Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘asthma

Heat, Humidity, and Writing

with 2 comments

Folks, I’m still alive. Covid-19 hasn’t gotten me yet, and I hope it never will.

But the heat and humidity here in Southeastern Wisconsin have been brutal for about a week. We also haven’t had the world’s best air quality. And the two things have slowed me something fierce when it comes to writing, though I have managed a little progress here and there despite it all.

I’ve found that high heat, plus humidity, seems to be more difficult to manage than the bitter cold in the winter. I don’t know exactly why this is. It’s not that I enjoy cold so much; far from it. But at least when you go indoors, you can get a respite from the cold and a hot shower will do some major good.

I don’t have air conditioning, so dealing with the heat and humidity is definitely a challenge. It does sap my strength. I am an asthmatic, as I’ve said before, and that means I have to be hyper-vigilant…or at least make my best effort at being prudent. I get annoyed at having to be so “safe,” mind you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Staying safe is essential, of course, no matter if it’s the heat, humidity, Covid-19, the bubonic plague, or trying to stay away from murder hornets. (I think we all should be able to get behind that. Who wants to get stung by a murder hornet? I don’t even think another murder hornet would, but that’s another story…ahem.)

Still, I’ll move forward, slowly, and keep a positive thought. It beats doing anything else by a mile. And that way, I may accomplish something.

What’s going on in your life? How are you handling the heat and humidity on your end, or if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, how are you handling the winter? Tell me about it in the comments!

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 18, 2020 at 11:20 pm

Posted in in general, Writing

Tagged with , , ,

Dog Days of Summer…

with 6 comments

Why do they call it the “dog days of summer,” anyway?

I mean, not everyone has dogs. And those who do mostly worry about how well their dogs will do in the heat.

But perhaps that’s why…the heat is notoriously bad for most dogs, and it’s also notoriously bad for humans with asthma (raise your hands in solidarity, people), or heart issues, or those with any long-term illnesses whatsoever.

Dogs, mind you, are very cute, heat or no heat. They always let you know they love you. They want to be petted and coddled. And they certainly love their food, as unlike most humans in the heat, dogs do not care when it comes to their dinner. (Wink.)

Anyway, if you live in much of the United States this week, you know the heat is dreadful, and the humidity is worse. But if you live in Southeastern Wisconsin, you may be pardoned if you think this weather is closer to the tropical rain forests of Brazil, or maybe Malaysia, than Wisconsin.

Why? Well, our heat index is very high at the moment. That’s because the humidity is exceptionally high for this area, and it adds to the misery of high temperatures something fierce. (They may as well call it “heat misery index,” as that would be truth in advertising. But I digress.)

All we can do is wait this bad weather out. Pay attention to it, of course. Pay attention to your animals, too, and make sure they always have cool water.

And if you’re asthmatic, make sure you know where your rescue inhaler is at all times.

But for all of you dealing with the high heat/humidity mix right now, just remember this: be good to yourselves. Don’t expect miracles, as the heat scatters thought and makes it harder to follow through, physically, on any number of things.

That said, you can still do things, even in this horrible heat, if you are careful and plan well and take breaks. So do be careful, do plan well, and do take many breaks…and stay as cool as possible, OK?

How do you stay cool in the high heat? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 19, 2019 at 3:41 am

Asthmatic Thoughts

with 4 comments

Folks, I’d intended to write two more blogs starting with “The Transformative Power of” rather than this, but here’s what I’ve got. Enjoy?

The last few days for me haven’t been that wonderful. I had an asthma attack that was bad enough to force me to go to the emergency room — something that hasn’t happened in years — and interrupted my rehearsal on Thursday night with the Racine Concert Band for the upcoming concert at Case High School on Tuesday, May 21.

At least, for me.

I hope I didn’t interrupt it for anyone else. But I had to leave. I couldn’t breathe well. And about fifteen minutes into rehearsal, I took four hits on my albuterol rescue inhaler — the max dose. But all that did was get me to the break without passing out. It didn’t allow me to regain my energy or breath well enough to continue playing my saxophone, and I only barely had the energy to concentrate on driving to the ER.

I’ve been asthmatic most of my life, but it wasn’t diagnosed until age 27. Most of the time, I’ve been able to do everything I want to do, including five K walk/runs (I used to power walk, when my back still allowed me to do such). With a little prudence, even on very hot and humid days, I can do what I need, providing I rest a great deal and be sure to have my rescue inhaler handy.

But that’s why this was so frustrating. I know what to do. And yet, I was running a bit late, was afraid I’d get into rehearsal late, and I didn’t want that. While I’d taken my rescue inhaler around five p.m. — meaning it should’ve still been able to help for the 7 p.m. rehearsal — I had just done the fastest walk I’m capable of from the parking lot, with my cane, sax, and big, heavy purse in tow. So that, right there, was probably all I had, breathing-wise…and that’s why, fifteen minutes in, I had to take four puffs of albuterol.

What also was difficult for me, then, was not realizing how bad off I was. My stand-partner, Vivian, who’s known me since I was 18, is the one who realized what was going on. She told me I should go seek medical attention, and get a breathing treatment; I told her that I wanted to stay at rehearsal, so I’d try to take the rescue inhaler instead.

And you already know what happened then.

When I got to the ER, they took me right back to a room. (The local hospital, Ascension-All Saints, takes shortness of breath in an asthmatic seriously, which I greatly appreciate.) Within a half an hour or so, I was given a breathing treatment on a nebulizer, and my mind started to clear. (That my oxygen saturation when I got there was approximately 85% did not help, though it did go back up after I sat for a few minutes.) They then gave me three tablets of prednisone, and while that made me very jumpy and jittery, it also allowed me to have enough energy to drive home a few hours later.

I didn’t call my parents, or my sister, until I knew what was going on and could talk without gasping. (My sister works very early in the morning, and I was in the ER until after midnight.) As my brother lives in another state entirely, I didn’t think to even tell him about this, either. But I wasn’t thinking too clearly at the time.

I did text a few friends who were expecting to hear about my rehearsal, and had been worried as they knew I didn’t feel that wonderful when I left on Thursday for rehearsal in the first place. I did that mostly because I knew they were waiting to hear from me. I always try to keep in contact when someone’s expecting to hear…anyway, fortunately for me, one of my best friends I’d texted lives in town.  She came over to the ER, sat with me the last half-hour until they let me go, and drove behind me all the way home to make sure I’d get there all right.

This gave me great comfort.

I was told by the doctor to take it easy over the weekend. No practicing at all. No heavy shopping trips for my mother, if I could avoid it. (Light stuff was OK providing I took my time about doing it.) No editing, if I could avoid it. I could write, to tolerance, and I have — not just this blog either. (1000 words of fiction, yay!) And providing I do take it as easily as possible, he said I could play the dress rehearsal on Monday night, and the concert on Tuesday night — providing I take my rescue inhaler beforehand and after, and continue to take steroids for several days to aid my breathing overall.

I still have hope that I will play this concert. It isn’t going to be easy for me. I am not going into it with much strength, energy, or clarity of mind. But I can do it, and have promised I would…so I will find a way, if at all possible.

I was very scared by this episode. I used all the biofeedback techniques I have learned recently to stay as calm as possible on the road to the ER, and was able to “stay in the moment” to drive safely over there even feeling the way I did. (Why did I do this, you ask? They tow cars if you leave ’em at the practice site overnight. I can’t afford that!)

But I was fortunate. My stand-partner knew I was ill, which prompted me to take my rescue inhaler in the first place. She also urged me to go to the ER when I was still ailing after. And after that, I got good attention in the ER; my friends helped as much as they could from where they were; my family, while being miffed that I didn’t call or text or do anything to let them know in the moment, has been very understanding of how little I’ve been able to do over the last two days since that happened.

I promise you all, I will take my meds on time. I am not going to ever forget to take my rescue inhaler directly before practice again, either, even if I’m already fifteen minutes late…though I hope I won’t be late at all, so I can go in without feeling like I have to “haul ass” and thus have almost nothing to work with from the get-go.

All I can say, else, is that I survived this. And I’m glad, though I wish I hadn’t had to deal with it and had just been able to play as normal.

Anyway, I do hope to write the other blogs about “the transformational power of” later this week, if all goes well. And I would like to know what you think about this, the most personal of blogs I’ve written in a very, very long time…tell me about it in the comments, please. (You are reading, right?)

 

High Heat, Humidity in WI Weighs Me Down

leave a comment »

Folks, I have many topics to discuss (including figure skater Johnny Weir’s great appearance on Keith Olbermann’s new show on ESPN2 Monday night), but the high heat and humidity that Wisconsin has been visited with over the last few days has been difficult for me to bear.

Worse yet, we’ve had next to no rain for a week.  This is really bad, because without rain washing the pollution out of the air, the air quality gets that much worse — whether the official indicators actually pick it up or not.

I have asthma, which acts up more under these conditions.  (The temperature was 97 F on Tuesday.  Yikes.)  So maybe that’s why I’ve not been able to write much, on or off my blog, in several days . . . instead, I’ve spent my time going over my novel, ELFY, and editing other people’s manuscripts.  (Except for Tuesday, where I spent the whole day resting.  97 is just too hot to be borne.  Seriously.)

Anyway, I keep telling myself that even on days like these — where I struggle to breathe and think — it’s important to hold a positive thought.  I may have to take some time out for ill health now and again.  But if I keep trying, eventually I will succeed.

And I’ve worked far too long, and far too hard, to allow this little setback to keep me away from my computer for too long.  (Guaranteed.)

Once this weather gets a little easier for me to deal with, I plan on talking more about Weir’s important and interesting talk with Olbermann regarding the 2014 Sochi Olympics and several other subjects, including a look at the Milwaukee Brewers’ September call-ups (and other assorted rookies).  Plus, I still have a romance to review at Shiny Book Review (THE LADY MOST WILLING . . . ) — which is why I plan to take up the gauntlet again in a few days.

But for now, the sensible path is to rest.  So I will do that, and hope to discuss more in a few days once the insanely hot weather is supposed to finally work its way out of here.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 11, 2013 at 1:04 am

Quick Note

leave a comment »

Folks, I’d hoped to review Rosemary Edghill’s VENGEANCE OF MASKS at Shiny Book Review this evening — in fact, I’d planned on reviewing it all week.

However, I’m feeling very poorly this evening for the second night in a row.  (I think it has something to do with the heat and my asthma not mixing.)  Because of that, I’m not able to do much — even writing a short blog about Ben Sheets’s superlative start for the Atlanta Braves today was nearly too much.  And writing a quick, fact-based blog like that one is much easier to write than a book review any day of the week.

That’s why I’ve decided that I’m going to take a break for the rest of this weekend in order to come back stronger on Monday.  Because of that, the review for VENGEANCE OF MASKS will be rescheduled for this upcoming week at SBR, with all apologies to Ms. Edghill and to anyone else who may have been awaiting my review.

While you’re waiting for that review, I’d like to suggest something.  Go buy anything Rosemary Edghill currently has available, regardless of genre.  (These books include DEAD RECKONING, VENGEANCE OF MASKS, the Bast mysteries included in BELL, BOOK, AND MURDER, and THE WARSLAYER — the latter should be available from Baen Books directly as an e-book.)   She writes extremely well, always has great craftsmanship, and her storytelling ability is without peer.  So meander on over to Amazon, or BN.com, or better yet to her page at Lulu (where the information for VENGEANCE OF MASKS resides), and get yourself one of her books, pronto.

While you do that, I’ll do my best to recover my energy so I can do justice to her extremely interesting and thought-provoking book, VENGEANCE OF MASKS (genre: dark fantasy/urban fantasy hybrid).

Have a great weekend, folks.  See you back here on Monday.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Book reviews, Writing

Tagged with ,

Hot Weather Makes Writing More Difficult . . .

leave a comment »

. . . and other truisms.

No, I’m not just being facetious.  (Though you can take it that way if you really want to, as I obviously can’t stop you.)  The hot weather aggravates my asthma; worse yet, the hot, humid weather we’ve been facing in Southeastern Wisconsin over the past several days tends to make my asthma act up worse than just about anything else.

And if you can’t breathe overly well, you can’t concentrate well enough to write anything.  (Not blog posts.  Not poetry.  Certainly not fictional stories, which take more effort and thought.)

That said, the weather should cool off soon.  (I’m praying for this.)  Which will allow me to do more than take my inhaler, lay down where the fans are (as no air conditioner can possibly keep up, having to be used every hour of every day for several days in a row), and try to pretend that I feel up to doing anything at all.

So if you’re looking for witty observations about life, the universe, and everything, forget that — at least for a few days.  But I’ll try to post about things that interest me (such as Ken Kratz’s hearing, today’s “other” blog post) while doing my best to draw a bit more air into my overtired lungs.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm