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Repeated Episodes of Pneumonia

Starting a couple of months ago Michael and Chad both got sick and it settled immediately into their lungs. Our Physician’s Assistant prescribed them antibiotics and steroids. This seemed to help but then Michael seemed to go downhill. He was more lethargic than usual. I took him to the ER where they gave him an IV of fluids and tested him for Covid. It came back positive so it was assumed that both he and Chad had Covid. With the treatment of IV solutions for hydration and the antibiotics and steroids, after a week they were doing better.

A week later they both started getting sick again. This went on with recovery and sickness a couple more times. Each time they were given steroids and/or antibiotics which seemed to work for a short time but pretty soon they were sick again.

A little over a week ago they saw our regular doctor, Jarrod. He was very patient and explained a lot to us. He said that, of course, repeating antibiotics wasn’t healthy for their system. He always puts them on Nystatin after antibiotics which helps the system rebound from the antibiotics but it is still preferable to not need to be treated with antibiotics if it can be helped.

My take-away from our visit with Jarrod was that our bodies work a lot like a machine. For example, the lungs are like bellows that fuel a fire. Deep inhalation and exhalation helps the bellows work more efficiently. It also fuels a hotter fire which feeds our bodies. With our lungs, this deep breathing also helps to clear out anything that might be settling in the lungs that could grow bacteria and possibly develop into pneumonia. This deep breathing is very difficult for my Myotonic Dystrophy – DM, so we’ve had to figure out ways to help them deep breathe.

I realized that my family needs to move their bodies more, inside and out. They need to use inspiration spirometers to help them breathe deep into their lungs, some of them also use albuterol inhalers. They also need some form of exercise which forces the entire body to work harder. As is well known, DM individuals tend to be lethargic and they have a hard time initiating activity. I realized that it was my responsibility to get my family to be more active and do deep breathing. Now I consider myself the manager of the Woodbury business (a business of helping our family thrive).

Kent has been fairly easy to motivate though I do have to remind him often, and sometimes coax, or it doesn’t happen. Lately we have been going to the gym and walking on the treadmill in their room with a large movie screen. It’s amazing how quickly the 20 minutes goes by when we are in front of a classic movie.

I took Michael and Chad with me to the gym the first couple of times. Chad moaned and complained. He said that I didn’t give him enough warning. He also wanted to negotiate the terms so that he exercised Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I told him that the guidelines are to exercise most days of the week. That means that 4 days a week is the minimum. I continued to encourage him and told him that in no uncertain terms that he was going to go with me to exercise and he had to go when it was convenient for me. After several times of taking him to the gym he started to realize that if he goes for a walk in his neighborhood or if he drives over to my house and rides my stationary bike before I take him to the gym then he doesn’t have to go with me. Chad and Michael started doing these forms of exercise so that they didn’t have to go with me. I love that they found ways to not have to do it the way that I was demanding. That has worked for a couple of weeks. I think that they are starting to miss days now and I need to get back on them again.

With walking regularly, Michael, Chad and Kent all got very sore muscles. Not just a good sore that you notice and remember that you exercised. But so sore that they were moving with great pain and effort. We initially started walking for 20 minutes and I didn’t think to tell them to start slowly. The pain that they developed from walking with me almost put a halt to it. We had to take a step back and sometimes only walk for 5 minutes, sometimes they needed NSAIDs-pain pills. We had to get better shoes for Chad. We got through it but with a lot of encouragement on my part and also with reducing the expectations for a week or two. I have to give it to them, with my encouragement they never stopped and now their muscles aren’t sore anymore.

Jarrod also had us make a very dilute solution of mostly water with minimal amounts of colloidal silver, salt, and hydrogen peroxide. We put it in a spray bottle with a fine mist. Because of the poor movement in Michael and Chad’s body and mouth, they always have a build-up of mucous in the back of their throat which is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Morning and night (more often if they’re starting to feel sick) they spray this solution in the back of their throat, try to move the liquid around in their mouth, and spit out what they can.

There are also multiple other preventative things that we do like Vit. C, Vit. D, consuming large amounts of protein, getting current with our pneumonia vaccines, etc. It seems that we may be turning the corner so that they don’t keep repeatedly getting congestion in their lungs that needs to be treated with antibiotics and steroids.

It’s obvious that we need to move our bodies to stay healthy. But carrying through with that, especially for someone with DM, is very difficult. I’m sure that I will always need to be the coach and manager of my family in order to make sure that they continue these habits.

Both Michael and Chad already have stretches that they need to do. Michael’s is for his gastro-intestinal system. Chad’s is for his plantar fasciitis. Because they have been doing these for such a long period of time and because they suffer if they don’t do them, they have become healthy habits.

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