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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Lab rat
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Cross Country Lab-Ratting

I just accepted an invitation to participate in a new clinical research project that studies the effects of a certain oral diabetes drug on people who have severe asthma. The technical name of the study is….. “A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Pilot Study of Pioglitazone Hydrochloride in Severe, Refractory Asthma” It’s being conducted at the NIH […]

March 18, 2011 5
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Gayle Myrna—Inhale the Future

Meet my friend Gayle Myrna. Gayle is a long time reader of mine and suffers from pretty severe asthma herself. Gayle is also an accomplished performer and songwriter. She recently entered a songwriting contest presented by Billy Ray Cirus, the Country Music Association and DRIVE4COPD to promote COPD awareness. Gayle is probably one of the […]

March 13, 2011 3
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My New Rabbit

Rabbit Air Purifiers Related Posts:Just call me Bubble Boy.Boston or Bust! Keeping the dust out.Self Observations: FEV1 and BreathlessnessAsthma PhenotypesTour De Badass YVR24 Hours in the life of an Asthmatic

March 7, 2011 5
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Mixing pleasure with business

With almost 2 hours to kill in between medical appointments last week over at UCSF, I decided to put that otherwise wasted time to good use and do something Ive always wanted to…. I racewalked the Kezar stadium! That’s right…. I racewalked 5.5 miles around the track, and I did it while wearing jeans and […]

February 28, 2011 6
Bloat 1
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Bloated

Everyone experiences a little indigestion and bloating from time to time. Did you know that it’s very common for people with chronic lung disease to experience frequent abdominal bloating? What’s not so normal however, is to actually become so distended that it impairs your ability to breath effectively, but that’s what was happening to me. […]

February 21, 2011 4
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Wanted: Asthmatics. No Experience Necessary

I was talking with one of the Asthma Research Recruiters over at the NIH in Bethesda Maryland where I’ll be involved in a study later this year( more about that in a future post), and I was shocked to learn that they were having a really hard time getting volunteers for there asthma research projects, […]

February 14, 2011 7
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Boston training… off to a rough start

I knew that jumping into a marathon training regime on the heals of a methadone detox wasn’t gonna be easy, and boy was I right. These first few weeks have been really tough and I haven’t even gotten into the longer distances yet. It’s bad enough that Ive had to shorten my training schedule to […]

February 8, 2011 8
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Use Me !

The marathon walking–severely asthmatic–RT is in the house and is ready to take your questions. New for this year I’m introducing a new a feature I call “USE ME”, where I answer your questions relating to respiratory therapy, asthma, lung disease, fitness walking or just about anything else you think I might be able to […]

February 2, 2011 32
Boston Marathon
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Third time’s a charm

Not sure the title of this post applies, since Ive already succeeded at this two times already, but it has a nice positive ring to it and it puts me in a good mood. So after months of contemplation and a series of decent test walks , Ive decided to take a 3rd shot at […]

January 27, 2011 10
Alin
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Alin

I probably sound like a broken record when I say this, but it’s true… I might have crappy lungs, but it’s because of those crappy lungs that I’ve been able to meet so many wonderful and interesting people. My friend Alin certainly fits in that category. Alin has Autism, Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and an […]

January 24, 2011 8
Monkey on Back
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Getting that Monkey off my Back

I haven’t blogged about this experience until now, because frankly, I been too sick to sit in front of the computer for more than a few minutes at a time. You see exactly 2 weeks today, I stopped taking one the most physically addictive substances known to man.. Methadone! (Some might say even worse than […]

January 18, 2011 9
RT
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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 State of California where […]

January 12, 2011 12
bookcover
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A Cookbook for Asthmatics!

Friend, Award-winning Chef , severe asthmatic and fellow SARP alumnus, Sheila Brillhard, wrote me the other day to tell me about her new cookbook . She created it for people who have to take prednisone for their asthma or other medical conditions. What a cleaver idea! I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how […]

January 5, 2011 7
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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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