Monday, August 24, 2015

Links between baseball cards and asthma

One of the ways I entertained myself when I was an asthmatic kid was to collect baseball cards. I would walk along Manistee roads collecting cans and bottles and use the refund money to purchase cards.  Of course it was nice that a pack of cards when I started collecting was only 20 cents.  By the time I graduated I had amassed a very large collection. 

I continued to collect cards until I met my wife in the year 2000, at which time I put aside my collection with the idea I would pick it up again in a few years.  Of course, a few years turned into 15.  

My dad called me a couple weekends ago and said he was at a yard sale where a lady was trying to sell quite a large baseball card collection.  He said he offered $20 and was rejected.  He said she would probably take $50, and was wondering if I was interested.  I told dad to go for it.  

So here I am now with a baseball card collection of some guy I did not know.  I have over 20 boxes of cards, plus many books of cards.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  I was rather excited to surf through these cards to see what kind of treasures it contained.  

Now, this is where we link this story with asthma.  You see, baseball card boxes that are not sifted through regularly sit in closets and basements.  Little critters called dust mites find their way into such cozy little places and they lay eggs.  See what I'm getting at here.  

So the asthmatic purchases the cards and seeks to learn what treasures it contains.  He opens the box and sifts through the cards.  Even though he can smell the dust, in the excitement of the moment he does not think that something other than just cards came out of the boxes.  He does not see the microscopic dust mites that creep into the air and into his respiratory system.  

His airways become inflamed.  His nose starts to run and drip.  He sneezes.  He sniffs.  His chest becomes tight.  His shoulders become hunched.  All of a sudden he is in a full blown allergy attack that has evolved quickly into a full blown asthma attack.  

Claritin was taken, along with a Zyrtec, although those weren't expected to remedy the problem.  He knew that the only solution here was benadryl, which would make him tired.  His throat is scratchy, his scalp itches like crazy, his chin itches, he feels like he's breathing air molecules that are bloated from years of steroid use, and he is extremely tired.  

That pretty much describes my day yesterday.  That pretty much describes my night last night.  It was 2 a.m. when the benadryl wore off.  I had to make a decision to take sudafed, which might work, or benadryl, which I knew would work.  I decide if I was going to get any sleep then benedryl was the medicine of choice.  

About a half hour later the medicine kicked in.  I still felt symptoms, but the sedating effect of the medicine worked like Xanax and helped me to sleep well the rest of the night.  Yet here I am in the morning feeling like I want to go back to bed.  My dose feels duffy.  Breathing is somewhat hard, although manageable. I'm ready for a day at work.  

Did I mention that I had to take three breathing treatments yesterday for the first time in months, and, of course, one at 2 a.m. and one just now.  So, couple that with the 4 cups of coffee I just drank to stay awake today at work, I'm going to be somewhat jittery.  This will be fine so long as I don't have to do draw blood gases.  

So, what do we do with all these baseball cards?  This is yet another reminder that you cannot live normal with asthma, despite what the so called experts say.  Collecting antiques, living in a dusty museum, simply are, excuse the pun, not in the cards. 

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