I did something foolish – ignored my asthma symptoms. I’ve had asthma all of my life. I’m also a co-founder of Health Care Originals, where every day we focus on all things asthma, including a vibrant social media platform where we share tips about dealing with asthma. About a month ago I had a severe, completely preventable asthma attack.
Did I forget to take my preventive meds? No, I maintain a rigorous schedule. Was I eating stuff with things I knew tended to produce mild allergic reactions? Yes. Did I recognize my symptoms and take preventive measures? No.
So, it started with me eating some of those things I shouldn’t. Nothing really happened immediately. Two or three of those snacks later (in quick daily succession), I can now see that I had nasal drip, a few itches, and started coughing and clearing my throat. My husband kept asking me if I was starting an attack and I kept saying no – giving an excuse.
Then I started feeling the need to take my rescue inhaler. Enter the silly mind games: – I normally don’t have to take it unless I exercise, or when I am having an attack, and I know that all indications are that when you need to take it more than normal, your asthma is not well-controlled. But for me, I was not exercising or did not think that I was having an attack so it translated into me not taking my rescue inhaler or upping my preventive meds. It wasn’t a conscious decision – I realized after that I didn’t want to take them because that would mean acknowledging that I wasn’t in control. And, deep down, I believed I knew too much about asthma to not be in control. I only admitted I had a problem on the morning when I couldn’t walk from my bedroom to the living room without getting short of breath.
The resulting asthma attack meant not only reduced quality of life for me; but endless worry for my husband; and a trip to the doctor’s office, complete all the normal meds for dealing with attacks.
It’s not the first time I’ve played this silly asthma game. But now, with the number of times we’ve talked about creeping normality in asthma, as well as how slowly symptoms build up into an attack, I realized that I became practically the poster child for everything we’ve talked about, then combined it with a silly game that I played with my control, a game I was always going to lose.
Perhaps it was a perfect storm – September tends to be a time of increased asthma attacks, and when combined with my less than stellar eating habits, an attack was inevitable. Would it have been so bad if I had heeded the warning signs and taken preventive action – probably not. Lesson learned, and games ended – I hope for good.
Do you have any little games that you play with asthma control? Write and let us know.