Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Old and Ill...

I got doctored yesterday for the umpteenth time. Part of an ongoing assessment of my condition(s) of old age and cussedness, as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), COPD, and potential other complaints.

Finally got a pulmonary function assessment which was ordered months ago by my rheumatologist. Understanding what's going on with my lung(s) is a key to understanding some of the rest of my physical difficulties.

Fatigue has become my most aggravating problem. I simply cannot do what I once could because I become exhausted within a few minutes. We found out part of the reason why yesterday.

The pulmonary function test is no fun, but I'm glad I did it. It showed that I suffer from mild COPD, but also a severe reduction in lung capacity which the pulmonologist determined was due to RA not COPD or emphysema which CT scans determined I had acquired from smoking years ago.

He advises aggressive treatment with steroids for the RA to get a handle on diminished lung capacity.


I've been warned repeatedly and insistently about the hazards of steroids, particularly bone loss, diabetes and other side effects, and my rheumatologist has been reducing my dosage of prednisone while providing me with other medications that seem to work pretty well at controlling RA joint pain and swelling. Now I'm being told to use a steroid inhaler -- albuterol (which I have but have never used) -- due to diminished lung capacity.... well, what to do, eh?

It's one of those conundrums which I guess I'll just have to face.

Note: generally speaking, I feel pretty good. The problem I have not been able to resolve is fatigue, and figuring out what to do about that is going to take a bit of resourcefulness.

Then there was the brochure on COPD I picked up yesterday that was all about hospice care, ventilators, end of life decisions and whatnot. My oh my. Well, I'm not quite there yet.

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