Wednesday, May 17, 2006

GASP!!

For most of my life, I've taken breathing for granted. Day in and day out, I've been blithely breathing both in and out and thinking nothing of it.

And then last week, I found myself gasping for air, feeling like I was suffocating. Walking across the parking lot to the doctor's office was an uphill journey, even though the parking lot was completely flat.

I was sure I was going to be admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. So sure, in fact, that I had set out jammies and other things for my parents to pick up for me when I called them about what was going on.

But no. I have asthma. And where, may I ask, did THAT come from?? I thought, no biggy. I'll take a couple of hits from an inhaler and will be fine.

It's a week later and I am doing better. But I'm going to need some education about this stuff. I've already found out that it wasn't as sudden as I thought. In reading about it, I've apparently had it for a very long time. Like, forever. And 8:35 PM seems to be some kind of magical gasping hour. I will have had a wonderful lung-filled day; but at 8:35 -- gasp, wheeze and cough. Then there's the no-sleeping thing because that Albuterol stuff is stronger than St@rbucks coffee.

AND, there's my impeccable timing. I'm experiencing the wonderful world of wheezing just in time for a paradigm shift in the make-up of the medication. Apparently in order to protect the ozone, the inhalers are being changed and will no longer have ozone-eating fluorocarbons. Now, I admit I'm new at this stuff, but exactly how are inhalers adversely affecting the ozone? Unless I've been doing it incorrectly, an inhaler is (follow me here) INHALED. So..... if the fluorocarbons are in my lungs, how do they get to the ozone and destroy it? I understand how that happens with hairspray, because it is NOT (usually) inhaled.

This is all just weird.

8 comments:

Bismuth said...

You do exhale, right? Your body won't absorb the CFCs, it'll breathe them right back out.

Anyway, that sucks about the diagnosis. Asthma is an odd disease in that it can happen to about anyone, even without prior history.

wysiwyg said...

Sorry to hear about this Sly.

I've been a mild asthmatic for most of my life, as have two of my four sisters and my mother. Its a pest, but I've only ever had a couple of events where the inhalers didn't work and I had to tromp off to the ER to have it dealt with more firmly.

Having said this, its not a thing to be messed about with either. It can (and regularly does) kill people who literally suffocate in the car on the way to hospital. As a result I have inhalers scattered about close to hand, at home, in the car, at work. Not that I need them regularly, but just to be safe.

There are different triggers for different people as well. For me it can be (but necessarily every time) things like red wine, cold air, strenuous exercise, and very dusty environments (like my shed, which is why it never gets cleaned. See? Asthma can be made to work for you as well as against you!)

It takes a while to correlate just what sets you off (at 8:35pm, it must be something like the stress of having to wash up or something I suppose), but once managed, its no biggie.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I'm experiencing the wonderful world of wheezing just in time for a paradigm shift in the make-up of the medication. Apparently in order to protect the ozone, the inhalers are being changed and will no longer have ozone-eating fluorocarbons.

Well, that one's obvious, sly. Your doctors called the pharmaceutical companies with your diagnosis so they pulled the products that work off the shelves!

That's OK, don't thank me.

Slyeyes said...

Wys, from what I've read and what some other people have told me, it's not uncommon to become symptomatic at night. Things do seem to be improving (knock on wood)

Kafaleni said...

Sly.. cooler air is a big thing for some people with asthma. I know a couple of people who only are affected in winter, or on colder nights. Some people get asthma coupled with hayfever.. sneeze choke gasp wheeze cough.. and sometimes there's no obvious trigger.

I have a family history but (knock on wood) no major symptoms and no issues in that area.

Bill Clinton said...

I didn't inhale.

George W. Bush said...

YES HE DID!

rita said...

Sly, when I used inhalers (motto: "We make you cough even harder"), I barely inhaled before the entire dose came rushing back out in a whooping-type cough.

Therefore, the fluorocarbons spent more time in the air than in my airways.

I hope it's better for you. I was diagnosed with asthma but I don't have asthma. Some doctors want me to have asthma, but I'm not playing their game. I'm playing the "tickle in my throat and cough till I pee" game.