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Surviving the Semester

My Lungs Got a Close Up and I Got to Choose the Gown Color

Every semester I seem to be muddling through at the end. In fact this trend pre-dates my college career. December of senior year I was diagnosed with Uveitis. Two days after graduation I had hip surgery, meaning the two weeks before that I was medication less, not pretty. Then in college I was diagnosed with Celiac about 5 days before my first set of finals. Spring of last year the week before finals was when erythromycin stopped working and my downward spiral towards the feeding tube began. This past fall semester my POTS was so bad during finals I thought I was going to pass out during my math final, I lasted until 2 hours after it. In the ER I found out I at least got a 90% on the final and the doctor high fived me. 

So in true Joan fashion something had to go wrong in the past two weeks of my life and sure enough something did. Unlike in the past I was much more blindsided by it. With past finals weeks the health problems that have come up were not new, this go around was different though. 

Being in a kindergarten placement not so shockingly there are a lot of germs going around. In fact I am suprised with all my regular interactions with small children I have stayed pretty germ free this year. Well about two months ago all my peers in my placement got a cold, me included. Within a week or two everyone recovered without issue, except me. I continued to have a cough but it would improve throughout the day, so I didn't pay much attention. A little under a month ago it started getting worse and I was struggling to get my usual liter+ a day of fluids in, so I emailed my doctor. We decided if it did not start improving in a few days I should come in. I went in and was prescribed albuterol. All that did was make my heart rate skyrocket, the next day I was a million times worse, gasping for air. It was scary, really scary. 

Writing papers and creating unit plans in between coughing fits leaving me gasping for air was probably one of the roughest things I have been through during college yet. What was worse was during every class and final for the last two weeks all my classmates (I had every class with the same students) and professors asked if I was okay. Honestly I wasn't okay, I was struggling to breath and had multiple pre-syncope episodes, probably from the lack of oxygen. When it came down to it there was nothing they could do to help me so I did not want to worry anyone. I went to a doctor, in fact I went to see doctor's at my GP's office three times in a little over a week.
Finally in time for my last final the Flovent (steroid inhaler) started to kick in after maxing out the dose.Next week I have a follow up and will probably have to go on a lower dose but I am trying not to worry about that. I can not get in to see a pulmonologist till June(and if I waited for an attending it would have been July. So until then I am seeing an ENT and going for Pulmonary Function Test. Never a dull moment. 

On the brightside, I did not pass out during any of my finals. I handed in all my papers and unit plans. I even submitted my application to the accelerated master's program for special education today. I am done with school for the next few months, I have survived yet another semester.

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