My Illnesses & Pills: Strengthening the Immune System–One Way to Battle the COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic, by J. D. Meyer (2nd Edition)

Dang, I’ve been feeling good for four years! But I fit the stereotype of someone that ought to be “fixin’ to get sick”—lungs illness, namely COPD (since 2005) and asthma (since 1986). I got on the combination of SSDI, Medicare, and Medicaid by 2012. I’m writing this article about my illnesses and pills because medical professionals may find clues to finding a way to battle the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. Dealing with the pandemic takes three routes in the medical community: building the immune system, finding antibodies, and discovering a vaccination. My article represents the way for educated laymen to contribute. I take at least ten pills per day—a motley mix of prescription drugs, vitamins/minerals, and OTC drugs. I have more health issues than Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS). Quitting cigarettes was important as was quitting snuff tobacco. Nowadays, I occasionally indulge with Smoky Mountain Herbal Snuff (Wintergreen Flavor). It’s made from corn husks and molasses; it’s made in Sandy Hook, CT.

Here are the rest of my diagnoses: Mixed hyperlipidemia E 78.2, Essential (primary) hypertension I10, atherosclerosis heart disease of native coronary artery without angina pectoris I25.10, and macular degeneration. Furthermore, I get monthly allergy shots for Bermuda and Johnson grass, and I have sleep apnea.

Now let’s check out my daily pills. Prescriptions: Daliresp, Montelukast, Dilacor (DILT), Omega 3 Acid Ethyl Esters, and Prednisone. Vitamins/Minerals: Magnesium, CoQ10, Vitamin D, Ocuvite (Vision Health). That last pill is a mix of Vitamins A, C, E and Zinc, Selenium, Copper, and Lutein. Over the Counter Medicine (OTC): Loratadine (non-drowsy generic pill for allergies).

Here are the drugs that I inhale. Obviously, I have a rescue inhaler, and it’s Combivent (albuterol + ipratropium). I graduated from the albuterol inhalers a while back. But my nebulizer fluid is albuterol. Then I take Advair twice daily, an anti-inflammatory.

Here are the occasional OTC drugs and vitamins/minerals: Sudafed (nasal congestion), Mucinex–aka. Guaifenesin (chest congestion/bronchitis). Vitamin B-Complex (headaches), Milk Thistle (liver health) and rarest of all—Turmeric Curcumin (anti-inflammation). Before I got health insurance, Mucinex and Sudafed were very frequent companions. I’ve become a member of the Chris Cuomo Fan Club and explained the joy of Mucinex on his website.

Let’s hope that my list of medicines and illnesses helps medical researchers during our pandemic crisis. I was invited to join the local Community Health Workers (CHW) coalition several years ago because of my explanation of lung health issues for the layman. I used to be a teacher–mostly Developmental English/Writing (college level), ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)for all levels, and all-level/ most subjects substitute teacher. Some of those drugs and whatnot represent a journey! Magnesium is a new friend. First I was put on statins and developed heart issues. Then I found CoQ10 and that helped. Then I had a phase of Red Yeast Rice–a more organic, mellow statin. Then I read a couple of journal articles against it and stumbled onto Magnesium. Magnesium is the super mineral. It’s good for excess fat, arthritis, COPD, and even more issues! My most recent drug is prednisone—previously som’n just for acute attacks. I passed a recent chest X-ray, but my pulmonologist felt that I needed prednisone. After all, I’ve had a low moderate Forced Exhale Volume (FEV) for years. I may be 6’2” and 61 years old, but my FEV is comparable to a short elderly lady’s lungs, or just one lung, or a very short child’s lungs. Stop smoking, stay indoors, or wear a cloth mask/bandanna when shopping.

COVID-19/Coronavirus Annotated Link Page, by J.D. Meyer (2nd Edition)

1. Q & A on Coronavirus (COVID-19) by WHO (World Health Organization). Answers to 23 questions, two information links, subscribe to WHO newsletter. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses?fbclid=IwAR0cSHcLD8YtFmTG8sq-w8E3p4BVui6L41CieOoR0C1fu_9fbROHjcUcaHQ

2. Oxford COVID-19 Evidence Service. By Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. Updates began on March 17, 2020. Click for Questions under Review. Top 3 Most Viewed: COVID-19 Signs & Symptoms Tracker, Assessing dyspnea, Global Covid-19 Case Fatality Rates, TRIP database COVID-19 updates. https://www.cebm.net/oxford-covid-19/

3. How the Novel Coronavirus and the Flu are Alike…and Different
Symptoms, Transmission, Degree of Mild vs. Severe Cases, Length of Hospitalization, What % of the Population Will Get Each Virus, Death Rate, Treatment, Vaccines, Impact of Seasonal Weather. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/20/815408287/how-the-novel-coronavirus-and-the-flu-are-alike-and-different?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR0-_S-NHB2OHGoJs6EHu-OBPDp8Qh6xYB6BPxB11ePdN_519YgFeIheNCE

4. Why ‘Death Rates’ from Coronavirus Can Be Deceiving. “The answer involves how many people are tested, the age of an infected population and factors such as whether the health care system is overwhelmed, scientists say.”
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/27/821958435/why-death-rates-from-coronavirus-can-be-deceiving?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR1P6Dzb5ug-mG-CAY3rfsrl2dJ1c-1YPu2KitdIXl9e4ruNHVP858JqAfE

5. Can a Supplement Protect Me Against the New Coronavirus? “Doctors say there’s limited evidence on how any supplements may or may not affect coronavirus spread and the resulting disease. Here’s what we know right now.” The following supplements are analyzed: elderberry, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, apple cider vinegar, turmeric. https://www.everydayhealth.com/infectious-diseases/can-a-supplement-protect-me-against-the-new-coronavirus/

6. Faces of Coronavirus: One Woman’s Road to Recovery. “…the first signs that she had the disease caused by the novel coronavirus were some aches and a dry cough. Her symptoms quickly escalated to difficulty breathing and fever.” This interview was reviewed by an M.D. https://www.everydayhealth.com/coronavirus/faces-of-coronavirus-one-womans-road-to-recovery/

7. Loss of smell and taste could be the strongest symptom of Coronavirus, experts believe. Loss of smell and taste are stronger predictors than fever and cough—triple other symptoms. The Covid Symptom Tracker App has created a model that also lists new continuous cough, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/loss-smell-taste-could-strongest-18019703

8. COVID-19, Asthma, Allergies: You’ve Got Questions….(Video with Transcript). “Allergy & Asthma Network compiled a list of questions regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) that people asked during our “Distinguishing the Difference: COVID-19 vs. Allergies vs. Flu” webinar on March 17. The webinar was hosted by Allergy & Asthma Network President and CEO Tonya Winders and board-certified allergist and immunologist Purvi Parikh, MD.” https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/covid-asthma-and-allergies-frequently-asked-questions/ General Questions (25), Asthma Management Questions (13), School Questions (3).

9. COVID-19 COMPARISON: Coronavirus vs. Cold vs. Flu vs. Allergies (Chart comparing 12 symptoms among 4 Illnesses) https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/sites/g/files/gmc786/f/fb-covid-comparison-8.5×11-eng.jpg

10. Coronavirus is not the flu. It’s worse. This 6 ½ minute YouTube video is from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Twice as contagious , longer incubation period, no shot or immunity, 25% hospitalized > 2%. At least 10 times the fatality rate. Older and compromised people are more vulnerable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVIGhz3uwuQ&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2oMqPwP76ZMdL_U8GTRjXy4LNaONjc-c_6oHaZ9XnkKOJykpZDo8UnOH4

What Do You Tell People Who Are Scared About the Coronavirus/COVID19 Outbreak? By J.D. Meyer

I will be encouraging. We have many medical professionals working on the Coronavirus/COVID19 crisis throughout the nation and world. The two most visible national officials rising to the occasion are Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), and immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases). In his inspiring Saturday morning address, Gov. Cuomo asserted, “We are all first responders.” We could help or inspire somebody, but we could also get somebody sick or depressed.

For me, sharing health information on Twitter, Facebook, and Word Press would be my main way to inform and inspire. I taught for 20 years—mostly Developmental English/Writing (a college course), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to all ages, and an “All Grades/Most Subjects” substitute teacher. I just hit the 39K tweet mark—starting in October 2011.

Several years ago, I was invited to join the local Community Health Workers (CHW) group—the Northeast Texas CHW Coalition, for I’d written some articles about my health issues for the layman. I’ve been on SSDI for COPD for a decade! I have a special interest in magnesium since it has really helped improve my health for the past two years—cholesterol, arthritis, and COPD. CoQ10 was another relatively recent find for me, and it helps heart health.

Furthermore, I can share academic or entertaining information on a broader scale. After all, plenty of students are going to be studying online. Maybe I could publicize my love of Tejano music improving my Spanish to friends’ kids? The other day, I brought a spare Brookshire’s cooking magazine and a brief bio-sketch on Sriracha Hot Sauce by Huy Fong foods to a young mom and her depressed 2nd-grade daughter, who was stuck with her in the kitchen of a nearby service station.

I’m continuing to offer relevant follow-up articles of mine to the Tyler First 2020 Open House leaders. It was a great event just before the Coronavirus shutdown at the Rose Garden city’s convention building with plenty of posters, handouts, and websites. Urban studies have been a hobby of mine for many years—even longer than health.

As for being entertaining, I asked Facebook associates if they would like to share information on interior decorating accomplishments during the shutdown. Besides lots of counter and table dusting and paper sorting and trashing, I rearranged some decorative bar stools. I did receive several responses–including some photos from someone who rearranged some heavy tools in his garage!

Wish us luck in being informative, entertaining, and persuasive.  There’s a new Facebook group called, “Support Our Local Tyler Businesses During COVID-19.” Hopefully, politics will take more of a back seat with me in the near future.

 

 

 

Blood Cancer Research Annotated Link Page—Including Eastern & Natural Medicine By J.D. Meyer

1. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Cancers/ Three Kinds of Blood Cancer: (1) Leukemia, (2) Lymphoma, and (3) Myeloma.

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25136372 “Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia from traditional Chinese medicine.” Highlights from Abstract: “Methotrexate (MTX) is a drug used in the treatment of various cancer and autoimmune diseases……Therefore, MTX can inhibit the synthesis of DNA. However, MTX has cytotoxicity and neurotoxin may cause multiple organ injury and is potentially lethal…..Our results show that the TCM compounds adenosine triphosphate, manninotriose, raffinose, and stachyose could have potential to improve the side effects of MTX for ALL treatment.”

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenosine_triphosphate “ATP is a complex organic chemical that provides energy to drive many processes in living cells, e.g. muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, chemical synthesis. Found in all forms of life, ATP is often referred to as the “molecular unit of currency” of intracellular energy transfer.[1] When consumed in metabolic processes, it converts either to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or to adenosine monophosphate (AMP). Other processes regenerate ATP so that the human body recycles its own body weight equivalent in ATP each day.[2] It is also a precursor to DNA and RNA, and is used as a coenzyme.”

4. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/leukemia.htm TREATMENT OF LEUKEMIA USING INTEGRATED CHINESE AND WESTERN MEDICINE, by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon. Highlight: “While specific nutritional approaches have not been developed for leukemia, certain general methods can be applied:
a. Make sure the individual is receiving adequate basic dietary nutrients, such as proteins, fats (preferably unsaturated), and carbohydrates. Monitor body weight and muscle strength, and take further action if there is not improvement, including recommending easy-to-use concentrated nutrition sources.
b. Provide additional nutrients and a high level of antioxidants using supplements (11). General anticancer substances may be tried, including flavonoids (quercetin, genestein, tea polyphenols), minerals (selenium), and vitamins (high dose vitamins A, C, and E). Even if these fail to produce a cancer-inhibiting action, they may provide other benefits for persons in the age group that suffers from chronic leukemia.
c. When possible, use Oriental dietary techniques to match the dietary components to the symptom/sign pattern (12). For example, use cooling foods for fevers, astringent foods for sweating, yin-nourishing foods for yin deficiency patterns, etc. Make sure the suggestions include using foods that can reasonably be obtained and prepared.”

5. https://blog.yinyanghouse.com/posts/one-more-reason-to-eat-your-veggies-significant-leukemia-risk-reduction Highlight: “Their analysis found that there was a significant decrease in leukemia risk as the vegetable intake was increased. Interestingly, they did not see a significant raised risk from red meat, poultry, fish, or fruits. The primary factors in elevating the risk were frequent intakes of “fat, deep-fried, and smoked” foods. They concluded that “diets rich in vegetables and adequate amount of milk reduce the risk of adult leukemia.

6. http://www.a-healthy-body.com/the-top-10-health-benefits-of-turmeric-plus-how-to-use-it-in-everything/#comment-92 “The Top 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric (Plus, How To Use It In Everything).” The most relevant benefits vs. cancer are probably #3 “Turmeric helps boost your immune system” & #5. “Turmeric can help treat and prevent cancer.”

FOOTNOTE (Initial Reaction): “I’m sorry to hear of your father’s illness. If my health research turns up anything, I’ll let you know. CoQ10 is great for cardiovascular diseases, and Dr. Peter Langsjoen of Tyler is one of the major authorities on CoQ10 in the world! But that may not apply for cancer.”

“Skillful Teaching through Facilitating Discussion—Teaching skills is an essential pillar of a competent CHW and CHWI,” a lecture by Dr. Shannon Cox-Kelley, summarized by J.D. Meyer

This was the first lecture at the 2018 Community Health Workers Conference for the NE TX CHW Coalition, July 13, 2018.

The NE TX CHW Coalition Conference featured two main lectures and three breakout sessions. The first main lecture was by Dr. Shannon Cox-Kelley –Dean of Health Science–who teaches in the Community & Public Health degree program at NE TX Community College. She received all of her degrees at Texas A&M at Commerce and is a noted online distance educator.

Dr. Cox-Kelly cited four occasions to use discussion: (1) Evaluate evidence. (2) Formulate application of principles. (3) Foster motivation for further learning. (4) Articulate what has been already learned—theory behind the discussion.

Memory is linked to how deeply we think about something. A research interest cited in Dr. Cox-Kelley’s biography really clicked with me: “the impact of educational attainment on health outcomes in diverse communities.” My disabling condition is COPD, but as a Master’s degree holder and former all-level teacher (mainly Developmental English/Writing: the Pre-College Composition course), I’ve learned to study my conditions. (Yes, I have other health issues). I write Word Press articles on health and make binders full of info on medicine, ER reports, and journal articles.

Returning to Dr. Cox-Kelley, she notes that relationships are key, and we have a need to know why and how information is needed. The CHW Instructor could start with controversy like a “devil’s advocate,” but one should announce it in advance to maintain trust. Uncertainty arouses curiosity; switch sides. Focus on solving problems rather than the solution.

Many students are passive and quiet since we’re taught to memorize in secondary education. An increasingly popular practice is to flip the class and have the lecture at night on You Tube or something like it. Then the classroom becomes a place for total discussion. This flip improved passing rates at Dr. Cox-Kelley’s junior college. Think, don’t memorize.

How to start with questions means to start with desired outcomes. Factual questions increase problem-solving. Application and interpretation questions find connections. Problem questions can induce critical thinking. Comparison questions can evaluate readings.

Dr. Cox-Kelley cites principles behind case studies: (1) Increase focus. (2) Break cases into sub-problems. (3) Socratic questioning, and (4) Lead students toward intended outcomes. Once again, passive students can be a possible barrier, as well as failure for students to see value.

Dr. Cox-Kelley cited Discussions as a Way of Teaching, by S.D. Brookfield and S. Breskill (1999) as a fine relevant book. Students can experience a fear of looking stupid and the inability to consider alternative sides because of emotional attachment. Are they trying to find a correct answer or explore? Helping emotional reactions includes asserting the value of discussion and keeping opinions and verbalization in perspective. To conclude, collaboration is better than competition.

“Skillful Teaching through Facilitating Discussion” lived up to its subtitle of teaching skills being an essential pillar of both the Community Health Worker (CHW) and CHW Instructor (CHWI). Furthermore, Dr. Cox-Kelley’s lecture reached out to teachers looking for a second career or a stimulating cause in retirement.

Questions to Ask Someone with COPD (2nd Edition), by J.D. Meyer

1. What inhalers do you use? A rescue inhaler, like Pro-Air, was my first. Now, I usually take Combivent.

2. Do you use a nebulizer with albuterol or albuterol-ipratropium? Nebulizer fluid is an extra strength version of rescue inhalers with the same chemicals.

3. Do you use a twice daily inhaled corticosteroid, such as Advair or Symbicort?

4. Do you have a pulmonologist? I go to Pulmonary Specialists of Tyler on Fleishel, behind ETMC. Dr. Luis Destarac is my doctor. I get allergy shots there too. I’m allergic to Bermuda & Johnson grass.

5. Do you have lots of phlegm sometimes? Take Mucinex, and you can get the generic version at Family Dollar that’s cheaper.

6. Have you ever been to the ER for an exacerbation? Have you been there lately? More often or less often over the years?

7. Do you have sleep apnea? Do you have a C-PAP?

8. Do you have an oxygen machine with nasal canula?

9. Do you still smoke cigarettes? I quit a few years ago.

10. Have you ever had asthma? Child asthma can go away, & it’s more common. I developed asthma at age 28 & COPD at age 46. Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS) is characterized by more dyspnea (breathlessness), more phlegm, but better response to inhaled corticosteroids (such as Advair). Some COPD inhalers, like Onoro, can be fatal to those with asthma also!!

http://www.healthcommunities.com/copd/early-stage-copd.shtml Early COPD.

https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/dealing-with-a-bad-copd-exacerbation-maybe-dodging-an-e-r-visit/ On reducing ER Trips.

Budget ACA: 3-10 Essential Benefits, 2nd Edition, by J.D. Meyer

1. Ambulatory patient services. [Outpatient care]
2. Emergency services.
3. Hospitalization. [Inpatient care]
4. Maternity and newborn care
5.Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.
6. Prescription drugs.
7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
8. Laboratory services
9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management;
10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Health insurance plans must cover these benefits https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_health_benefits

Right now, it’s all ten or none. Pay a fine if you choose none……. How about a budget version: (2) Emergency Services, (6) Prescription Drugs, & (1) Ambulatory patient services [Outpatient care]? Limit eligible clients to those who make $20K/year or less.

Let’s change the paradigm from younger healthy people would rather pay a fine than go for all ten. My new proposed paradigm is let the poor choose the three most important!

I know what it’s like to work over 40 hours/week with three part-time jobs and no insurance: adjunct instructor at a community college, construction assistant, and substitute teacher. This was my career from 1994-1999. I’d developed asthma in 1987. Trust me, summer is construction asst. only, and that faded out of the picture after I got a full-time teaching job (2001-2006), followed by COPD (2005).

Why did I choose those three benefits? Emergency Room visits are very expensive, and in the USA, we let the sickly get help and hopefully pay later. I got on Medicaid by showing my record of ER visits from 2008-2012 to social workers, despite living in Texas—the largest state not to expand Medicaid.

I could afford an inhaler and nebulizer fluid, but not Advair. Fortunately, I learned about botanicas from living in a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood and got gordolobo (mullein leaves) and eucalyptus.

I went to clinics that generally served the poorer part of the population. Through “Ambulatory patient care [Outpatient care],” more would be able to afford the office visits themselves and have a regular doctor.

I hope my “Budget ACA: 3-10” brings a helpful new angle to American Health Care. It’s such a hotly debated topic, and we seem to have more difficulties than most OECD nations. My first edition was mistaken in choosing 9. Preventive and Wellness Services and Chronic Disease Management over 1. Ambulatory Patient Services [Outpatient care]. Outpatient care is more basic.I bet plenty of poor people would rather buy “Budget ACA: 3-10” than pay a fine–looking forward to feedback.

COPD Dude Goes to a Chiropractor with the Impulse Adjusting Instrument, by J.D. Meyer

I taught for 20 years, especially Developmental English/Writing & ESOL–before my COPD got too bad. Now I’m on SSDI with Medicare, Medicaid, and Cigna Health Spring insurance. I have gone to chiropractors on a regular basis twice in my life–after my asthma diagnosis and need for an albuterol nebulizer, but before the COPD verdict: emphysema and bronchitis.

Bratcher Chiropractic is a father-son team and the only Cigna-approved chiropractors in Tyler, Texas. The chiropractic science has really changed in the last fourteen years! There’s no more roller ball on a table kneading your back like bread dough, followed by the doc popping you with his hands in the three regions of your back. Nowadays, there’s a wild little machine that looks like a home construction tool called the Impulse Adjustment Instrument, and it is wonderful! The pamphlet describes the benefits as (1) Extreme Speed, (2) Controlled Force, and (3) Frequency Tuned Waveform.

The Extreme Speed refers to the Impulse being “twice as fast as other adjusting instruments, and 100x faster than manual adjustments. The gentle thrust is faster than the body’s tendency to tighten up and resist the adjustment.” Believe me, my neck used to be very resistant to popping by hand! Controlled Force describes the “three different force settings for different parts of the body and to treat patients of all ages.” Frequency Tuned Waveform shows that the “Impulse is specifically tuned to the natural frequency of the body that joints, muscles, and nerves respond.” The impulse is “controlled by micro-computer circuitry housed within the device.”The Impulse Adjusting Instrument is patented and an FDA (Food & Drug Administration) registered device.

So far (three visits), my doctor has commented that I only have 50% movement in my neck and a dislocated rib cage! It turns out that the bad lung crowd is vulnerable to such rib cage issues. The sessions are really faster than chiropractic treatments of yesteryear.

By the way, I quit driving a car several years ago, and have become a recognized authority on the the Tyler Transit. It’s a journey starting with Purple South (or Red South), followed by Yellow SW. This time on the way back, I just took one bus to the second hub–Bergfeld Center and walked the 1.3 miles home.

When I got home, I happily made the following announcement, “I just overcame a mental block. For the first time, I walked home from Bergfeld Center (actually the CVS to be exact). I walked down Broadway to beautiful Charnwood, then crossed over to Houston from tiny Niblack. I had just been to Bratcher Chiropractic. My FEV (Forced Exhale Volume–peak flow meter) was a staggeringly high (for me) 350 upon entering my place!!….Many times I’ve walked home from La Michoacana and Downtown–roughly the same distance. …Ready for the I have a Dream event Downtown at 6:30.”

I will be going to Bratcher Chiropractic twice a week for several weeks. While I wait for the Yellow SW to return, I’ve gone to a Wal-Mart grocery store in search of strong cheap red wine and beer, granola bars, and spicy Taki snacks. My backpack contains reading and writing material, along with my lined canvas bag for groceries–and even lunch. So my adventure is more than medical, it’s travel to an unfamiliar part of the city for me.

I’m keeping my G.P. and pulmonologist updated on my progress–a practice that reveals my love of teaching and research. Remember those middle back vertebrae are connected to your lungs. Consider getting chiropractic treatment if you have asthma or COPD.

2017 NE TX Community Health Worker Coalition Conference, By J.D. Meyer

The 2017 Northeast Texas Community Health Worker (CHW) Coalition Conference was held on July 14th at TJC West. According to the official booklet, the CHW conference addresses “the role CHW Workers/Instructors play in creating access to care, reducing care costs, and promoting health and happy communities.” The Conference stressed “the importance of CHW(I)’s reducing health disparities; return on investment; and methods of overcoming barriers to CHW(I) program success.” Participants who attended the entire conference received six CEU (Continuing Education Units). “Presentations can be downloaded after the conference at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/y7brtht7

There were three main presentations. “The CHW and Public Health: The UT Health NE Experience,” was delivered by Jeffrey L. Levin, M.D. “Creating and Maintaining Health Workplace Environments,” was given by Terrence Ates, M.ED and Detective John Ragland. “CHW Self-Care—Focusing on You While Giving to the Community,” was presented by LaShonda Malrey-Horne, MPH.
The CHW of the Year was presented to the late Cynthia Keppard, the former director of the NE TX CHW Coalition. Several of her family members were in attendance.
There were three Breakout Sessions also—a choice of 18 sessions. First, I attended “Helping Clients Self Manage Chronic Disease,” by Marcus Wade, LMSW & CHWI. Then I went to “A Community Health Worker’s Guide to Texercise Classic,” by Jeanie Gallegly, MS & CHWI. The last breakout session for me was “Tobacco Danger,” by Lana Herriman, BS.
There were several organizations serving as vendors and sponsors. For example, I was able to pick up the Cigna Health Spring Provider Directory and Over-the-Counter Products Catalog in the lobby. Lunch was from Jason’s Subs; snacks were available too. Once again, the annual NE TX CHW Coalition Conference was a success that drew a huge crowd.

Dealing with a Bad COPD Exacerbation & Maybe Dodging an E.R. Visit (4th Edition)

By J.D. (“Joffre”) Meyer
Those of us with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) live with the strong risk of an exacerbation that is severe enough to go to the Emergency Room by way of ambulance. I developed asthma 18 years before COPD too. We face a mix of lung spasms, excess chest phlegm, and a low FEV (Forced Exhale Volume). Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS) is known for increased breathlessness and sputum–but a better response to inhaled corticosteroids.

It’s typical for me to have some coughing and wheezing when I awake, and sometimes after a walk. Choice #1 is using an asthma rescue inhaler, such as Combivent or Pro-Air. It’s like a “Bud Light” version of the nebulizer, as both use albuterol. Combivent is stronger, and it also has ipratropium. But the likelihood of its effectiveness goes downhill if our attack is more than simply mild. Rule #2 is not to take the long-term inhalers during an acute attack, such as Advair or Symbicort, and Singulair.

So we go for our dear friend, the nebulizer, and pour a vial of albuterol or albuterol-ipratropium in the receptacle. We get “Albut-Iprat” when our condition becomes worse. I just started getting Combivent, the stronger “Albut-Iprat” inhaler. Our next choice is mask or “pipe.” Most say the pipe-like hose is better because we get more of the medicine. So here’s my first original suggestion. If you wear the mask, put your oxygen canula up your nose (assuming you own one). Really tired COPD sufferers may have difficulties with the pipe. Lately, I’ve switched back to the pipe-like breathing tube. Furthermore, I’ve started holding a lozenge in my mouth while I inhale my albuterol from the nebulizer. The lozenge is menthol and maybe eucalyptus too. That way, the cooling anti-inflammatory elements of the lozenge shoot directly to your lungs, as opposed to staying in your mouth and keeping you from coughing phlegm. My guess has been approved by real doctors!

Speaking of phlegm, keep a plastic can with a lid handy, such as my old Folger’s coffee can, the regular 10.3 oz. size. Don’t even consider swallowing that phlegm. I’m not trying to be funny because it’s not. Don’t expect to be able to run to spit in the nearest toilet or sink either. Make sure you drink enough water too–a likely weak area for most people. 1.5 liters daily should be enough since other fluids are okay; vegetables and fruits are full of water too. I use an attractive purple jug for my water, so I’ll notice it better! I can keep the squirt cap on when I take my many morning pills. Then I remove the cap for water guzzling! Now I’m exploring fruit-flavored water to increase my likelihood of really hydrating. Furthermore, local water systems have been breaking down lately!

Now let’s look at the OTC (over-the-counter) medicines. For your chest congestion, take some guaifenesin; that is, Mucinex or a generic version. COPD is a mix of emphysema and bronchitis. Bronchitis is like having a perpetual chest cold while emphysema is a destruction of the lung sacs and a lack of elasticity in the lungs.

What if you have nasal congestion? A saline nasal spray will open a constricted nose. Later I submitted this article to COPD Breathing Buddies of Facebook, and I was warned about Sudafed. This drug may reduce nasal congestion, but Sudafed can raise your blood pressure, which may happen anyway during a COPD attack. In the past, I added Mullein leaves (gordolobo), eucalyptus leaves to my morning coffee drip bin before I got health insurance but lived next door to a Mexican botanica. My goal is to reduce inflammation. Garlic pieces and ginger slices work too.

If you have severe or moderate COPD, take your Daliresp pill. I have allergies to Bermuda & Johnson Grass, so I have allergy pills to take–an OTC generic equivalent of Claritin called Loratadine, a non-drowsy tablet and now Montelukast, my newest prescription. Montelukast is actually the pill version of Singulair, and one of the cheaper lung-related prescriptions. I keep a daily pill reminder box by my bed, as I have a total of six per day–not all bad lungs related. By the way, since you’re taking all these pills have a water bottle next to your bed. The more water you drink, the more the mucus will be thinned.
Here’s my second original tip. If you have a C-PAP machine for sleep apnea, you can use it when you’re wide awake to force air into your inelastic, sagging emphysema-ridden lungs! Don’t overuse your nebulizer; try a wide range of strategies to stop the COPD attack.
Lately, I started taking Vitamin D and magnesium. I read a wonderful booklet about the benefits of magnesium for the lungs after my move of February 2018.

Please check out my methods for battling severe COPD exacerbations! Maybe I have a higher tolerance for pain than many, or a fear of walking home from the E.R. before sunrise? I wrote this article after coping with a severe attack lasted for 1 hour & 40 minutes; editing followed the intial blog!!
And when you quit choking, take those long-lasting spray/powders: Advair or Symbicort and Singulair or whatever.

Consider calling your G.P. M.D. later for an office visit. After this epic COPD attack, I got a shot of Salumedrol, a steroid, at her office. Then I got prescriptions for prednisone pills and a Z-Pac antibiotic.