I'm a Former Hardluck Asthmatic Paying it Forward
I found one. I get so excited when I find one. It’s the kind of feeling a little kid gets on Christmas morning. I get excited because there aren’t many people who’ve gone through an inhaler in a day and can claim to be former hardluck asthmatics and bronchodilatoraholics like me.
Kendra was the lab technition drawing blood from the patient’s anticubital area, and the patient had the nebulizer mouthpiece clipped between his teeth. When the patient exhaled a fine, white mist of Albuterol wafted past Kendra’s face.
I said to Kendra, “Well, Kendra, it looks like you’re getting your lungs cleaned while you’re drawing that blood. Kinda like killing two birds with one stone.”
The patient laughed, and so did Kendra.
“I have one of those at home too,” Kendra said. “I used to have pretty bad asthma until I started taking Advair. Before I started taking Advair I used to puff on my Albuterol all the time.”
Bingo My eyes lit up like a child seeing his first firework. Several questions poured from my mouth as though some inner child took over my mind. The questions ultimately lead to, “Have you ever gone through an inhaler in a day?”
“Yes!” she said with a smile. “You?”
“Oh, yes,” I said. “I’ve gone through more than one inhaler in a day more than once. I like to call myself a former hardluck asthmatic and bronchodilatoraholic. I was until I started taking Advair too. In fact, I even wrote about it online.”
She smiled at that. “Then I’m a former hardluck asthmatic and bronchodilatoraholic too,” she said, adapting my terms.
No, I wasn’t flirting with her. God no! If you’re thinking that just drop that thought right now. I’m happily married with four of the most awesome kids in the world. And thankfully only one of my kids obtained my asthma gene as far as I know, and hers is mildly mild.
Yet when you have a medical condition like asthma, and you have a rare breed of asthma called hardluck asthma, or you’re one of a few bronchodilatoraholics around (or in my case former – fingers crossed), it’s just neat finding someone who puffed down a similar path.
In a way you make an instant friend.
The reason I decided to write about this experience here is because I remember introducing myself in my original post here at MyAsthmaCentral as a respiratory therapist, yet I don’t think I ever mentioned other than in passing that I am one of you – I’m an asthmatic.
Much of what I write about on this site is based not just on my experience as a respiratory therapist, but as a lifelong asthmatic. I almost died of asthma more than once.
In fact, my asthma was so bad in 1985 I was shipped to an asthma hospital and was admitted for six months. Not six hours, or six days, or even six weeks, but six whole months.
I met many asthmatics in the same boat as me when I was there, yet there was no Facebook back then and I’ve since lost contact with all of them.
I’ve had many requests to share my experience, yet I’ve yet to come up with a pithy way of telling that story. I could probably write a novel more so than a single column.
After my asthma hospital experience it was another 10 years – 1995 to be precice – that I met another hardluck asthmatic and bronchodilatoraholic, and since then as an RT I’ve met a few more, most of them patients I’ve taken care of over the years.
When I decided to become an RT I figured I’d meet many asthmatics like me, yet thanks to modern wisdom and modern medicine I’ve met only a few, and I can count them on one hand. Although I have met quite of few here on the Internet.
Yes, I’m one of you. That’s my point. My asthma is under control now thanks to modern medicines like Advair, and thanks to modern wisdom. In a way, much of what I write here is based on my own experiences, and my own curiosities about this disease.
So, to reintroduce myself, I’m a respiratory therapist, and I’m also a fellow asthmatic paying it forward.
John Bottrell is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).