. There is no rational reason for me to feel guilty about being sick. I do everything I can to prevent my condition from worsening to the point where I need hospital care. The fact that anxiety plays a role in the severity of my attacks , is a given. Big deal!, Considering how damaged my lungs are, I think I handle stress appropriately and function remarkably well– Its amazing that I’m not hospitalized more often!
There are the mild to moderately severe stable asthmatics that never spend a day in the hospital and then there are the “hardcores”, like myself, who are forced to spent a good portion of their lives in one. That’s just the way it is and I’m not going to blame myself anymore.
Too bad its taken me 51 years to figure it out.
After going through ” Day 2″ , 80+ times during my life, I’ve come to the realization that this constant self -questioning of whether I’m to blame for my own illness , is just part of the steroid withdrawal process–my brain chemistry is all messed up. Given the fact that I spent 4 days inhaling heart pounding drugs non-stop, consuming massive amounts of potent steroids and feeling like I just ran 10 marathons back to back without a break, I think I’m probably just suffering from a bout of extreme mental and physical fatigue . As these chemicals gradually leave my body, I will start to stabilize and this whole ordeal will soon be completely forgotten.
Tomorrow, if I’m breathing OK, I will take my first post hospitalization walk. I will attempt to walk 1.5 miles and try to gauge how my body is likely react to an expedited re-training plan. The San Francisco Marathon is only 2 months away.