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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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
breathinstephen blog award 1
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Best Lung Blogs of 2010

Introducing the “Breathinstephen Blog Awards” Once a year around the holiday season I like to put together a list of my favorite lung blogs. This year I thought it would be fun to give an award to those bloggers as well. If your blog is on list, feel free to copy and paste the code […]

December 29, 2010 14
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Happy Holidays!

See you next year! Related Posts:Christmas KittiesSelf Observations: O2 Sats and exerciseDuke …aka snuggle bugFarewell Sweet AngelThat Guilty LookCanadian style lunch with a cat from outer space

December 24, 2010 2
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What to get the lung transplant recipient who has everything.

I normally don’t post excerpts or links to other peoples posts, but this one I couldn’t resist. Like the many others who’ve reposted it, I just love it. Piper, a recent double lung transplant recipient who had Cystic Fibrosis, lists her recommendations for that perfect holiday gift. I especially love the gift of prednisone. Her […]

December 22, 2010 1
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I’m blessed

You know what? I might be cursed with crappy lungs, but I sure seem to be blessed with some cool and caring friends. Case in point: After spending a pretty ugly night in the local ER, I woke up the next day to find a bunch of Facebook alerts on my phone. My talented friend […]

December 18, 2010 17
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Breathin Basics—ABG’s

“ABG’s” is another one of those medical acronyms that you hear all the time when you have asthma or lung disease. And if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to be hospitalized for your asthma, no doubt you’ve had one of these tests done on you. ABG stands for “Arterial blood gases”. An ABG is a […]

December 11, 2010 8
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Exploring my roots

A couple months ago I signed up with Ancestry.com to search out relatives and build a family tree. Its amazing how much info the Mormon church has in it‘s archives(they own Ancestry.com). They have the largest repository of genealogical records in the world. When I first started the tree I knew the names of maybe […]

December 7, 2010 4
Barry Ticket
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Stress Break Stephen Style

Recovering from a serious illness?………………………….Hop a plane to Vegas, see a Manilow Show! Needs some cheering up?………………………………………Hop a plane to Vegas, see a Manilow Show! Feeling down in general?……………………………………….Hop a plane to Vegas, see a Manilow Show! At least that’s what I do, and that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. Good Music always works […]

December 4, 2010 13
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Breathing Basics —O2 Saturation and Oximeters

Today’s Breathing Basics review is all about Oxygen Saturation and Oximeters. If you have lung disease of any kind, no doubt you’ve come across the words “Oxygen saturation” or “O2 Sats” , “Pulse-Oximeter”? I use those terms on my blog all the time, but do you really know what they mean ? I suppose you […]

November 30, 2010 36
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The OTHER Breathinsteven

His human name is Steve Ferkau, and his story is truly amazing. Related Posts:What to get the lung transplant recipient who has everything.Lung Transplant Evaluation Approved.Life is hard in the FEV1 30’s, but… The meetingThe SARP experienceWay to go Cris!

November 26, 2010 7
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Every Month is Asthma Awareness Month

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Severe Asthma Research Program
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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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