I’m climbing back up out of the pit now, but did I ever go dooooowwwwwn with some serious asthma problems the past few days!
It all started, as is so often the case, with my catching a headcold. It wasn’t even an especially bad cold, just a runny nose and that woozy feeling of impending sickness. That was Monday night. I’m so glad it was after Christmas!
The following morning my lungs were just full of wet junk. I was coughing and wheezing like crazy. This is my normal reaction to headcolds, which is why I tend to take them very seriously. But I didn’t even have time to react to this one – I just went right straight down to not breathing.
I won’t give too many more details, as I think that reading about someone else being sick is rather boring, but suffice it to say that there were moments when I wasn’t sure this wouldn’t be the asthma event that finished me off. There were moments when my response to that possibility was more relief than concern. It was really bad – possibly the worst attack I’ve ever had.
If your breathing is easy and clear right now, take a moment to be grateful for that. Really.
I’m blessed to have the necessary equipment and medicine to give myself nebulizer treatments in my home. As it was, I needed about seven treatments over the course of about seven hours to get things back under control. I’m still recuperating from the strain on my body (especially the muscles in my chest) that happens during an event like this.
Allen happened to be away from home during most of this. He’d had to make a trip to the city of San Pedro Sula. When I told him about these events (he’s required to listen to the details of my sickness, whether it’s boring or not), he thought it might make a good blog post. Because, you see, if I’d been born a Honduran in the mountains of Lempira, I’d likely not be alive anymore.
Now, truth be told, if I’d been an average citizen of Lempira, I’d almost certainly have died long before now. I’ve not been an especially healthy person throughout my life. I had a serious case of pneumonia at the age of 13 (which was pretty much the onset of my lifetime struggle with asthma), my experiences giving birth 5 times involved some potentially life-ending complications, and I’ve been rescued from asthma attacks (through medical intervention) many many many times. I have a serious asthma attack requiring the use of the nebulizer about once every couple of years. Any one of these events would likely have been the end of my earthly existence, without some fairly extensive medical help.
In Lempira, quite often the most basic medical care is out of reach – sometimes because of the expense, sometimes because of the physical impossibility of getting from a remote village to a location where some level of medical care is available, sometimes because the clinics which are available often don’t have the supplies, equipment, and trained personnel to be of much use. People die regularly from readily treatable medical problems.
Allen and I are not trained to help with medical problems, but we do host medical teams as often as we get the chance, help distribute medicines to rural clinics when they become available to us, and our completed bridges often mean that people in remote village have access to the rest of the world during rainy season, when previously they were cut off from all medical care during that part of the year. So, we’re doing what we can. Thanks again to those of you who help us remain here and do what we do.
And thanks to those who pray for us personally. Now take a deep breath and appreciate it.