It’s a bit embarrassing to feel so at home on the Health Issue Forum (can relate to almost all conditions/concerns, eeee!). Last year I was all about hip pain, but after finding a great chiro who adjusts me gently yet with just the right amount of disinterest in my whining, and has also given me great stretches to do at home, I’m onto a new obsession.
All my riding/choring life, I’ve been aware of heaves i.e. don’t sweep while the horses are inside, keep arena dust down, etc. When I worked at a TB racetrack, I was amazed when at the sound of a horse coughing, the whole shedrow ‘froze’ until the equine responsible was identified and examined.
Never in a million hours of exposure to shaving/hay/dirt ETC. barn dust, did it ever occur to me that my pale pink lungs (well, they used to be) might suffer eventually from working in a haze of barn pollution. Alas, a few years ago my doc told me I had a slight ‘wheeze’ low on one lung; I began to wear a paper face mask-ugh-after I actually had a bout or two of bronchitis.
That seemed to do the trick on my own small farm for the next few years, but last winter I took over a friend’s larger and less airy barn for about 10 months, and after the first week or two of sweeping a loooong dirt aisle, mucking out many more stalls etc. even my mask failed me. I developed a pretty constant tightness in the chest, coughing and all that fun stuff.
I got through the year or so by using first a prescribed inhaler a few times a week (made me feel like a hopped up junkie, but hey…), and later taking a daily dose of costocosteroid powder (much more calming!). Then I had a full battery of respiratory tests AFTER a month or so out of the barn; all the med staff were thrilled to inform me I didn’t have asthma. Huh??
Yeah, I’m relieved my resp. function seems to be decent, but I still have ‘chest issues’…even though I stopped all medication the day I was told I wasn’t asthmatic (coincided with chance to stay out of any barn for a while). But I still feel crappy chest wise fairly often; never short of breath, just an icky sensation, some coughing and so forth.
Sooo, I’m just a bit confused at this point: do I have chronic bronchitis? COPD (never smoked!) or something more sinister…xrays have been clear. Just dunno what to think, and figure there have to be other folks who have experienced something along the lines of the above!!! I can’t be the only wimpy lunged horse person in the world, surely?
If any one has any similar experiences, or ideas re: what helped them, I would really love to hear from you. (I did check to see if this topic has been discussed lately, and couldn’t find anything.)