Breathing. Most people do it every single day without thinking about it. It is a reflex. For some of us, however, breathing is not so easy. It comes with coughing, wheezing, pain, and what I like to call “gurgling”. Ever since my asthma attack during the biathlon something has been off. I’ve been struggling.
Most people who run may struggle with their legs giving out. Me? I struggle getting air into my lungs. For many people that’s the least of their problems. The best way I have found to describe asthma is; stick a straw in your mouth and try to run. Not so easy is it? Now, stick a straw in your mouth and then chuck a few peas into your straw. That’s what it’s like when you run with an asthma attack.
When I was active duty I had an E-6 by the last name of Thor who thought that asthma was “all in my head”. He would bark at me telling me I was “faking it.” Then one day I was doing a mock PT swim test, as I flipped over to do my laps (something which comes much easier to me than running) my chest tightened up. I went from doing a fast freestyle to barely doing a doggie paddle. The life guard had to pull me out of the pool. While I was trying to hold my medicine in and keep the lifeguard from calling the EMTs, Petty Officer Thor was, in a word, freaking out. From that point forward he realized that I was not “faking it.”
I’m a very good asthmatic. I take my meds. I control what I can in my environment. That being said, I’m also not going to live in a bubble. My asthma doc knows this. We come up with mitigation plans to enable me to do what I want to do to live life. So when I go from running long periods and walking short periods to running short periods and walking long periods because I can’t breathe there is a problem. Combine this with having asthma attacks when you are sleeping, and let me tell you there is nothing more unnerving than dreaming that you can breathe only to wake up and not be able to breathe, it is time to call in the big guns.
I went and saw her today. She’s not happy. I’m not happy. So we are looking at changing my drugs out. While I know the change won’t come overnight, I’m truly hopeful that I can get back to running longer periods and walking shorter periods again. I know I’m covering the mileage either way, but breathing it’s kind of a requirement and I’d like to be able to do the miles while doing that comfortably.