The Squeaky Wheel, Part II

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome doesn’t even sound like something you want, does it? As a matter of fact, it sounds like something out of a horror movie. You could be right. The most severe cases of COVID-19 present with a patient gasping for air. Don’t be that patient. Doctors practice intubation on dummies, and I suggest we try to avoid being one of them.

Breathe. From the first suspicion that you might be infected, practice deep breathing. Force air into your lungs. Do it purposefully. Web MD offers a very abbreviated explanation of the purpose of respirators, and it’s all about forcing air into your lungs. Mount evidence suggests they offer more harm than good, however. Statnews suggests that mechanical ventilation pushes air into mucous-blocked lungs with force, ultimately damaging fragile lung tissue. Be your own ventilator. Breathe deeply. Bloomberg News suggests the harsh truth that survival after a ventilator is a rough row to hoe.

Educate yourself ahead of time. Finding an online COVID recovery group is a good place to start. Read what survivors wish they’d known from the outset. These support groups do more than just validate your symptomology. They help you know what to expect, what worked, how to chart your own recovery. Use their stories as blueprints for your own success.

The ultimate in personal responsibility is assuming responsibility for your own health and recovery during a plague. Doctors are wonderful people—I’ve worked with many fabulous and dedicated health professionals. But truth to tell, everyone is scared of this new ninja virus, and no one has all the answers. You are responsible for you.

Begin with breathing. Start deep breathing exercises now. They are both calming for the soul and good for your lungs. If you feel you’re getting sick, step up your rehearsals for recovery. One amazing story featured a gentleman who professed an experience with someone who told him to breathe or risk being intubated and put on a respirator. As he did just that, breathing in and out, he forced the mucous out of his lungs and recovered. I know it sounds trite, but what’s wrong with breathing? Doesn’t all of life begin and end with breathing?

Take your vitamins. This isn’t a good time to debate the efficacy of vitamins. Whether you subscribe to a multivitamin or bottles of supplements, just accept the fact that most of us aren’t eating a well-balanced diet complete with all we need for survival. Researchers at Harvard suggest that a healthy immune system, fortified by good eating and vitamins, is part of the key in resisting disease, maybe even the plague. Vitamins C, D, and zinc are earning rave reviews.

The bottom line is simple. Do all you can to reduce your risk. Do all you can to minimize the threat of disease. Do all you can to know the best way to treat COVID-19. Normally I’d have prefaced the article on meds last week with this article on healthy lifestyles, but numbers are jumping to unhealthy levels in hotspots across the country. I felt compelled to jump to the meds before finishing up the basis of a healthy lifestyle…but never underestimate the importance of being at your best. Breathe. Deeply. A lot. The dead don’t breathe, just sayin’.