My asthma and I have a sort of mutual agreement not to bother each other much, but it's starting to creep up on me as I get older.
I started getting asthma when I was about 14, but didn't know it at the time, because it was misdiagnosed by my parents as "overreacting to simple hayfever." I had serious allergies at the time, like breaking out in hives, wheezing, and all spring was nothing but one runny nose. Those small tissue travel packs? I'd go through 2 a day, which got expensive. Finally I just bought hankies and used about 2 a day, alternating as one would get soaked, and then washing them when I got home from school. Gross.
It was like this until I reached 21, when one day, I stopped breathing. I was rushed to the hospital and they cheerfully told me I had asthma. I told them that wasn't right. They said, "Oh, yes it is. See, we gave you asthma medicine, and you got better, too. You have classic asthma." Several doctor visits later, I found out I had untreated asthma for so long, my lungs had actually sustained permanent damage. So now I have to have an inhaler with me at all times.
Two years ago, I got a very bad case of double pneumonia. They wanted to hospitalize me, but Christine was still recovering from her ankle mishap, and I couldn't stay away from home. They gave me a lot of meds, and I got better, but ever since then ... it's been a little harder to get around. I am out of breath more, and they had to strengthen my inhaler with a combo of Pulmicort, Zyrtec, and they changed my inhaler from Venolin to Serevent. Prescriptions cost a lot of money, so I haven't been taking them as much as I should. Okay, I haven't taken the Pulmicort for over a year, and I only use Zyrtec when I really have problems. If I took all my meds like I was supposed to, it would cost roughly $54 a month for all the co-pays, and I don't have that kind of money to goof around with. Besides, asthma doesn't bother me that much. I use my inhaler very sparingly, so it often goes bad before I use it up. The Serevent I have now is only the second one I have every had, I got that back in June of 2002, and it's still half-full.
Last night, without warning, my asthma exploded into the worst attack I have had since the bout with double pneumonia. Now, I know I have been "pushing off" a cold, but in the last two days, I seemed to have defeated it, although I am still rather tired (and that may be because I'm only getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night). I am not at death's door or anything, crawling on the floor to get to my Life Alert keychain, in fact, I am at work typing this between meetings. But I hate the shortness of breath, and then I feel guilty I haven't been taking all my meds like I should. But I don't feel sick, I don't feel like there's junk in my lungs (like, I am not wheezing), and so I have no idea what brought this on. It feels terrible when I lie down (which is why I have almost no sleep), and I get out of wind after just a few steps, but if I am upright and not moving much, I am fine, which is an improvement over last night.
I told this to my boss, and he said, "At 2:00am? Yeah, I had the SAME THING!" CR is also in bed sick, although I am not totally convinced this is related. Maybe they put something in the air. Of course, with the "High Terrorist Alert," I get paranoid...
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000339.html