Saturday, 18 May 2013

Asthma... and the goat

Hi all, 

And no, the two things aren't related - the asthma and the goat.

Goat first: Parsley was slow to get up this morning, and when I led him up to the paddock he started straining and groaning. Being a male goat labour was ruled out, so I wondered if he had colic, though what from I couldn't think.I put him back in the pen to keep an eye on him, which distressed the other three goats considerably - what could they do without their leader? Eventually Dill stepped up, leading the two youngsters down the hill. Meanwhile Parsley lay down and strained. Not good. I rang the vet, but he couldn't come for a couple of hours so I watched Parsley, who steadily deteriorated. The word from the vet was he thought Parsley could have a bladder stone, and suddenly Parsley proved him right. He hauled himself onto his hooves and strained some more, producing a sad little trickle of fluid, which he went on producing for the best part of half an hour. No wonder the poor thing had been in pain!

The vet, Greg, finally showed up and examined Parsley, who obligingly produced a little more trickle. Diagnosis confirmed. Parsley may have to have a goat operation sometime down the track, but meanwhile an anti-inflammatory needle should see him right. Parsley agreed, hobbling slowly off to join the other goats. After a rest he pottered over to the fence and requested a tomato, which I was harvesting, having had a frost last night (early for winter, brrrrrr). hopefully tomatoes are health food for goats' bladders?

Parsley is the handsome boy behind Becca's head!
Now to the asthma. This is a cautionary tail, intended to warn anyone who even slightly suspects they could have wheeziness.

For many years I have become short of breath and coughed when anywhere near anyone smoking. I didn't worry too much about that, just avoided smoke as much as possible.However, over time I developed a tightness in my chest whenever it was hay-fever season or the weather was cold. I mentioned it to any doctor I went to, but with a universal result: they ignored it. Gradually I became a tad annoyed at this. Just because I was old and wrinkly, did it mean I couldn't have asthma? Recently I read about how many people over 50 died from undiagnosed asthma. Years back we knew a lady who went for a morning coffee with a friend and suddenly dropped dead on her verandah. A shock for both of them, so I decided it was time to confront the possibility.

I finally got to see my GP, in the third week of trying, and told him that I thought I could have asthma but no doctor ever seemed interested. He said oh, he could test it straight away. I was dispatched to the on-practice ward where they do all sorts of useful things. In this instance I had to breathe without Ventolin, and then after having breathed it in. Quite interesting and no doubt familiar to many folk. Then, with my pretty bit of paper with breath graphs on it, I returned to my GP. His eyebrows rose and he said I had to have immediate treatment of the puffer variety. While he was at it, he then decided to test every function of my system - oh, good, another armful of blood to the lab! Anyway, the point is that all I had to talk about was tightness in the chest on cold nights or a cough when provoked, yet it could have been lethal had I not demanded that someone test it.

Have you got a cough or wheeze that comes at predictable (or even unpredictable) times? Then please, please, get it tested!!!

With which I wish you all a very healthy weekend!

Cheers - Fliss

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