An area in which I have yet to write about is the chronic pain side of my Severe Asthma. I want to start sharing one of the biggest battles I am going through with my asthma and one which we have very few answers about. However, before I get on to that mess, I want to share my experiences with pleurisy. I am sure that it is a condition that many with asthma may have experienced due to the influx of chest infections that we suffer with but again, it is very rarely talked about.
Pleurisy is when the layers that cover your lungs become inflamed and irritated. This causes an extremely painful stabbing pain every single time that you take a breath. It can also lead to a build up of fluid which can cause breathing difficulties and would need to be drained. Usually, pleurisy would occur after a chest infection like pneumonia. There is also little to be done to help it – ibuprofen may help and antibiotics if it is bacterial. All of symptoms and cures do not bode well for asthmatics!
What does it feel like then? Well imagine having someone stab you every time you breathe. The knife is incredibly sharp – so sharp that you wish you didn’t have to breathe. Breath-holding seems like the only way to prevent the blinding agony you have to endure. I can handle a fair bit of pain now but hands down, pleurisy is possibly one of the most painful experiences I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I think that it is one of those conditions that when you have had it once, you know immediately when you have it again. It is completely different to any muscular pain you may get from coughing to much or moving in the wrong way.
So imagine this: you have had pneumonia or another severe chest infection. You are exhausted because it has led to a severe attack so you are already sore and weak. The main bulk of it all has been dealt with and you are meant to be recovering. Then, on top of trying to keep your asthma on an even keel, you get a blinding pain every single time you breath. So every time you need to take your inhalers, it is so unbelievably painful! Unfortunately, there is little they can do to help it and it usually settles on its own which means you have nothing else to do but lie in bed, dealing with the pain which means more time off work and more time dealing with a dodgy chest. It is a wonder how we get through all of this sometimes?!
I am currently suffering yet another bout but managing with copious amounts of pain medication and antibiotics. I often wonder how I carry on going with it but I guess after a year of being in pain, it just becomes normality. Yes – there are moments when I have to stop just because the pain literally takes my breath away (pun intended) but I refuse to let it get in the way again. If it means I get home and go straight to bed, so be it. It is not a perfect way of living but it is my life at the moment and I cannot change it. Pleurisy is a pain in the arse but it will not stop me living my life – I have decided that!
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