Heat Waves Drained Me, but Our Wedding Anniversary Helped Me to Chill

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

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Finally … some relief! 

It’s been an exhausting few weeks along the East Coast. The weather has taken a toll, particularly on people like me who live with sarcoidosis and have breathing issues. Over the last two weeks, we’ve had to deal with at least three separate heat waves here in Philly, and it’s about to get even more challenging.

During this stretch of heat, I’ve kept to my normal routine: going to the gym, running errands for my wife, taking my mother-in-law to the store. The hot weather affects my breathing. I make sure to use my inhaler on days when the temperature rises above 95 degrees, especially if I’m spending time outdoors. I bring my portable oxygen tank with me when I go out, in case I become short of breath. I try to behave as a “sensible” person would, which means that I stay out of other people’s way, take my time moving around, and keep myself hydrated.

Feeling emotionally spent

The heat waves left me feeling emotionally drained. I distanced myself from my family, recognizing that anxiety and depression associated with sarcoidosis were a factor. My emotions caught me off guard because I had been feeling upbeat about not being in the hospital this summer.

I was still feeling withdrawn a few days before my wedding anniversary. My wife and I usually plan a fun day where we sip Champagne all day, treat ourselves to something special on the grill, and relax. How many men do you know who look forward to their wedding anniversary?

This time last year, I was in the intensive care unit (ICU) at my local hospital suffering from crepitus. I was moved out of the ICU into the lung center just in time to celebrate our anniversary. My wife and kids visited, and we enjoyed Chinese takeout, including my favorite: wonton and egg drop soup. I truly believed that the soup helped me to recuperate.

It was no wonder that I was feeling emotionally “off” this year. Thinking about all that my wife and I had been through last year, I felt guilty about putting her in this situation and having to rely on her help with some things I used to do myself. She’s an incredible person, and I believe that my recovery would have taken longer if I didn’t have her by my side.

Celebrating milestones

The day of our anniversary was “different” for me. It rained in the early morning. My wife had to work, so we had no “fun day” scheduled. She mentioned that she would take the following day off so that we could do something in the evening. But intermittent thunderstorms prevented us from making plans. We decided on a bottle of Champagne, Netflix, and chill.

She came home, we popped a bottle, she read her card, and we wished each other a happy anniversary. We reminisced about how we celebrated last year in the hospital, and I appreciated the many reasons we had to mark our wedding anniversary. I began to feel better having realized that we had made it through a year of incredibly challenging milestones. Despite all of the time I had spent in hospital last year, I’ve made it so far this year without any setbacks. I felt liberated from the feelings of anxiety, doubt, and fear that had been holding me back. I can now enjoy the summer for the first time in two years.

The next day, we went out to lunch and spent the afternoon together. We laughed about our early years as two fools in love and talked about our future. We discussed my condition, but we didn’t let it put a damper on our time together. We met in high school, dated, got married, and became parents, and now through all that we’ve experienced together over the past two years, we’ve also become best friends.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


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