From the Archives

What's it like to be intubated for asthma?

The search term "Intubation" comes up fairly often on my blog's traffic logs, so I thought I take a moment to write about it. Heaven knows I've had my share of them. I truly hope your asthma never gets to point where you actually need to be intubated for it, ...

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Im not crazy, I swear

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 ...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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How low can it go?

Having documented a significant, but relatively slow decline in my lung function over the past decade, Ive often wondered what life must be like for other asthmatics who have a baseline FEV1 below 25%. Well, now I know. According to the last spirometry results, which I did for my annual SARP follow up visit last […]

June 17, 2016 1
Curly
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Music Therapy

With it becoming more and more difficult for me to exercise as much as would like to, Ive gradually begun to fill some of that time void with music practice. More specifically, playing the bass. Both of these activities have become an increasingly important part of my life the past few years, providing a welcome […]

June 10, 2016 1
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New asthma drugs in the Pipeline

While doing some research and advocating for myself in hopes of obtaining the anti-IL-13/anti-IL drug, Dupilumab, ona compassionate use basis, I discovered that there are several other biologics in this new generation of targeted asthma therapy drugs that are in various stages of development. Here’s a list of some of the new biologics coming soon […]

May 13, 2016 1
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Don’t forget the upper body!

If you’ve spent much time reading my blog, you’ve probably figured out that Im a huge promoter of daily exercise for people with lung disease. My favorite fitness activity of course, is distance walking. Aerobic exercise such as walking, uses large muscle groups to move at a steady, rhythmic pace. It’s an excellent way to […]

April 21, 2016 1
treatment options chart
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Treatment overload

Yes, another update about treatment options. Things seem to be changing at a lightening pace now and it’s making my head explode. Too much for an over-thinker like me to think about. Gotta slow down and literally catch my breath. So my 3rd hospitalization and 5th intubation in just the first 4 months of this […]

April 11, 2016 0
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Evolving treatment plan

Things seems to be changing by the day. As of March 24th 2016, the latest plan is to put me back on Xolair until I can either obtain the biologic drug, Dupilumab, or until lung transplant becomes the only option left to extend my life. Sanofi/Regeneron, the makers of Dupilumab, need to get FDA permission […]

March 26, 2016 0
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Did you bring a note ?

Back in the old days when you got sick and ended up in the hospital, it was probably because your primary care doctor put you there. Boy, have things changed. Nowadays you have one set of doctors who see you in the clinic when you’re doing well, another set of doctors who see you if […]

March 21, 2016 2
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Nebulizer Stew

Some people put them in the dishwasher, some clean them in sink, some soak them in vinegar, some use ultrasonic cleaning devices……. I just boil mine on the stove. At last count I have about 20 reusable nebulizer sets to go with the 5 portable compressors that I keep in various places around the house […]

March 4, 2016 0
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Co pay assistance for two expensive asthma medications

Having a serious and/or chronic disease like asthma, can be stressful enough. And for most people figuring out how you’re going to pay for some of these newer and outrageously expensive drugs, just adds to that stress. Well, here’s some information I put together from my own experiences that I hope someone out there might […]

February 19, 2016 0
falling-off-cliff
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Depressing trend

Not sure what’s going on. Since 2003 when my asthma started to get really bad, it was for the most part, relatively stable and the symptoms tolerable for several months at a time. Even the exacerbations, while still very severe on occasion, were somewhat predictable. Likewise, my lung function, specifically my FEV1 and FVC, though […]

February 2, 2016 4
Spiral of Madness
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Steroid Psychosis Got Me

If you’ve suffered from asthma for any length of time and/or have been hospitalized for it, no doubt you’ve experienced some of the not so pleasant side effects of corticosteroids, both physical and mental. Being on and off steroids most of my life, I’ve certainly had my share of nasty side effects. But nothing comes […]

January 31, 2016 2
Steve
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Im the the conundrum, the outlier, the oddball asthmatic

Though I suspect Im not alone in this regard, with over 25 million asthmatics in the US alone, there’s bound to be a few who dont fit into the typical asthma mold. I can’t tell you how many times people have written to me telling me that their doctors can’t figure their asthma out or […]

January 16, 2016 0
bear
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Contraband Teddy

A new take on the old file in the cake scheme. They kept confiscating my inhalers during a recent hospitalization, so by partner Douglas came up with this ingenious camouflage. An inhaler inside a stuffed teddy bear. I understand the rationale of not wanting patients to bring their personal medications into the hospital , but […]

January 14, 2016 0
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