I’ve had asthma all my life. it’s a part of me, and i don’t know what it’s like to not have it. i don’t know what it’s like to be able to do any physical activity without using my inhaler; i don’t know what it’s like to just leave the house and not worry about remembering to bring my inhaler with me in case I have an episode; I especially don’t know what it’s like to just breathe freely.
I use my inhaler on a daily basis, and when I can afford it, I also use Advair 2x a day as a preventative. Everything and nothing are triggers. I can be sitting at my desk and suddenly need my inhaler. I can also pet an animal and need it. I can go for a run and need it. I can LAUGH too hard and need it. Walking from inside room temperature to a drastically different outside temperature is a huge trigger for me. It’s literally everything and anything and it’s so frustrating.
I had to go to the E.R. last night for an attack that my rescue inhaler couldn’t help. I had been cleaning all day and all the dust, dirt, and cat hair that got kicked up really set it off. By 1 AM, I was wheezing, could not take large breaths, and had chest pain that just wouldn’t go away. I finally decided that I needed to go to the hospital, so off we went. When we got there and they saw that I was having an asthma attack, they immediately had me go into triage, and I just started crying. Not because I was scared, not because I didn’t know what to expect (I’ve had to do this countless times), but because I was so FRUSTRATED. and ANGRY. All I could think was “THIS IS SO ANNOYING.” An asthma attack is expensive (nebulizer treatment is not cheap), inconvenient (almost always happens at night for me), uncomfortable, and I’m helpless to it. I can prevent all I want, but sometimes even that isn’t enough and it just happens. I’m sure the nurse thought I was crying because I was scared but honestly I was just pissed off. Long story short: I got my nebulizer treatment (double the meds this time because it was pretty bad), got a nifty (although rather large) addition to my inhaler to help me get the albuterol into my system better, and was on my way.
so let’s get to the wake up call. This morning I woke up feeling totally wrecked - allergies in full force, sinuses clogged, back aching from all the labored breathing from the attack. I sat in my living room and thought - what caused it this time? I don’t understand. I know the cleaning really set it off, but my asthma had been worse lately overall. As I thought about the last few weeks, I realized that it was a bunch of things that cumulated to the attack last night. I believe the following contributed:
- Eating processed/crappy food, especially a higher intake of refined carbs - and not eating enough fresh fruits & vegetables
- Working at a camp out in the middle of nowhere with lots of dust/dirt/pollen/allergens in general
- drinking alcohol - I went for a long time without having ANY and then I had a few beers and I do really think it affected me/my immune system
- Less exercise than usual
- lack of cleaning - we have a cat (and of course I’m allergic) and we had a really crappy vacuum that wasn’t getting up all the cat hair. We just got a new vacuum so hopefully that will help.
So, starting now, I’m going to try and address each and every one of those items on the list. This honestly isn’t about vanity anymore. Before I was like, “oh I want to be thin and fit and get muscle and look hot! eating healthy is good too though.” now, it’s more like “I have to eat well and exercise and be a healthy human being so I don’t end up in the hospital.” It’s better that way, honestly, because then that’s my “excuse” that I can lean on. I can justify to myself in my head, “well I HAVE to do this, or else I’m going to wind up back in the hospital!”
I’m tired of not being able to breathe. I’m tired of expensive hospital visits. I’m tired of spending tons of money on inhalers. I’m tired of not being able to do all the physical activity I want. I’m tired of constantly worrying if I have my inhaler with me or not.
It’s time to take control and free myself from this disease. Bring it on bro.