Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back Again

I was reading The American Spectator, and found that Ben Stein (yeah, the guy of Win Ben Stein's Money and the Murine commercials) has been having breathing problems. I put my 2 cents in, and decided to re-activate this blog.

This summer, at the beginning of August, I was once again hospitalized for asthma problems, complicated by pneumonia. I have to say, it was my own fault - I'd been overdoing, rushing from one activity to another, and, as a consequence, not regularly taking my meds. Too often, they were in one location, and I was in another.

Most importantly, I'd violated my cardinal rule - when traveling, take along the nebulizer - AND the meds.

However, the burning the candle at both ends was the precipitating factor. I'd just become exhausted, and continued to try to function.

I have to remember that Ecclesiates verse:
A Time for Everything
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth?
10 ¶ I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.

I have some trouble "enjoying the good" - I tend to want to accomplish all that I can. Maybe I should also post that other poem about ceaseless striving:

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Anyway, don't run yourself into the ground, and take all your meds on time.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Asthma 101 for Bystanders

My husband once asked why I leave my bed and sit up half the night in a chair, far from the bedroom, when I start an asthma-induced coughing episode. Wouldn’t I be more comfortable in bed?

At the time, I didn’t quite know how to answer him. If he were to ask me today, I’d have to say, “Well, no.”

I don’t generally give those kinds of answers to people outside my immediate family. Right now, I’m on a college campus, in the dorms. I share a 4-person suite, with a common room in the middle. I’ve been sitting there for over 2 hours.


I woke up coughing around 2 am. It was the characteristic dry, unproductive cough of an asthmatic. Cough drops don’t help much, if any. The problem isn’t to calm down the cough (at least from my perspective), it’s to medicate to make it more effective in moving that gunk in the lungs.

In asthma, the bronchial tubes narrow. Initially, it’s a spasm that makes it hard to move out of the lungs. Funnily enough, getting air in is not a problem. The bigger issue is the build-up of CO2. Later, the respiratory system becomes swollen and inflamed, making it necessary to use medication long after the initial attack.

Triggers for attacks vary. Many asthmatics have allergies, and experience seasonal recurrences. Catching a cold generally will mandate increased vigilance in monitoring, as a side effect is to exacerbate the condition.

Right now, I’m at the end of a sinus infection, which led to an acute episode at the end of May. I’m still experiencing difficulties. I just finished a round of steroids, which usually lead to a bout of insomnia, in addition to the weight gain and stomach distress. Hours of fun.

One of my roommates came in with cough syrup. I declined the offer, which puzzled her some. She then offered cough drops, which I accepted.

I started to explain why cough suppressant wasn’t a good idea (I’m trying to move stuff out of my system, and the coughing, while annoying, helps that process). But then I realized that a deep discussion wasn’t indicated at 3 in the morning, and took the offered assistance.

Some things to know if you meet an asthmatic in distress:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bad day today

I've been treating myself with extra nebulizer doses. Yesterday, I had a fairly major asthma attack.

When I returned home, I started steroids, and stepped up my plan. Tomorrow, I'll call my doctor.

Aside from a nasty respiratory infection, there's been nothing to set me off.

Right now, I'm amusing myself by blowing steam rings.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I'm a homeowner

I finally closed on the house. The next few days are going to be a lot of moving, cleaning (old place and new place) and arranging and organizing. So, don't expect very many posts, and certainly not anything long. I'll upload some pictures once I've had a chance to take some.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Already posted on the other blog

The FDA is considering removing OTC asthma inhalers from the "essential use" category, which currently allows them to use CFCs as propellants. Go over to my other blog to see the full story, including what actions you can take.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


I'm breathing easier, and the trend is upward. A major part of the improvement is due to better charting of the meds doses, and more conscientious (man, I love daily use. I'm down to an occasional (less than 1 dose/day) use of my reliever. That's a GREAT improvement.

The weather hasn't helped. It's still muggy and stifling. The temperature went down last night, though, enough so I could cool off the house by opening windows. Before that, I was using air conditioning almost exclusively. I hate to think of the electric bill this month.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


I just sat down, after spending a few vigorous minutes outside, ruthlessly trimming back the rampaging green that is threatening to take back, not just the yard, but the very house itself.

Yes, I know it's July in Cleveland, and, compared to many already-sweltering cities, cool and pleasant.

I'm still sticky and breathing with effort.

Actually, my peak flow is good - I've been improving since my last Prednisone burst. My environment has contributed to that. I've been cleaning, organizing, and removing dust-collecters. With my husband out of town for 2 weeks, I expect my son and I to make major progress. It's always so much easier to throw out someone else's stuff than your own.

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