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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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 6
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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
RBB
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Dear Blackie Fish (1997-2013)

Dear Sampson, aka Blackie Fish ( nicknamed for his long black fur and star shaped paws), You were the awkward stepchild, the middle child of 2 other cats who shared our home. We adopted you from a cat rescue in Woodland California in 1999 when you were 2 years old. We suspected you came from […]

September 26, 2013 4
asthma pnenotypes
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Asthma Phenotypes

Physician researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute at UPMC are now using molecular and genetic information to identify asthma phenotypes and customize therapies in order to improve patient outcomes. If you have asthma and would like to contribute to this on going research, please consider volunteering for

September 19, 2013 0
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Tour De Badass YVR

“Badassmatic (adj.): Person with asthma better defined by badassery. Possesses insatiable desire for growth, change and adventure.“ ( Brought to you courtesy of Kerri Mac Kay) ***For more Badass adventures check out last years trip to Churchill *** Related Posts: Guest Post by Kerri Survive an attack, register for a marathon6 times a dayLet’s build […]

August 26, 2013 2
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Hotelspital

For those of you who thought I was kidding…No, it’s not a hotel, it’s my hospital. But the poshness doesn’t end there. The information counter at the front entrance looks more like the registration desk at a 5 star Hotel, and occasionally you’ll find a chamber orchestra playing in one of many the sitting areas […]

July 29, 2013 7
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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, I’m still ending up in […]

July 17, 2013 4
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Itemized Hospital Bill for Asthma Exacerbation

Well, the hospital bills have reached new levels of absurdity. I thought my medical bills from a few years back were crazy, but this one takes the cake. I particularity like the $1900 charge for an Advair inhaler ( listed as “FLUTICAS/SALMETER INH 500/50”) on the bill, and $900 for Fluticasone nasal spray( ie Flonase). […]

June 15, 2013 4
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24 Hours in the life of an Asthmatic

Check out Kerri’s vlog post and follow us through a typical day living with asthma. Related Posts:Asthma Phenotypes Guest Post by Kerri 12 month UpdateThe letterBehind that finish line smile Bound for Beantown

May 31, 2013 1
Sally Interview
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Dupilumab , A Game Changer ?

When I heard the news today that there’s a new drug in the pipeline for severe asthma, I about fell out of my chair. When you hear one of the world’s most respected asthma researchers proclaiming that this new drug is a “game changer”, you can’t help but feel a little more optimistic about the […]

May 23, 2013 3
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How to run like a severe asthmatic, by Bill Swan

Saw this blog post by Bill Swan and liked it so much I just had to re-post it here. Bill provides us with a step by step instruction guide on how to run like a severe asthmatic. ( I think the photo says it all, don’t you?) Read more about Bill on his blog at […]

May 14, 2013 1
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