Be a Teapot: Life Without a Ventilator.

30 Mar

IMG_7612Think back. There was a time when there were no ventilators. There was a time when there were no doctors,  and no hospitals,  and we had to think about what to do when we could not breathe.  I had to do that when I was a child. My mother was an invalid,  and there came a time when I couldn’t depend on her. My father was at work.  I had been given a mind for figuring things out.  So, one day, when sinus mucus was overwhelming  me and I was still young enough to be singing nursery rhymes, I pulled a trash bin out, bent over it from my waist, and thought:

I’m a little teapot short and stout.

Here is my handle, here is my spout.

When I get all steamed up,

Hear me shout:

Tip me over and pour me out!

With a lot less blow and effort, I cleared my sinuses out and could breathe. I know that sounds gross. I was a child. Children do gross things! But it worked. Not only for sinuses. When I developed constant bronchial problems,  tipping my body over the side of the bed, so I could evacuate phlegm and mucus from my throat and lungs into a bowl,  helped clear my lungs so I could breathe. Steam with menthol cough drops melted in its water helped. Salt water gargle helped. Anything, anything, to cut the blockage, and release it as fast as possible, helped. And, as I found when I could read medical history,  always had.

As I grew into a life in which I was uninsurable, I had to continue to depend on simple ways to protect my ability to breathe. But as an adult I shied away from being a teapot, and tipping over. I shouldn’t  have. A friend on Facebook reminded me of tipping recently,  and I have begun again. I am not waiting until I cannot breathe, and it’s time to panic. I am doing it when mucus is present, to clear it out,  to not allow it to begin to build,  to not let there be a festering ground for any virus,  especially Covid 19 if it should come. Which it probably will. It is simpler than a Heimlich Maneuver to:

Get into a position where your head is lower than your lungs. Have a container on the floor.

Let gravity and patience move phlegm and mucus into a position to be blown and coughed out of you. Don’t wait until you can’t breathe. When you feel too much is present, get it out of you. If you need more help,  breathe steam. Keep clear.

This advice is simple. It requires no medication or equipment. It can help things from getting critical. But it is not a replacement for a ventilator if someone is in critical condition. It is one aid that can make a big difference. But it can’t do everything.

When you dispose the waste, pour some soapy water in the bowl or container and let it sit a minute before you flush the contents. Just take a little extra care.

Breath is life. Take care of yourselves.

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