Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Frenemies - Me and the Inhaler.

Frenemies. Not really a word (that I know of) but such an accurate way to describe the way I feel about a particular piece of plastic that houses medicated air. Or something like that. I don't know why I always feel at odds with my inhaler. It's supposed to make me better. I should like the sweet release of breathing every time I inhale it's chemical mixture. But I don't. I feel like it is the ball and chain that holds me down and keeps me from flying free.

I am far more likely to blame my shortness of breath on stress, than say "you know what, I should take a puff of my inhaler". I get annoyed that I have to constantly fix this thing that is broken, and I don't know why it breaks. But I know what the doctor will say when I visit next time, the conversation will go something like this:

Me: "I am still feeling short of breath all the time"
Doc: "Are you taking your inhaler when you feel like this?"
Me: "No"
Doc: "So start taking your inhaler more and I'll see you in a few months"

So, in the middle of the afternoon, at a time when the most physical activity I get is walking to the kitchen and then walking to use the bathroom, I take my inhaler. Not so oddly enough I start to feel better after about ten minutes. But part of me still wonders if it's all in my mind.

Despite the afternoons troubles I force myself to go out on a run. It's been eight days since I have done any legit form of exercise and my body is begging for a run. Ok maybe my body was happy, but my body sure needs it and my mind is on board with the idea so I just go for it. Two more puffs of the inhaler before I start out.

If feeling short of breath at my desk is frustrating, than feeling short of breath while running is death. I want to scream, I want to cry, I actually feel my self wanting to punch a tree (a tree? yes, for some reason that is the exact thought that popped into my mind). Not even two miles into my run I feel that itty bitty tightness at the very end of my breath. It taunts me, and I am forced to slow down until I feel a full breath of air fill my lungs. Of course this isn't nearly close to an asthma attack, it's almost worse. It's nagging at me, gnawing at my patience ready to bite hard just when my legs start to get warmed up and ready for speed. How can you stay calm when your legs have so much fight left in them and your lungs say no? I know I shouldn't get upset. I know that being frustrated and anxious only makes things worse, and the only way to get better is to calm down and slow down. Watching people pass me doesn't help my situation I only feel like people are judging my slowness. I wonder why me, why now, why after so many years of running did this have to get thrown at me.

And then I force myself to turn my negative thoughts upside down. How can I honestly feel sorry for myself while running. There are so many people in the world who would kill to be able to do what I am doing, just getting out and being active. So maybe I have limits sometimes, or maybe I have an off day every now and then and need to slow down. But if I'm not going to be diligent and take the meds the doctor tells me to take I have no reason to be complaining or feeling sorry for myself. Before I knew it I was relaxed, and enjoying my run once again. The skies above reflected my change of mood as the dark menacing thunder clouds opened up to rays of early evening sunshine. Reminding me that there's always a calm after the storm if you can just hold on and get through.

xx Sara

1 comment:

Denise said...

i think of that, too...that i'm doing something that others would die to do. gotta keep it all in perspective.