well @ least he didn't bring the chainsaw to the hospital!
yeah me too...laughter & a sense of humor has been my saving grace.
okay...take what happened to you with the inflammation, and that's sorta the same thing that went on with me.
what i have as damage from the RA is pleurel thickening and bronchial thickening (which took a LONG time to rule out ALS! yikes! back & forth from neurologist to pulmonologist...scary) and emphysema. RA can indeed effect the lungs, some peepes grow nodules.
it was all unflammation and RA related (chronic pleuritis too & costo as leftovers) as the lung problems will ease with the TNFmeds.
all of the valves in the heart were damaged from complications of RA, yes rheumatic fever at the beginning. and also strep infections to the heart. mine are scarred & thickened from inflammation.
it took years to weed out what was the cause. given that i was 21...it made it a little easier as they can rule out other heart disease better.
but like yourself...i still am EASILY out of breath! like washing a dish will do it. (and in 1999 i was running 10 miles every other day!)
medical doctors i think diagnose rheumatic heart & lung diseases by looking at all of the factors & progression of events, age, onset of damage, and ruling out age & congenital related heart defects. as people age, in their 60 & 70's...they develop inflammatory heart disease without any RA or related diseases, so it can be a hard thing to diagnose if one is ages 40 to 60 i suppose?
wow...you had a rough go of things. i wish all of the best in the world!