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Bassist extraordinaire , Rick Shaw

Bassist Extraordinaire.... Rick Shaw

A couple of Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite bassists of all time, Rick Shaw. Rick has worked with all kinds of recording artists and is also the bassist for Johnny Mathis and Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, my favorite jazz band. ...

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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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Boston 2011 Race Report

Boston 2011 Race Report

They don't call it the best marathon in the world for nothing , and this year was no exception. The weather was near perfect and the spectators and volunteers outdid themselves. The moment I entered athletes village and the disabled athletes staging area early Monday morning, my worries and stress about ...

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15 months Intubation Free!

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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Do you know when it’s time to go in?

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 one of these really bad flares is the ...

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Asthma guilt trip

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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Double Whammy Asthma

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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I’m a recovering  Albuter-holic

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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My Trip to Churchill

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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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

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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My New Old Passion

My New Old Passion

It's actually not a new passion, more like the reigniting of an on again, off again love affair Ive had since early childhood. I'm referring of course to the bass guitar, or for that matter any other heavy string instrument. My introduction into the world of making music actually ...

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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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The SARP experience

The SARP experience

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the

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Lung Transplant Evaluation Approved.

It's been way too long since I posted to my blog. Been doing most of my updating via my asthma support group on Facebook. So anyways, after 6 months of going around and around with the insurance company, they have finally agreed to pay for a full lung transplant evaluation. ...

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Buried Alive

Buried Alive

The photo is from the movie "Awake", but what happened to me last September was not fiction.. It was the real deal I'll share with you now, what I couldn't 9 months ago because of pending legal action. Ive since withdrawn my lawsuit against the parties involved and am ...

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A quarter million puffs

A quarter million puffs

Care for some Albuterol? (Hey.....how did the primatine mist get in there?) I sometimes jokingly claim that Ive

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Questions for Dr. Wenzel

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 ...

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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! Its  spontaneous , unedited and kinda lame, but it's the real deal and it's what I have to do at least 6 times a day. ( recorded on 1-28-2009) ...

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Asthma_comorbidities
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Secondary conditions

No doubt most asthmatics have at one time or another, dealt with some of the nasty side effects associated with steroids, such as high blood sugars, adrenal problems, osteoporosis, etc. But you may not be aware that there are also secondary conditions that can develop down the road as a result of the disease itself. […]

April 10, 2014 2
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SARP Newsletter

The Severe Asthma Research Program’s first Newsletter. Well worth reading! A Breath of Fresh Air Related Posts:A SARP’in we will go…….Secondary conditions The “A” wordNot just Asthma, Severe Asthma!Lung ArtAsthma Phenotypes15 months Intubation Free!

March 19, 2014 0
anxiety
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The “A” word

Im talking about the other A word…. ANXIETY As a Respiratory Therapist and a lifelong asthmatic, I know all too well that anxiety and breathlessness usually go hand in hand. Still, I often catch myself getting a little defensive when a medical person abruptly brings up the A word and asthma in the same sentence, […]

March 7, 2014 13
Dr Wenzel and I
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SARP III complete

Well, almost. The study actually lasts for 3 years, but the bulk of the testing can usually be completed in 4 half day visits. After that, it’s annual follow ups and the occasional online questionnaire. Because I had a separate clinic appointment with Dr Wenzel, and because there has to be a 3 week space […]

February 21, 2014 0
Hosp 10-2013
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Not just Asthma, Severe Asthma!

Not to downplay the heartache and suffering that people with milder asthma have to sometimes contend with; obviously it’s a big deal when you can’t breath, but frankly I’m tired of the healthcare establishment lumping ALL asthmatics together under the same general heading of “asthma”.This is a problem because severe asthma is not the same […]

February 16, 2014 2
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Self observations : Steriod insomnia

For probably the first time in 50 years of cycling on and off of steroids, it came to me in a flash last night, that the reason I can’t sleep when on steroids, is not because I have too much steroid in me, but rather not enough. For the past 14 days Ive been in […]

February 12, 2014 0
pillow ,Dia
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Lung Art

I thought this was so clever. A few months ago a good friend of mine from Toronto, asked me if I could she use one of the images I had of some mast cells and lung tissue that was collected from my airways during an earlier bronchoscopy. She was going to somehow use them for […]

January 9, 2014 1
January 4, 2014 1
100_6270
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Prednisone Skin

Just one of the many joys of taking prednisone. I know chronic steroid use can cause paper thin skin ( what we call “crepe paper” skin in the biz), which then makes you more susceptible to spontaneous bruising, but Ive noticed lately that if I brush up against almost any surface, no matter how gently, […]

November 15, 2013 7
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UMPC Asthma Support Group

Starting this month and every month going forward, I’ll be posting the minutes from the UMPC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Severe Asthma Support Group conference calls. The calls are sponsored by the Asthma Institute at UMPC and moderated by Dr Sally Wenzel Pulmonologist and Deborah A. Gillman PhD, Clinical Psychologist. If you have difficult […]

November 6, 2013 0
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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 up to […]

October 23, 2013 4
100_5753
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Industrial scale nebbing

It’s delivery day for my Albuterol/Atrovent vials. I’ll go though this amount in about 8 weeks They supply 4 nebulizer machines I have throughout the house My main nebbing station is an art deco table from a 1930s cocktail lounge Do I do anything on a normal scale? No. Related Posts:6 times a dayMulti-taskingCool new […]

October 3, 2013 2
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A SARP’in we will go…….

In a few weeks I’m off to Pittsburgh again to participate in SARP III. The focus of SARP III is to study the stability of clinical and molecular phenotypes of severe Asthma. Basically they’re looking for the bio signature of certain mast cells in the serum and plasma and whether they are maintained over the […]

September 28, 2013 1
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Most frequently asked question

"Can you have an asthma attack with a normal sat reading"?
The answer is..YES!
While it's a little unusual to see a person with a perfect O2 sat of a 100% during a severe exacerbation, its pretty typical to see sats in the 94-97% range. The reason for this, is that asthma is a disease of the airways , not the alveoli where gas exchange takes place. Most asthmatics dont desaturate during the early stages of an attack,unless theres a secondary problem such as pneumonia. You have to be extremely ill with asthma if your sats are low.

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