Monday, December 8, 2014

Oh Asthma...

*written on Dec 8, 2014, on our family website (www.stucrewfun.com)

I'm not sure what people in general really know about it. I feel like people say "Oh yeah, I have that too sometimes." Or "My [insert random relative or friend] has that." Or it's just a blank stare.

I was diagnosed at age 5 with it. I am fuzzy on all of the details, because I was 5 years old. But I do know that my pediatrician sent me and my mom to Gardens Hospital one morning and I was kept for nearly a week. There I had the great pleasure to meet Dr. John P Faraci. He was, for half of my life, the most important doctor. When I was little, my asthma was a direct result of allergies. I am off the scale allergic to dogs and top of the scale allergic to cats. There are other triggers too, but for me, those are the quickest way to land in the ER.

For about 10-15 years, I did allergy shots regularly. I think my ER visits were minimal, but you'd have to ask my mom.



Things started to clear up and seem relatively easy for me around my early 20s. I wasn't using a rescue inhaler often. By my late 20s I didn't even have a running script for them. Big deal in my world.

I quit smoking in 2011. I know, a person with chronic asthma smoked? Yes. I did. For way too many years. The important thing is that I stopped. Quitting wasn't hard. I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to smoke anymore. And that was it. Sure, I missed it now and then. But it's not something I ever want to get back into.

So even though quitting was "good for me" it actually had an adverse reaction on my asthma. About a month after putting down the smokes, I went to Gardens ER with tightness and difficulty breathing. I got the steroids and breathing treatments I needed. But my heart rate shot up and wouldn't come down - broncho-dialators cause an elevated pulse rate, but mine was in the 140s with no sign of slowing. So I was admitted. I spent 3 days there.

When I got out, I looked up Dr Faraci and went to see him. He told me that it was probably the fact that I stopped feeding my lungs so much garbage. And that I'd have to wait this out.... with his help. So for about a year, I was his patient again. In and out getting the help I needed.

Then I was back in the clear. I haven't had an asthma issue in a good two years. I thought things were going well.

3 weeks ago I started to feel a little tight again. I thought, "Hmmm... I wonder if I have any medication left." I looked. Didn't find anything. Didn't look very hard. But just kept pushing through. It wasn't bad enough to where I thought I needed to seek immediate help. I've felt that way before, this wasn't that. This had a slower onset.

So I pushed through. My sister's wedding weekend. Thanksgiving shows and parties at school. Fulfilling framing orders. Making Thanksgiving dinner. But by Black Friday, I just felt miserable. I was really getting winded easily. And I had some sinus crap on top of it. I went to the Urgent Care. They diagnosed me with a sinus infection (shock). And even though I wasn't wheezing, she gave me some nebulizer meds to take home and a new rescue inhaler. I thought "I can do this."

Well, it didn't work. The antibiotics were working on my sinuses, but the asthma meds didn't seem to be doing anything. I decided on Sunday to visit the ER. Sometimes you just need a good strong dose of something.

They kept me for most of the day. I was blasted with 3 breathing treatments and given an IV dose of steroids. This helped. I felt better. They sent me home with steroid pills to take and instructions to come back if I didn't improve.

The week was hard. In hindsight, I should have taken a day or two off and just rested. But it's the holidays. And I have two little kids. Who has time for that? I jumped right back in. And did not get any better. So after nearly passing out while shopping in Publix one night, making dinner at the house another, and working in my frame shop, I knew it was time to head back to the hospital.

I was admitted on Thursday night. And it looks like I'll be here until Tuesday. I can't believe how bad it got this time and how much medicine I needed to open my airway and keep it open. I feel like for the first time in a few weeks I can breathe. Shane was here earlier today and we went for a walk around my floor. I showered. And I was able to talk with him. All without needing to pass out for an hour or so after! Big improvement!

I am hopeful that the plan of action to trim down my med dosage today will be well-handled by my body. If it is, I think I can go home tomorrow!

I miss my babies! I miss my bed. I really want to soak in a bomb-infused bath for like an hour to wash the hospital off. Then I want to snuggle with my monsters some more.