From the Archives

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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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I'm Honored

Just found out that my story is appearing in the RCB's annual Newsletter.... "Breathing Matters". I'm always flattered when an organization or a person writes an article about my fitness walking achievements, but this one is special because it comes from the same government agency that regulates Respiratory Care in the ...

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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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Bassist extraordinaire

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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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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asthma search phrases
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So,what brings you here?

Over the years Ive built up a pretty loyal following of friends who are interested in what Ive been up to and how I’m doing health wise , but the bulk of visitors to this blog still get here while searching for answers to asthma related questions or topics. The following (in order of popularity) […]

March 26, 2012 8
london7 002
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UK Adventure

Some photos of my recent trip to England. Had a great time and my lungs held out brilliantly. Traveled all over the central and western part of the country from Portsmouth to Liverpool. While in London I had the pleasure of meeting long time blogger Susannah and her husband Julian. How cool is that? Can’t […]

December 6, 2011 8
vap 018
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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. So rather than endure hours […]

November 2, 2011 1
curly 1
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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 began at the age of 8. […]

August 2, 2011 0
winston chile 007
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That Guilty Look

Tonight we had organic chile and beans. Took me all day to slow cook em, but man were they were delicious. So after eating we go into the kitchen to clean up and guess who’s sitting in the sink with that innocent look on his face. Don’t tell me my cat like chile beans? Earlier […]

July 6, 2011 1
awake-20080228115528369_640w
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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 breathing took a turn for […]

June 26, 2011 16
Overinflated lungs
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Air-Trapping

Ive written about this before, but this is such an important topic; one that effects most chronic lungers and causes more suffering than any other respiratory symptom, that Ive decided to come out of blog retirement to write about it again. Most of the information that Ive been able to find on the internet regarding […]

June 8, 2011 12
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Life after the Blog

Just a quick update on what Ive up too the last couple weeks. Lungs I’ve pretty much fully recovered from that last exacerbation and hospital stint. I think the intubation is what caused me to get so sick in the first place. An endotracheal tube is the perfect conduit for introducing bacteria and viruses deep […]

June 2, 2011 4
UCSF ER
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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 one of these really bad flares is the question….how bad will it get? Is […]

May 12, 2011 20
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104th trip to the slammer for Asthma

Greetings from the 14th floor isolation room a top the Moffitt building at UCSF medical center in San Francisco. Your guest host for tonight’s show is..well, me of course. I’ll be discussing how much fun it is being a patient in the hospital with severe asthma. Just happy to be alive, I was hoping to […]

May 7, 2011 9
b3
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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 the race just melted […]

April 21, 2011 17
b1
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Disappointed, but still finished faster than last year:-)

I was on well on my way to setting a personal best, when at mile 21, I slipped on some wet paper cups, did a full summer salt, cut my finger open and tore a ligament in my knee. It took me almost 2 hours in excruciating pain to limp the last 5 miles of […]

April 18, 2011 19
boston jacket 001
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Boston or Bust!

So in just a few hours Bib# 21619 is off to the Boston area to take another stab at the mother of all foot races. Monday morning I will attempt to finish my 3rd Boston marathon in a row and my 8th full marathon since starting this incredible fitness journey 5 years ago. May not […]

April 14, 2011 11
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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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