Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Asthma Frustration

My plan for today was to finish organizing, cleaning, and decorating my man cave in the basement. It all started out all fine and dandy until I lost my breath. So now I"m sitting on the couch, probably appearing to others like I normally do. They don't have it, so they don't know what it's like. And that's fine with me, I don't want them to know what it's like. 

Okay, so I'm on to treatment #2 now.  My breath has not come back. Let's see if I can explain the feeling. At rest I feel pressure in my chest. In my face I feel the inflammation.  Actually, what I feel in my chest is probably the inflammation too.  It's the allergic response in full gear. My eyes, face, throat, and airways are all inflamed.  It kind of gives me an itchy, burning feeling at rest. 

Okay, so I take in a deep breath, and it comes in all the way, although at about the 1/2 way mark it comes in slow and difficult. This is actually a good asthma attack compared to some I had as a kid when I could only take in half a breath.  However, it feels pretty crappy to say the least.  

Still, my daughter Laney plays on the floor with a ball.  She is tossing it into the air, and smiling as she does so.  My son wants me to look at the game he's playing on the Kindle.  They are completely oblivious to how miserable I feel. I like it that way. 

Interestingly, as I wrote in my post "What it's like to have asthma," my wife failed to react when I told her I was having trouble breathing. Even though I explained to her before what it's like, she doesn't have it, so she forgot. So there's no empathy from her.  In fact, she seemed to be annoyed with me. 

I'm not judging or criticizing her, it's just an observation as an asthmatic.  It's normal for her to not have empathy for me, as she has never been short of breath before, and therefore there is no way for her to even conceive of what it's like for me right now. 

Okay, treatment #3.  I do not feel any better still.  I did take a benadryl, so hopefully it will relieve some of the inflammation soon and help with my breathing.  Usually it works pretty well for asthma attacks like this that are caused by allergies. The problem is I will probably be really tired when they kick it. This will pretty much ruin the rest of my night.

My goal for tonight was to create a collage on my wall with some old baseball cards I found.  I figured that would be a fun way to end my day.  I will have to tackle that project on some other day, perhaps on a day that I didn't decide to clean up the kids dress clothes.  You know, if you have allergic asthma, you probably would be better off just leaving the family room in the basement a mess.  It's better to have a messy basement than not to be able to breath.  However, on the other hand, it does look nice.

I did say to my wife last time this happened.  I was already feeling crappy last Sunday, so I decided to clean the basement.  I became severely dyspneic, kind of like I am now. I was starting to feel panicky (although I looked as cool and calm as I am now, a talent I have), and I said to her, "Yep.  This is what happens when I do something I enjoy."

It's true.  When I do things I enjoy, I have asthma attacks. No, I'm not feeling sorry for myself.  I never feel sorry for myself.  I usually find ways to deal with it, as I'm doing now writing this. Usually these thoughts go through my head and don't get written down, so this is kind of neat for you to be reading this. But still, if you don't have it, even though you are reading this, you won't know what it's really like to have asthma.

Sorry, but if you don't have it, you cannot conceive what it's like.  You can even live with a severe asthmatic like my wife and children do, and you still will have no clue what it's like. It's more than just being short of breath. It's sitting on the couch being on treatment #3 and not one other person in the house even notices.

No one can conceive of the idea that, even if I really want to go into the basement again tonight, I will not be able to do it.  I will be stuck up here. If my wife weren't going to work tonight she'd probably think I was being lazy. Well, I'm not.  I want to do something.  I can't.  I'm stuck in a body that looks normal.  But, as you know now, I can't breathe....

Okay, I'm going for a walk outside to see if that will help.  Fresh air sometimes helps in that way... Cool and calm, my kids singing, I leave the living room...

Back.  Maybe I feel a little better.  Yeah, I must feel better.  Now I'm going through the pissed off phase.  I want to finish my project in the basement. Nope.  Can't do it. I'm gonna have to sit here on the couch until my breath comes back.  And when it does, I will not be able to go into the basement for a 3rd time today.  I can't do that again.

Neat.  My kids play on.  They have no clue how I feel.  Actually, my wife wouldn't either if I hadn't told her. That's one of the things I've learned I have to do as an asthmatic: when I feel bad I have to tell someone. I have to tell the people around me.  I have to say something, even though I feel stupid doing it, because... well, what if I did stop breathing because of my asthma. What if... It has never happened and probably never will... to me, asthma isn't something that will kill me.  It's basically just something that annoys me, and forces me to live a simple life in an allergy free environment.  If only I could avoid brave moments like today and quit going into my basement.

Of course now I'm feeling like crap and am having an adrenaline rush from all that ventolin.  You know what would be nice is if I could just poke one of my sons epi pens into my right thigh.  That would give me my breath back in , oh, about 5 minutes.  Then I'd be good as new.  But I won't do that.  I don't dare.

You know another thing that sucks is I probably shouldn't have a beer tonight, feeling like I do.  In the slim likelihood this doesn't get better and I need to go to the ER, any alcohol buzz would make the decision to go all that harder.  Plus alcohol dries out the lungs, and that could make things worse for me. However, on the other hand, the alcohol might also take away some of the feeling of air hunger I'm feeling about now.

I will report back once my breath comes back.  6:28 p.m.  I will be back.  


  1. Im so happy to have stumbled upon your blog!

    Im actually in the middle of a ventolin induced adrenaline episode after nebulizing earlier. Its such a pain to shake and to have to feel your heart beat and your blood gush through your veins.

    Which is why I specifically googled for blogs by asthmatics. I figured someone somewhere may be experiencing the same things I do on a semi weekly basis. Yours was the first blog to come up.

    Im 23, from the Philippines and I its just thrilling for me to read about similar experiences from a guy oceans away from me. Apparently Im not alone at least when it comes to asthma.

    Thanks again!


  2. Ah, the adrenaline episode. That would be a good topic for a post. That's one of the reasons I don't like to take ventolin before I work. I don't like to feel jittery. Usually the inhaler doesn't give me the rush, but the nebulized ventolin most certainly does.

  3. Another challenging part of asthma is the guilt you feel not doing the things you want or should do. Like, if you were a normal person you'd have a clean and organized basement. Thanks.