30 June 2018

My Breathing Thing

For the last year and a half, I've dealt with what I call a "breathing thing." It started around the time I did the Techtonica crowdfunding campaign, and it's never gone totally away or been explained by the doctors I've seen. Basically, sometimes I can't get a satisfying breath. I try to breathe in deeply, but I can only get a good breath every several breaths or so because of a tightness in my lungs. It's worse when I'm more stressed or tired than usual. As a result, I end up feeling fluttery and sighing a lot.

The lack of a consistently-good breath makes me anxious, which just makes my breathing even worse. Interestingly, almost everything I've looked up about how to calm one's self starts with focusing on breathing slowly and deeply. As you can imagine, that method backfires in this case.

Michael thought it might have to do with my very-messed-up nose, which is lopsided and lumpy and doesn't let in a lot of air after several sinus surgeries that were supposed to help with that and all the sinus infections. He once discovered that pulling up and sideways on the skin next to my nose results in me feeling cool air hitting membranes that don't usually get it (it's a very strange feeling). I talked to an ENT about the problem, and I found out that there's a name for Michael's "method"—it's called "Cottle's Maneuver."

The ENT sent me to some surgeons for consultations, but they all said that unfortunately there wasn't enough bone to work with in my nose and they'd need to use one of my ribs to support reconstruction. I did not like that idea one bit and asked about a cadaveric rib, but I was told it could dissolve! Knowing the weird medical issues I've dealt with, that would probably happen to me. Also, both surgeons told me they weren't sure they could get insurance to justify surgery. Soooooo that's a no-go.

But I don't think the breathing thing is from my messed-up nose, because that would mean that breathing through my mouth would fix the problem, and it doesn't. The doctor checked my air intake with a spirometer and the oxygen levels in my blood, and both were fine, so I just deal with it and try to get some rest before it gets so bad that I can't sleep. Of course, all the stress from running a nonprofit by myself and the reflux I also deal with makes it hard to stay asleep. I often feel like things have to get better at some point, but then when I examine that thought, I realize I'm trying to look at things as fair, and really, it's more likely that more and more physical things will go wrong as I get older.

Anyway, it's so hard to get enough rest, and I'm not really sure why I'm sharing this, so off I go.

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