Saturday, January 12, 2008

Asthma Report (update)

Well, I just got out of my appointment with my physician regarding my asthma, and I learned interesting things. I shall take this time to tell you all about them not because I really think that people who read this blog are likely to be fascinated, but because I need something to do while I sit in this wifi cafe waiting until it is time to go pick up the kids at school. There is just no point in driving 20 minutes to work or home so that I can turn around and come back in 90 minutes.

Of course I could grade my students forum posts ...but... you really do want to know all about my asthma, right? It is much more important than grading.

Apparently exercise- and cold-induced asthma are basically the same thing, except that one is caused by exercise and one by cold. Seriously though, either one can be your primary trigger, but whichever it is, the other will make it MUCH worse. Also neither of them are allergy-related, and they get treated the same. So sure, the doctor can lump them together; I don't care. It also turns out that I didn’t “grow out of” the asthma I had as an infant, just the symptoms. In other words, I have at least two triggers: whatever accumulates in down pillows and such over time (presumably some sort of mite); and cold weather. It is likely that these and perhaps other triggers have always been causing reactions in my bronchial tubes and whatnot, but the reason it was so bad when I was a baby was that the tubes were so SMALL. As I grew they got bigger and I could breathe fairly easily even when it was happening.

Got it?

As an adult, I have had one classic asthma attack, brought on by sleeping in an old feather bed, in which I was really afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get enough air and die. (I lived through it, in case you were worried.) I have also had many times in which any level of exertion in cold weather has produced coughing that can last for a hour or more. Thinking back, I can remember a lot of times when it happened, but it just wasn't severe enough to make me do anything about it. This year, however, just scraping the car and going to work was making me cough all morning. A couple of times this winter I have not been able to get enough breath to carry on a conversation.

So I went to my physician who told me that it has absolutely nothing to do with getting older. It is totally random and there is no explanation at all for why it has slowly been getting worse over the years. (I like my physician). I now have two inhalers. One I am to use every morning and night throughout winter, even if we are having a warm snap or I have no plans to go out. The other I am to use just prior to going out in the cold.

And I should not have any more symptoms.

Ta da! All better.

Well, if I do have symptoms, then I’m to call and get new medications or dosages or something.

Now, aren't you glad I took the time to tell you that instead of grading?

The every daily inhaler does not have any noticable side-effects. I was warned to rinse my mouth out after since the steriods in it can cause problems in your mouth over time, so I do. The inhaler I am to use before going out in the cold gives me a trembly feeling -- something like a cross between low blood sugar and too much caffeine. I don't like it. The tremblly feeling lasts for an hour or so and the inhaler is supposed to be effective for four to six hours. Still, I think I will experiment to see how much I really need it.

Today I used it, and then took the dog for a vigorous walk 20 minutes later. I came back and had coughed just a bit, but that was nothing compared to a week ago when I could not carry on a conversation for four hours after walking the dog. So I feel pretty confident that these meds will work, if I can tolerate that weird feeling. I took two puffs, as instructed. I think next I will see how well it works with just one.


  1. Breathing is a good thing. I'm glad you were able to find a solution.

  2. I'm also glad you have a solution - and relieved to know you lived through that one scary asthma attack. Good thing you didn't forget to mention that, I would've been worried. *grin*

  3. I'm glad you cleared up that whole feather bed business up. I wasn't sure if you had made it. LOL

  4. Breathing...such a good thing. I have exercise induced and cold weather asthma...yeah I know..I need to move south! I'm still feeling the aftermath of chasing Emilee down in the cold Monday morning. UGH!

    Glad you lived thru that scary asthma attack! :-)

  5. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Once the preventive inhaler kicks in, you may find that you don't need the albuterol very often at all.

  6. So..."Anonymous" ... how long does it take for the preventative to built up to full potency?


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.