From the Archives

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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6 times a day

I had planned to write a post about my nebulizer treatment routine, but then I thought what the heck... I'll just video it! The point Im trying to make in the clip, is that the daily nebbing routine for many of us is a lot more time consuming than one ...

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For the 112th time

Gee I haven't written about a good ole hospital admission for quite sometime. Since I just completed my 112th, maybe now's a good time. The theme for this latest admission is fun with steroid psychosis and why IV fluids should always be monitored closely. The fun begins The trigger to the flare leading ...

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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 ...

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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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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

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 give the ...

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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 out ...

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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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The tree forming the form of human organ, as lungs
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Asthma Tree

We all have an upside down tree in our chests. The trunk resembles the main bronchus (the windpipe), the branches are the large and small airways, and the bright green leaves are the little air sacs (alveoli) where oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange takes place. These are healthy lungs…. In some forms of COPD, such […]

August 12, 2015 1
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Downsizing

Makes me kinda sad seeing this (makes my wallet sad too, $150 down the drain). This is the race I was supposed to do in October. It would have been my 10th full marathon, a nice round number to retire with. I registered for it way back in January on the heels of last years […]

August 8, 2015 2
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23rd time’s a charm

No..not as in hospitalizations ( I’ve lost count of those,) I’m talking about my 23rd endotracheal intubation with mechanical ventilation for respiratory failure. You heard that right, Ive been intubated 23 times now! That’s gotta be some kind of weird worlds record or something. How is this even possible ? Once, maybe twice… but not […]

July 6, 2015 3
cropped-2015Masthead
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Survive an attack, register for a marathon

Makes sense to me…… Get really sick, spend time in the hospital, come home exhausted and depressed, and then immediately sign up to do a 26.2 mile foot race. But then again I’m probably not your typical chronic lunger. After finishing my 8th marathon back in 2011, I had basically shrugged off the notion of […]

June 16, 2015 7
Nebbing
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6 times a day

I had planned to write a post about my nebulizer treatment routine, but then I thought what the heck… I’ll just video it! The point Im trying to make in the clip, is that the daily nebbing routine for many of us is a lot more time consuming than one would think. Managing asthma, COPD, […]

June 12, 2015 5
Asthma is expensive
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$$$ Asthma is Expensive

                                                                                 (Click to view the individual charges.) This is a bill for an 8 day hospital […]

June 1, 2015 1
gsk 002
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Let’s build some Bridges

As a Respiratory Therapist, Ive worked with the entire age range of asthmatics, from infants to adults, both in the hospital setting and out. As a health advocate, I try my best to educate the public, including health professionals, about asthma and the various aspects of living with a chronic lung disease in general. I’m […]

May 22, 2015 5
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PFTs Du Jour

For those interested, here are my latest spirometry results from last weeks SARP follow-up visit at UCSF last week. It’s kind of a bad-good-bad then good-good-bad story. Starting with the not so good news… my initial FEV1 was only 28% (.83 liters) this time. That’s down 4 percentage points from last years visit. The good […]

May 1, 2015 1
Im not crazy, I swear
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I feel your pain

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 2
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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 5
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 1
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
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