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Friday, November 18, 2016

Health Issues



I don't usually make a big deal about my firefighter disability on this blog. My lungs suffered some chemical damage that nearly killed me. Good thing I was never a smoker. Most of the time I live with it. Over the years I've developed strategies to stay well. They don't always work. Unfortunately my head cold settled into my lungs.

The big thing for me now is to try and limit the amount and severity of my coughing. If it goes on too long it starts a vicious cycle where my coughing irritates my lungs which causes me to cough. I don't think I'm going to fall into that cycle this time. Over the years my lungs have improved somewhat.

One fun thing I also have is a little something called cough syncope. When I cough hard my blood pressure drops and I pass out. It used to happen over twenty times a day and went on for months. I could be walking down a flight of stairs, cough, then wake up in a heap at the bottom. I've an old scar over one of my eyes where I fell out of a kitchen chair and face planted on the floor.

I saw a lot of doctors and none were able to do much for me. Treatments that were supposed to make me stop coughing would stimulate coughing instead. They overdosed me on drugs trying to find a level that would work. It was a bad time.

Yesterday I had a short episode. This time I stayed in my chair and didn't get hurt. I'm not going to drive again until the cough is under control.

Over time I've learned how to manage my condition, mostly though alternative treatments. A martial arts instructor friend of mine taught me a lot of breathing exercises that help. Certain herbal treatments are useful. Keeping the humidity high helps. Even cough drops work better than the heavy duty drugs the doctors had me on. My condition should improve soon, if I'm lucky and take care of myself.

While I was convalescing I decided to check out my health care insurance for next year. Once again, due to a technicality, I don't qualify for a subsidy. The price of insurance has gone up again. Right now I don't think I can afford even the cheapest plan available to me, so that ain't gonna happen. Let's see if Trump can do better or if he's just spouting off.

In the mean time I'm going to put some of the cash I was paying to the insurance company into savings.

Could I lose everything due to medical expenses? Yes, but the minimal insurances close to my price range won't prevent that.

Guess I'm going to have to take full responsibility for my own health.

-Sixbears

26 comments:

  1. Not being sarcastic but a steam room/ sauna could help. I hate cough drops and use Altoids instead. If you drop your insurance at least you got caught up on checkups while you had it. Getting older is a bitch but it beats the alternative.

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    1. Nobody wants to die yet nobody wants to get older either. :)

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  2. I'd think about the steam room that Gary mentioned. Maybe something as simple as a native style sweat lodge. I'll be praying for you my friend.

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  3. millions of Americans are in the same hole you are in

    "RICOLA" is an excellent cough drop

    put a tarp over a tipi frame and boil water within makes a quikie steam lodge

    take care stay alive

    Wildflower

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    Replies
    1. We used to have sweat lodge all the time,but people have passed on. Such is life. I should build my own.

      I like Ricolas.

      Thanks Wildflower

      Delete
  4. Washington State offers health insurance pretty cheap for people on limited incomes, it covers the basics and that's about it. Does your state have something like that?

    You are unfortunately like me in that it never fails, when I get a cold it goes directly to my lungs every freakin' time and then lingers.

    Try the steam by all means.

    It reminds me of the old joke, guy goes to the Dr. with a cold, the doc gives him a prescription and says take these three times a day for two weeks and you will feel better or don't bother filling the prescription and you will feel better in two weeks.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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    Replies
    1. NH has an exchange but that's about it.

      I'm taking it real easy. Drinking lots of fluids.

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  5. Two or three drops of Eucalyptus oil in a pot of boiling water. Put a towel over your head and breathe in the steam. Hate when it goes to the lungs. Hope you recover quickly.

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    1. I'm out of Eucalyptus oil, darnnit! Will have to replace it.

      Delete
  6. When I catch the flu/cold I normally wind up coughing for three months or more after. The only thing we have discovered that works to break the condition is Advair. The purple disk inhalator that dispenses a dosed steroid. Takes a while to work, but it does. Might be worth looking in to. Typically my PCP will give me a script with just a phone call so no visit cost are incurred.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately I have very bad reactions to any sort of steroid. A doctor seriously overdosed me on them once and I react badly to them ever since.

      Maybe I'm just going to have to spend winters on a sailboat down in the islands. :)

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  7. Commend you publishing your plight. Many are in your same situation. Is there a Canadian cheap care solution, being so close there? Hope you have tapped into others firefighter community that are dealing with these chronic issues long term. They may have alternatives. Maine just leagalizes MJ so you may want to consider look at that alt science path in some context.

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    Replies
    1. I'll have to see what herbs can do for me the next time I visit my Maine friends. Something edible I think.

      Delete
  8. How about these folks for insurance?

    http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=e1e237f779114897023fe5219&id=7add84248a&e=5c423aee36

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  9. I feel for you Bear !
    My wife has COPD and lately she's also contracted some virus which ended up giving the poor woman bronchitis now... she's having a real hard time breathing now.
    Bad enough that she's the sole wage earner since my accident. So she is still going to work even tho most folks would be flat laid out by the shit...
    Now I've caught the same stuff from her.

    Makes a person start wondering how they'll deal, without the other and mortality.
    So I can definitely empathize with ya bro about medical bills.

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    1. I'll be fine. It just takes a little TLC. I don't even have to drag myself to work.

      You guys have it tougher than I do -not that it's a contest.

      I'm lucky that my wife is having a few good days right now. I hate it when we are both down.

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  10. I always caught two "colds" per year from unresponsible people visiting because their "allergy" made them feel to bad to go shopping. Their "allergy" always went into my lungs and I'd have hell with my bronchitis. While they recovered nicely, mine would go on for so long that I eventually had to buy a nebulizer where I could breathe in the vapor along with something that caused the capillaries in the lungs to constrict. I would cough myself into nose bleeds like red water gushing.

    Since moving to Florida, the only people with colds are the snowbirds bringing their in, but I don't know any of them. Don't want to either.

    I have great insurance that is not accepted in Florida, so there's always a fly in the ointment.

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    1. Florida has some inexpensive plans. Might be worth checking into.

      At my dad's park people would go north for the holidays and bring back germs to share with everyone.

      Nebulizers helped me in the past, but not a lot. Hardly worth the trouble.

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  11. We (me, my wife & daughter) use Albuterol in a nebulizer, it does a nice job of clearing up that nagging cough we all get about every year. Albuterol is a relatively inexpensive drug --less than a dollar per vial.

    Had an ol' buddy that had that cough syncope. He had a coughing fit one day while on the toilet, passed out and woke up on the floor needing stitches in his scalp. Dang!

    later,
    -Moe

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    1. Albuterol helps a tiny bit, but hardly worth the bother.

      Every time I see a Dr. for the cough they want to x-ray me for pneumonia as that what my lungs sound like. However, the x-ray always proves it's not that. Then it's all trial and error. Frankly, I got tired of dealing with them.

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  12. Get well, soon. Maybe you need to move south or sail the Gulf of Mexico in the winter.

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    1. We'll see what happens this winter. Odds are that we'll be in the Gulf sooner or later.

      Maybe I'll be in good health the rest of the winter when this finally breaks.

      Could happen.

      Delete
  13. I have some of the same problems from really bad allergies and really good allergy drugs in my youth.

    I have found that keeping my chest warmer than what is really comfortable helps. Got a stash of sleeveless t-shirts that I pull on when it gets cold, colder it gets, the more t-shirts come on. That helps a bunch. Otherwise the crackles come back and I start coughing, which eventually leads to my back going out.

    Take care of yourself. We without insurance are hoping that something will Trumpify the health care situation.

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    1. Thanks. I'll try that. Maybe I should wear a down vest all winter long.

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