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Sunday, February 25, 2018

To All Those Who Are Suffering from COPD,You Are Much More Than You Believe You Are

To all people out there suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, acute asthma and the like, there is one thing you need to keep in mind - the lesser you do, the lesser you will be able to do. Now, this is not an emotional appeal at all. This is something that you need to strongly know. There are three things doctors/people reliant on the mainstream way of dealing with a disease would not tell you:-

First, you're not dead. Yet. True that it might have to deal with life expectancy, true that by 2020 COPD is set to be the third highest cause of death but I swear by, you ain't gonna die this easy, darling.

Second, you're not a drug dependent, psychotic, poor little creature. You can do what you used to do, even set out to be a hard metal singer or maybe a drummer or formula one racer. You might have to work harder than usual, especially on the psychological imbalance that formulates due to the constant shortness of breath and the anxiety of not being able to let enough air flow into your lungs.

( Fishermen at Sea by J.M.W Turner, 1796 ; Photograph Source : Wikimedia)

Third, you're not "weaker than the rest". True that Karl Marx saved himself from conscription into the army because of "a weak chest condition" but that was something really bright, right? Coming to what we want to talk about, no - you're absolutely not weak. Not weak, at the least. If you are living with something as serious and you're walking, you're serving your purpose - out there in the Sun, you're not weak. In fact, you might just be strong enough to survive with something that affects your life 24x7, every moment, every figment of your thought processing skills.

Moving on, let me tell you what happened with me. I was not diagnosed with anything early on as a kid, but I have memories of nebulisations performed on my tiny little lungs as early as when I was four or five years old. I was also very sensitive as a child (that shows right? :P ) and would never ignore what was happening around me. As a result, I was restless and fervently maniacal to be honest. 
When I was in my 8th grade, things started getting worse than usual. As I attained my puberty, I noticed the frequency of breathlessness during suffering from a cold was increasing. I was ignorant about it for almost four and a half years until a few months back I began showing symptoms of brutal fatigue. Hereditarily, I have a slightly low blood pressure but what was happening was pretty intense to be just low bp. I was loosing consciousness quite often, I would feel breathless after being extremely anxious for periods as small as 10-15 minutes, I would be very tired after work et cetera. I went on ignoring all of what was happening. In the middle, I was misdiagnosed with gall -stone when what I really was suffering from was Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Just when I began recovering, I noticed I was suffering a chronic low fever, wheezing, excessive mucus secretions. This went on until the symptoms turned to what was similar to asthma attacks, something I had experienced during winter months before. Angry friends and acquaintances in the university forcibly sent me for check-ups and that led to the ultimate conclusion that I was suffering from COPD. I nearly passed out trying to blow air during my spirometry. (The technician guy was an absolute idiot, nevermind.) I tried fighting it, I am still fighting it, but what is very very important is that I had broken down psychologically and if the world didn't,I did know that very well. I was prescribed Amitriptyline Hydrochloride in the initial stage, which is a multifaceted drug used to treat a chronic cough but is also, at the same time, a tri-cyclic anti-depressant which is terrible. Tranquilizers in the initial stages of consumption, steer suicidal thoughts, along with a bunch of other dystopian ideas. Antibiotics turn out to be a routine prescription, you need to use Salbutamol in either liquid or gaseous forms, which will inevitably make you dizzy. Under life-threatening conditions, Steroid is prescribed. I had to be rushed to a hospital one night and I was injected Steroid and nebulised Asthalin. I hardly have memories of the day next. All that I remember is that the rooms were dancing and the walls were breaking down into weird fragments. It was Lucy-in-the-sky-with-figments-of-my-mind-but-then-hey-where-is-Jude-don't-make-it-bad-take-a-sad-song-did-did-did-you-ever-wonder-why-we-had-to-run-for-shelter-when-the-promise-of-a-brave-new-world-on-the-day-the-walls-came-down and the like. It was bad, it was terrible. 
When people ask me "Why do you live alone?", the answer usually is "Because I believe, before everything else, I am an artist. And this pain is mine. And this pain will last." Almost everyone went against the idea of me living alone, with a life-threatening condition. Almost everyone wanted to take me under their wing. But poor Lord, how I used to love the lonely sky! 

I had no idea how I was going to handle this. I still pretty much don't - but I know this, that when the time is ticking away quicker than you can imagine, you got to play harder than you used to. This aside, there is one thing I would love to share. Amidst all of this, I got rid of one extremely sadistic idea I used to often trouble myself with. People, near my age, and surrounding me are very, very compassionate and never made me feel like I would never make it. But late at night, I believe some will relate - you are alone when you know you are lying on the floor and you want to get up, you want to speak, say, write, assert, explain. You want to read, you want to listen. You are alone when you feel like the reflection of thousands of corpses are showing up on your proud platter of food. You are alone when the bridge turns upside down. You are alone when you're gasping and all you can do is imagine help. You are alone when you're in the shower and something similar happens. You are alone when you don't want to be. But then again, my friend - you want to be left alone with your canvas and easel, don't you? 
Scientifically, anxiety acts like a vicious cycle, given the nature of human hormones. If you want to make a difference, show that you're making a difference. If you feel like this is the end of the world, then work until you can't take it anymore. If you feel like you can't go on struggling, don't you know - deep inside all of us are struggling for some air? If you feel like you can't be a part of a civilisation that is interested in bringing its own demise sooner than anything or anyone else, wake up for a poem, for a song, for rain, for the mountains, for the sea, for the oceans, for the tallest tree in the nearby forest, for that little sapling you saved from getting stomped, the sparrow couple who live inside your apartment and drive you nuts at four in the morning. Live. Live to the fullest and stop underestimating yourself. Don't let anybody tell you that you're a drug-dependent, tired little soul who cannot contribute like the rest. You can do more than you think you can. You can do far more than you dream you can. At the least, you cannot give in in a world where chemicals are patented to kill and forests cleared out in order to settle sins in concrete, metal and glass. Until you have the capability of uttering a word, say "Love". Say "Do". Say "Tomorrow." Say "Art. Say "Glory."

To be continued...
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