Raspberries and Oxygen

Well, if finally happened. After over a decade, I found myself in an ER late one Wednesday night on account of my asthma.

The day started off with me quite excited. I had time off of work and no projects to do. I had booked a few days of just time to do some stuff around the acreage. My big plan was to surprise Tyler by helping out with the raspberry patch and getting the apple trees ready. He had, as usual, a bunch of obligations that was keeping him from what he tries to keep up with outdoors.

Unfortunately, not only was my plan foiled by my no-good lungs, Tyler was not touched positively by my desire to help…and, in his “I’m going to do everything myself because I crave control” kind of way, he was actually frustrated by my help. But, if you are a person who constantly complains you have to do everything yourself, and then don’t actually allow people to help you…I think you’ve cancelled out your complaint. [And I haven’t slept in 24 hours, so I’m a bit salty over the matter].

I woke up with this great plan, but the first thing I ended up doing was taking my inhaler. It happens, on occasion, that I wake up short of breath, so I wasn’t concerned.

Bushes running wild-before I started working on them.

The day started great. I bought twine and some gloves for dealing with the raspberry thorns. Then I picked out the apple trees we had been discussing. A Honey Crisp that is long storage and great for all uses. And a Harlan Red which is tart like a Granny Smith (Tyler’s favorite apple) and used mostly in baking but can also be eaten right off the tree. They grow well in our zone (4) and grow well together.

When Gus and I returned with the apple trees, I took my inhaler again. Odd to take it so soon…but I was at a greenhouse and considering my allergies to most things that grow…I brushed it aside.

Clearing grass-a DEFINITE mistake. Especially since our grass has been covered in a weed killer, which causes more reactions for me than just natural, plain grass.

Later in the afternoon I started on the raspberry canes that turned into bushes. I had been watching videos all week about tying up the canes.

Midway through the work-looking like a muppet.

I cleared, mostly, a path down the center of the trellis, so I could walk down the center and pick from each side. Last year the middle wasn’t cleared out and I lost out on at least 1/3 of the raspberries hidden amongst the brush. Then I cleared any canes that had grown too far out from the trellis. I separated the canes into north and south and tied them, based on height, to the wires with garden twine. Making a hoop like shape for the extra long canes and tying 4-6 canes together in the hoop. It’s what this guy in Canada did-and I trust Canadian gardeners.

During a water break. Gus went swimming to keep cool.

I also cleared out the grass and some invasive vine that was growing throughout the canes. But that wasn’t as much as I anticipated.

Close-up of garden twine. It is biodegrade and compostable. I thought that was pretty cool.

It got quite warm doing this and Gus and I went inside to rest and cool down. I used my inhaler…starting to get wary and awfully shaky. A headache began. But I was in the heat! Heat ALWAYS gives me a headache! I was justifying my worsening symptoms because when you have a chronic condition, you have to be more particular about when you need help. And, you get use to not being in tip-top shape, so justification for avoiding medical care becomes easy.

Gus and I went for a walk and I was short of breath right away, so I turned us home soon after he did his business. I took a cold shower (as cold as I could get it) and took a Tylenol for the headache and tried one more puff.

By 8pm, I was getting worried. I walked down the stairs in our house and couldn’t catch my breath. My breathing sounded like Darth Vader and my headache was getting worse.

The u-shaped tied up canes.

I took an at-home Covid test, just to be sure, and put on my O2 monitor. The Covid test was negative. [I have miraculously avoided Covid, flu and colds during the entire pandemic!] I was hovering between 92-93. That’s when I texted my parents and asked for a ride to the ER. My head was pounding and no pursed lips, inhalers, or standing was helping anymore.

It was worse than I thought. My oxygen was in the 80s. My lungs were muffled sounding. My blood pressure was high. No wonder I had a splitting headache. I received prompt care (the ER was basically empty on a Wednesday night during the off tourist season).

So here’s the thing. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to have a part of your body work sometimes and stop working others. And it’s a gamble. Do I actually need urgent intervention? Can it wait another day to see my primary doctor? If I had gone in earlier would my symptoms have been severe enough to even be treated? Because that’s what happens. It’s not severe until it is. You aren’t in danger, until suddenly you are. And there can be dozens of instances over a decade where your conditions gets aggravated, but not to the point of needing urgent medical intervention. And if you were to go to the doctor early, they’d just send you home until it got really bad.

Sometimes my body makes me feel like a child. Like I have no control over my life. Like I’m some fragile antique vase that cracks and breaks. There are weeks, months, and years when I can take on anything. And just when I start to feel as if I’ve got a handle on whatever ailment was bothering me, someone throws a ball at the vase and it shatters. And there is nothing I can do about it.

Nothing but, occasionally fix up the raspberry patch or buy some Apple Trees to think about the possibility of a future with delicious fruit.

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