Friday, February 22

Medical system, you leave me breathless. Literally

Wednesday was the big day. I woke up at 7am to finish my first paper for a literature professor who is legendary on campus for being critical of essays.

At 10:30, I was forced to abandon my essay so I could present an outline of my work for anthropology class. Shortly after arriving, I noticed that I could not stop yawning. True, I had only gotten five hours of sleep the night before. Still, the continual yawning was rather embarrassing. After a while, my embarrassment shifted to concern: I was yawning about once a minute. Having already drank three cups of coffee and taken Adderall, this seemed a bit excessive.

Now examining the yawns more critically, I pinpointed the reason for their constant return. Each time, I only got about 3/4 through before stopping. Concerned, I now tried yawning all the way through, but to no avail. I tried taking several deep breaths. Each one got cut off near the end, at which point a new yawn attacked.

Being unable to breathe as I pleased was rather disconcerting. I was also tempted to announce the problem before a presentation in my second class, but realized that I only wanted to tell people this so they would forgive me if the presentation was sub-par. Instead, I gave my presentation and then yawned my way through the rest of the class.

Worried that the problem would get worse or was caused by something like pneumonia, I went to my school's health center the next day. The only problem the nurse found was an enlarged thyroid gland. Apparently it was large enough to be partially obstructing my airway.

Since I'm not in pain, my thyroid isn't getting larger, and my blood is still adequately oxygenated, all the nurse did was draw blood and make an appointment for an ultrasound of my thyroid... next Tuesday.

Now I get to enjoy all the benefits of shallow breathing* and the appetizing prospect of hypothyroidism for around a week while I wait for results.

*These include but are not limited to: reduced guilt about not going to the gym, fear of walking, continued yawning, frustration, and simultaneous feelings of helplessness and uselessness.


Sarah said...

Welcome to the club! I'm getting my blood test back on my thyroid today!

Anonymous said...

I have totally had that feeling (my thyroid is fine but the awful feeling of not being able to take a deep breath and the constant yawning). I think it's related to anxiety....could that be possible for you?

Ripsy said...

That's so old school. I am on to anemia.

Ms. Cynic said...

Before you said anything about thyroid problems, I would was going to say that you were having an anxiety attack. I used to get those BAD, and you hit the nail on the head with the "3/4th of a yawn" description; however, since the health center said you had an enlarged thyroid...I dunno. I got blood drawn, had chest xrays, and everything came back normal. Finally, my doctor concluded that I just had severe anxiety.

The Ambiguous Blob said...

aw man- yawning makes me tired. I hope it's nothing serious.

Anonymous said...

so what happened with the ultrasound?

Cara Hurley said...

Hey, where are you? Are you okay?

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Anonymous said...

Hi there. I know this is an older post but I found it by googling "excessive yawning + adderall"
I have taken Adderall on and off for 15 years for my ADD. I'm 28 now. I have also been suffering from the excessive yawning and the inability to complete the yawn; air hunger. It became so bad a few months ago that my fiancee had to take me to the ER. I was diagnosed with Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome. I did some research online and was amazed at how many people suffer from this same thing and all the effects it has on your body.
Most people suffer in silence and don't know about this, so I thought I would share.

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