St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Heavy Breathing

One of the muscle problems with myasthenia gravis can be breathing.  As the National Institutes of Health MG info says

"Crisis situations, where muscle weakness involves the breathing muscles, may occur without warning with under- or overuse of medications. These attacks seldom last longer than a few weeks. Hospitalization and assistance with breathing may be required during these attacks. Often procedure called plasmapheresis is used to help end the crisis. In this technique, the clear part of the blood (plasma) containing the antibodies is removed from the body and replaced with donated, antibody-free plasma or with other fluids."

Well, I am sitting here, on my Friday night out, in St. Mary's hospital after some breathing problems that annoyed us all enough to think I needed to be watched for a time.  I had a breathing test earlier in the day and it showed such poor results that I couldn't even do my "heavy breathing" phone calls to random phone numbers anymore.

Things seem to have stabilized this evening.  The doctors thought that it may be the "crash" that some MG patients get a week or so after starting prednisone (to knock down the immune system which has gone crazy producing antibodies that attack your own nerve-muscle interface).

So I am to be poked, prodded, tested, including lights in the eyes, toe and finger wiggles, breathing into a pressure machine every four hours round the clock until I either escape, croak, or "the symptoms resolve."   It may be a few sessions on the blood cleaner machine too, hopefully not, as that will force me to stay near the hospital rather than feeding the mosquitoes along the St. Croix.

I had a call from my good friend Ed from Cushing.  Three years ago or so he went through a lot of radiation and chemo for cancer.  He says his local doc says it appears to be coming back, and he has to had down to the Twin Cities for more tests and possibly treatments again.  He is less than a year away from starting Medicare, so is hopeful that it will be around for him too, as it has been for me in my treatments (I have Mayo as supplemental and Medicare as primary, so between the two, get by OK).

It has been a dreary 2012 for blogging--all hovering over my rapid decline at age 65!.  My knee, sleep apnea, and now the MG, has been focused on my own mortality.  When the Doctor asked me today did I want a DNR, DNI,  or whatever if my heart stops, I told her and son Scot, that I valued my mental functioning most, and if that was gone, I didn't care much about anything else.  I have too many books left to write!

And, after putting a new battery in Margo's car because the starter was hesitating at startup and sending her off to West Bend to visit her parents for her father's birthday, Father's day, and their 66th anniversary, it turned out that the starter was bad and half way there it didn't start.  Having had these problems before, she waited at the rest stop until it had cooled down for 1/2 hour, and then it started as the bearings loosened up again.  I imagine I will hear about it when she gets back Monday!

I have to go look on internet at how hard it is to replace the starter on Aunt Lou's 1991 Old Ciera that Margo got after Lou passed away (53,000 miles on it -- now 120,000 three years later).  Runs great!  Of course I have the car computer stuck in the glove compartment so you can whack it with the hammer when it won't run the speedometer and let the overdrive shift in and out, and the left rear brake light will only work if the headlights are turned on (you take it out, study it, put it back in and it works for a few days...).

Here comes the nurse; time for some heavy breathing again!