Despite my week-long absence I'm still here and still at home. My lungs are still pretty grumpy and my Peak Flow (a measure of how much air you can breathe out) is making a steady bid for the floor. This evening it read 150 after my nebuliser (I didn't bother before hand, because I knew it was rubbish, and I decided that saving my breath for breathing was a better plan than puffing it out into a tube that was going to indicate what I already knew). It should be around 450, though I haven't seen this for years, and these days my very best is 350, though I more usually live around 250 on an average kind of day. This link shows you a tiny graph showing normal Peak Flow (PEF) values if you're interested, and you can download a bigger version if you're really interested. You can also get a predicted PEF for your gender, height and age if you click on the long red button immediately underneath the graph if you want to. Anyway, if you can see this tiny graph you might be able to work out that the chart actually starts at 300, so I generally live at values off the bottom of the scale of the chart, although the peak flow meters themselves start at 60. This may seem an extremely low point to start, given the predicted normal values, and it is, but when I'm seriously ill I often don't manage to reach 60 on the PEF meter. This is not a situation I recommend being in at any time in your life, and it certainly doesn't feel good. Don't try it if you can help it.
So yes, I'm surviving and I'm still at home, though I am struggling somewhat and I'm still waiting for 'the big splat' to arrive, which I'm sure it will at some point. However, I have an essay to get done for my OU course by next Thursday so I'm damned if I'm going to land in hospital before that's out of the way, because I'm determined to do my best on this course, even if it is affected by rubbish lungs. It's actually pretty difficult to concentrate on poetry analysis (especially when you don't really know what you're doing and the course material is of little help with it) when you can't breathe all that well, and my tutor has given me an extension if I need it, but I'm hoping not to use it.
I had a hard day yesterday with not feeling terribly well. There was the on-going battle in the breathing department, but I was also incredibly tired. I didn't manage to get myself out of bed until about 1pm, and then I fell asleep on the sofa at around 4pm for 3 - 31/2 hours. When I woke up from that I appeared to be having some kind of low-grade allergic reaction to something, and found that my face was all swollen, blotchy and very itchy. I have no idea what the allergen was, and this is a bit of a worry, though I suppose it's just an indicator that my whole system is on high alert at the moment. Well the reaction didn't go down, even after plenty of anti-histamines, but my breathing wasn't in any more trouble and there was no swelling in my mouth, so no need to use my EpiPen. In the end I went to bed and hoped that it would've settled by the morning. It hadn't, but after an increase in my steroid medication and another whopping great dose of anti-histamines later, it did eventually go down by this afternoon. All very mysterious, and as I say, a little concerning as I have no clue what it was a reaction to ... unless there's been a sudden increase in pollen and I'm being hyper-responsive to it ... hmmm.
So that's what I've been up to recently, which amounts to not very much. At least I'm still at home for now though.