Friday, July 08, 2016

What do allergic asthmatics do to pass the time?

A question I pondered this morning was this: "What do people with allergies do to get through the day?" Well, you all know I write. But what do you do when the writing is done for the day? 

Okay, so there are kids to play with. There is a wife to hang out with. There are people to see, and work to be done. Well, when I say work I say that lightly too, as much of the regular "guy" duties are not done by me. They all involve dust and other allergens. So, that said, what do people with allergies do?

I, for one, played with baseball cards when I was a kid. Most of the cards I had were new. I sorted them out. I opened packs. I traded with my friends. I went to flee markets and bought old ones. I had quite a collection. Okay, so this occupied a lot of my time. When my brothers and dad were out doing guy things, and my asthma prevented me from going, my baseball cards occupied me.

So, after I met my wife in 2000 I put my baseball cards aside. Fifteen years later I brought them out. I bought a nice collection at a yard sale. This was going to be a hobby brought back to life. But then the allergies hit.  

Just to give you an example. It was very slow today at work. So, I decided to bring my baseball cards in. They are 1980s Topps baseball cards. They belonged to my brother. I managed to sort them out earlier in groups such as the following: 1-99, 100-199, 200-299, 300-399, 400-499, 500-599, 600-699, and 7-726. 

Today's job was to finish sorting them out. So, I started with an easy job: 7-726. That got done really fast. Note that I am breathing fine. I am on 500mcg of Advair, so I should breathe easy. Not so fast. 

I managed to sort through the 600s without much of a problem. But by the time I got to the 500 my chest started to burn. Those little bugs were in my lungs. They were in there already by the 700s. It took my immune system that long to register an immune response. My airways seem to be quite twitchy, despite 500mcg twice a day of fluticasone. 

See my point. So, I ask: What do allergic asthmatics do to pass the time?

You know, it's really neat that I get to run. When I was a kid I couldn't do that. I can run as much as I want and I have no asthma symptoms. I can take the kids about anywhere. I can go for walks in the woods. I can go on dates. I can do pretty much any of that. 

So, what can't I do? Well, obviously I can't (or shouldn't) go to my dad's cabin. I obviously can't (or shouldn't) play with my baseball cards. But I will. I know I'll go to my dad's cabin again. It's just too fun. I will just have to figure out what to do at night, when others are sleeping. I will also play with my cards again. I want to right now. But I better not. (Chest is starting to feel somewhat better. The longer I stay away from those cards, the better it will feel, even if I don't treat it).

Look, I just love baseball cards. I would love to open up a little online shop. But, I'm pretty sure that goal might be dashed. No. It won't.  Only, most of the time I limit myself to 30 minutes. I went way past my limit today, like four hours past. I violated my own rule. In the future, which will probably be tomorrow, I will have to limit myself.

Or, I might be able to wear a mask. But I tried that before, and those little buggers still managed to get into my airway somehow. 

Still, I had to be at work for eight hours today, and there literally is nothing to do. I wanted to take a break from writing, but here I am. I am only writing here because my twitchy, burning airways told me to quit. 

It's kind of neat that I have had this disease so long, and I don't let it stop me from doing anything. But, that's not necessarily true. I mean, I cleaned my bedroom the other day, even cleaned in the closet, but I did it fast while holding my breath. Today, I did not hold my breath. I breathed normally while enjoying my collection. I even enjoyed the smell of the cards, that dusty smell of cardboard, not the new, fresh smell of Bazooka Bubble Gum. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. This is just what I have been dealt.

I'm kind of nonchalant about it. I've always been that way about my asthma. Ironically, I'm not sniffling or sneezing, it's just the chest tightness today. I wonder why that is. Usually the dust mites give me both allergies and asthma symptoms. Usually they make my eyes itch long before my lungs, but my eyes seem to be fine right now. Go figure. 

And, also interesting, I'm not really short of breath, it's just the chest tightness. And I know it's my airways spasming, mainly because this is the same every time I inhale little critters. Okay, so I'm a little short of breath, but so far not horribly bad. Just bad enough I know I need to quit. 

It almost feels as though someone has feathers in my chest, millions of them (hmmm, how about millions of little legs from dust mites crawling all over my airways), rubbing them on the walls of my airways. And so my immune system attacks them, causing my airways to spasm (twitch), and mucus to increase (causing the itch). 

As I've written before, the symptoms I feel right now are more annoying than they are deadly. I know I'm not going to die from dust mites. I might die of boredom (well, not really, because I just moved on to the next assignment). 

Which is also interesting. I have also written before that I never feel sorry for myself, just learn to cope. You have to realize I've had this disease for 16,987 days. So, that's long enough to learn how to cope. When there's something I can no longer do, I just move on. That's the way you deal with a chronic disease. 

Actually, I am starting to feel tight now. I have taken three breathing treatments so far.

You know what is going to hit tonight, or what might? That late phase reaction. Those late phase reactions are usually the worse. It might hit around midnight, or it might hit around 2 a.m.  It's pretty bad I've had this so long I know what's going to happen later. Pretty cool, hey? I don't regret it though, as I had fun sorting through those cards. Just wish I could have finished the project (which brings me to tomorrows post, finishing projects with allergic asthma).

The late phase reaction. I could write a post on that too. I will probably wake up sometime tonight feeling very dyspneic. Or, it might just be a severe allergic reaction. It will hit like a mack truck. It won't kill me, just make fee feel very uncomfortable. When it hits, I'll take a Benadryl, and wait it out. I might fall asleep propped up. I like Benadryl because it acts sort of like a sedative, taking the edge off, allowing me to fall back asleep. 

But, I think my motive right now is to find another hobby. Something besides writing that I can do. This brings me back to that original question. Now that I shouldn't (but still will) sort through my baseball cards (or at least the time doing this will be severely limited from now on) what will I start doing (besides writing, considering I already do that) to pass the time? Hmmmm.

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