From the Archives

Do you know when it's time to go in?

The idea for this post came to me during the middle a recent severe exacerbation. Actually, it was the same exacerbation that put me in the hospital for 12 days, for which I am still recovering. Foremost on my mind during an asthma excerbation,is the question....how bad will it ...

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The photos say it all

What is Status Asthmaticus? Lucky me, on July 23th 2014, I survived my 115th hospital admission and 20th intubation for asthma. I didn't think I was that sick, but apparently I was.

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The not so glamorous side of being a severely asthmatic marathon walker

Yeah, I made it to Boston , Ive walked the Rome and Portland marathons a couple times, and yeah Ive been written up in lots of walk magazines and medical journals, but I think a lot of people who hear about me or read my blog, assume that ...

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The Recovery phases of a severe asthma exacerbation

Suffice it to say, I wasn't exactly a happy camper when I wrote that Dr W helped me get through this awful time by reassuring me that what anguish I was experiencing was a normal response after suffering such a severe flare up, and that my complaints were ...

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Not just Asthma, Severe Asthma!

Not to downplay the heartache and suffering that people with milder forms of asthma have to sometimes contend with; obviously it's a big deal when you can't breath, but the healthcare establishment needs to stop lumping all asthmatics together under the same general heading of "asthma".This is a problem because ...

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Asthma Purgatory

Whenever the weather is bad, so is my asthma. My lungs are extremely sensitive to humidity in the air and/or the slightest changes in barometric changes. Changes in the climate, changes in the seasons, you name it.... my lungs will react to it. I'm a walking weather ...

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O2 sats and asthma attacks revisited

After 9 years of blogging about life with severe asthma, I still get a lot of traffic from people searching the web for specific information about O2 saturation and how it relates to asthma or the severity of an asthma attack. So for those who might have missed my earlier ...

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Venous Access Port ( VAP)

After an estimated 104 hospital admissions for asthma and probably 10 times that number of IV sticks, I have no peripheral venous access left. A half a century of IV steroids has rendered my veins useless. The only place they can get lines in, are in my knuckles and toes. ...

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Double Whammy Asthma

( updated 2-2014) I often find it frustrating that here I am, a life long asthmatic, a Respiratory therapist and an asthma educator, yet still unable in normal conversation, to describe what makes my type of asthma so different from others. When asked to define asthma in general, I usually ...

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Just another week in the life of a hardcore asthmatic

I usually don't post about my hospital experiences because its not a subject I like to re-live. Its an unwanted , terrifying , but necessary, part of my life. When it happens , I just try to get through it and then I try to blank it ...

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I'm a recovering Albuter-holic

Rick, the author of the Respiratory Therapy Cave , wrote to me the other day talking about what it was like growing up with severe asthma. One of the things he mentioned that I thought was kinda funny, was how he used to sleep with an inhaler ...

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Buried Alive

The photo is from the movie "Awake", but what happened to me last September was not fiction.. It was the real deal! Back on Sept 20th of 2010, I was admitted to the hospital for a severe asthma exacerbation(so what else is new). About 8 hours into the exacerbation, my ...

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Asthma guilt trip

How many times have you had a really bad asthma flare, but had serious trepidations about going to the emergency room for treatment? How many times have you felt guilty that maybe you weren't sick enough to be admitted to the hospital? Well, that's pretty much been the ...

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Questions for Dr. Wenzel

Last week after finding out just how damaged my lungs really are, the only thing going through my head was..WHY? All of the assumptions I had made about my asthma throughout the years, suddenly didn't seem to make sense anymore. I was beginning to wonder if I really ever ...

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Propofol

Propofol

This is a picture of me on a ventilator last year during a severe asthma exacerbation ( what they call status asthmaticus). See the little IV bottle inside the blue rectangle with the milky looking stuff inside ? That's Propofol ! Also known as ...

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15 months Intubation Free!

It feels good to brag about something positive for a change. This week marks 15 whole months since Ive had to have a tube shoved down my windpipe in order to breath. Ive had zero, what I would call "critical condition" type hospitalizations in that time period as well. Granted, ...

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My Trip to Churchill

My journey begins in Winnipeg (my very first time crossing the Canadian border). Just 2 days earlier there had been a pretty bad snow storm and potential weather delays at the airport were a big concern.Fortunately things worked out and I got there on time without any problems. ...

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Racewalking for Science

As part of the Shortness of breath self-Management research study that I'm involved in over at UCSF, every 3 months I have to go into the lab where they check my PFTs and then have me do a series of physical fitness exercises. Sometimes they have me get ...

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Lung Lingo

Yes it's true, we asthmatics have a language all our own.   Here's my current list. Please feel free to add new words and definitions to it .   Yellow Zoning When someone is stuck in their yellow breathing zone. Cradle Asthmatic A person who has had asthma since earlier childhood or ...

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Healing Walks

Carolyn Scott Kortge's new book is finally out and guess who's in one of the chapters? Carolyn contacted me about year ago for this project. She thought I had an interesting story to tell, and that it would fit in nicely with the motivational theme of the book. It's really ...

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Im not crazy, I swear
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You’re not alone

Feeling like shit right now? Is your asthma, COPD or other breathing disorder flaring up or bothering you more than usual? Were you searching the web for asthma related stuff as a way to cope with your own crappy breathing? Is that how you reached my blog? Well I can tell you that you’re not […]

March 25, 2015 0
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When did my Asthma become COPD?

Im a Respiratory Therapist who’s been in the field a long time, but I was a quite taken aback when my local Pulmonologist blurred out these sobering words… “Your COPD”, while assessing me on the ward last week. Specifically she said, “we need to find a way to better control your obstructive lung disease” so […]

March 23, 2015 0
images
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SARP ends, but the research continues

Though still in operation, the NIH funded Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP), which started 14 years ago, is now officially closed to new enrollees. Sadly, it looks like SARP will be the last large observational study of severe asthmatics, at least for the foreseeable future. The good news, is that there’s still a lot of […]

February 16, 2015 1
Guitar
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Bass Guitar Blues

It figures. I have a hobby that I really enjoy that doesn’t require a lot of lung power, only to find out I have to cut way back or give it up all together. You see, musicians are athletes of sorts( especially bass players), and just like with most sports, repetitive motion can cause injuries. […]

February 1, 2015 0
This last one was taken just a couple of days ago.  23 hospitalizations after the first photo was taken. See the difference?
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The Wonderful Side effects of frequent asthma flares

Think a severe asthma exacerbation only effects your lungs? Check out the photos below. Each photo was taken appx 2-3 weeks after being discharged from the hospital after a serious asthma flare. Dehydrated? Perhaps, but interestingly, most people retain water while on prednisone. The thing about frequent severe asthma exacerbations and frequent use of steroids, […]

January 1, 2015 0
Instant acccess
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Techno-Patient

The Hospital I go to when my asthma gets really bad recently upgraded their electronic charting and patient care computer systems. They’re using the EPIC system, which includes a patient portal via the web. It’s pretty cool because things like labs and xray results are made available to patient almost as soon as they’re available […]

December 16, 2014 0
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Im an A hole when Im sick

Most people will tell you Im one of the sweetest, most caring people you’ll ever meet. But make no mistake, when Im recovering from a bad asthma exacerbation, I can become an obnoxious asshole… and usually do. I get anxious, I get irritable, I get angry and nasty all at the same time. I snap […]

December 11, 2014 5
SSPX0572
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O2 sats and asthma attacks revisited

After 9 years of blogging about life with severe asthma, I still get a lot of traffic from people searching the web for specific information about O2 saturation and how it relates to asthma or the severity of an asthma attack. So for those who might have missed my earlier posts, here’s a recap of […]

November 22, 2014 3
show off
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Steve – 9, Lung disease—a big fat ZERO!

This might sound corny, but I feel like Ive just been reborn. On Oct 5th I finished my 9th marathon at the Portland Marathon. If you’ve been reading my updates, this was a scheme I had hatched while hospitalized back in July. I was feeling incredibly down at the time and was curious to see […]

October 9, 2014 3
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Self Observations: Severe Asthma and Endurance walking

Ive been doing endurance walks now for about 10 years, and because of the severity of my lung disease, I often experience significant symptom exacerbations afterwards. Well something quite unexpected and encouraging has happened recently during the peak of this current training cycle, or should I say…didn’t happen! On 3 separate occasions over a 4 […]

September 13, 2014 0
lrt license
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Hanging up the stethoscope

The deed is done. As of today Im longer allowed to practice Respiratory Care in the State California. I finally submitted the paperwork to place my RCP license into retirement status, bringing my 3 and a half decade career in this field to an end…at least for now. Ive been going back and forth on […]

August 23, 2014 7
It hurts so good...
( the hell is does)
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Training update Aug 2014

Dang… I haven’t written one of the training updates in years. Trying to get in shape to do this race has been challenging to say the least. It’s been 3 years since Ive attempted something crazy like this and I almost forgot just how grueling it can be when you don’t have any functional lung […]

August 21, 2014 1
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The impatient patient

Oh goody, another post about asthma exacerbation recovery. After being discharged from the hospital only 3 days ago, it’s probably a little early to be writing about this topic again, but something is definitely different this time around. The recovery seems excruciatingly slow( gee, where have I heard that before?). In my mind I should […]

July 26, 2014 5
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