What were you thinking???

What exactly were you thinking??? –My asthma doc

And just like that I am toss squarely on my ass.  Ah, yes, life as an asthmatic.  Last week (prior to the Spartan Super) I started experiencing some burning in my lungs. No big deal, I thought, I’ll just take my sick protocol.  All asthmatics have one.  I started taking my Dulera twice per day.  I went about my business on Thursday. By Thursday night I was really wheezy.  No big deal, I thought, there is a huge fire in Shenandoah and the smoke is drifting this way.  By Friday morning, I was coughing up what I affectionally call ‘lung biscuits’.  Again, no big deal, I thought.  I’m going to Texas I’ll get away from the smoke and the yuck and all will be good in the land.

First flaw in my logic, I had to fly to get there.  Flying is notoriously awful for people let alone people (cough) like myself who have compromised immune systems.  Then, I get to Texas and my brother dropped the little bomb that he would like for us to mow the lawn “if we could, please.” Of course I’m going to do what my baby brother wants when he is in Korea.  Myself and Cindy (the SIL) took care of the grass.  Yeah, probably not a good idea on my part.  We’ll call that flaw two and three and most likely four. I’m really really allergic to grass and weeds.  Then, I didn’t bring my allergy pillow cover with me (I almost always travel with it).  Friday and Saturday nights were hard sleeping for me as one of my MAJOR allergies is dust mites.  Flaw five(ish).

Saturday rolls around and I’m still coughing up lung biscuits, but now I’m face first in grass (doing all the burpees) and surrounded by trees that were spewing pollen.  Did I mention the running?  Or the inhaling of all the air? Or the fact that I managed to give myself HIVES, yes, HIVES last year from doing a race and inhaling too much pollen.   Post race sitting in the car I start coughing up bright technicolored lung biscuits. Oops. Flaw six, ok, seven and eight.

Sunday. I get up at 0300 to get to the airport and my face feels like it’s going to explode.  My lungs ache.  I now have a cough that racks through my entire body.  Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have  gotten on an airplane.  I had to get home, though.  Flaw nine.

By the time I got home on Sunday I wanted to die.  I couldn’t breathe.  My lips and fingers were numb.  I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.  Now, I’ve done enough races to know the difference between the dump truck of love that visits post workout and the dump truck of awful that comes when you can’t getting enough oxygen.  I knew which one this was.  I crawled into bed and proceeded to sleep for the next 12 hours.

When I woke up this morning my wheezing was so bad I couldn’t even get my Dulera in.  Crap.  That isn’t good.  I knew I was going to need to get an appointment with my asthma doc.  After nearly falling over from coughing during my spirometry test I got put back into the exam room.  Now, I’ve been seeing the same asthma doc for over a decade.  She’s been very tolerant/encouraging (within limits) of my escapades.  However, today as she walked in the door and she was pissed.  The very first words out of her mouth here, “What were you thinking??!”  Second words out of her mouth, “You’ve become one of those people.”

“But I had a plane ticket,” I sputtered back.

“I write notes all the time.” She retorted

“But I thought Texas would be better.”

As the words were leaving my mouth I knew that there was nothing I could say that was going to justify all of the stupid choices that I made.  As she peered into my ears with the mom I told you so tone in her voice, “Yep, blood on your ear drums/canal you did some damage flying yesterday.  See, I TOLD you.”


IMG_9059You know you’re not doing well when they break out the nebulizer machine in the office.   You really REALLY know you aren’t doing good when they drop not one but two meds into the machine.  I sat there breathing in the medicine. A couple of minutes into my treatment my face started to tingle and my fingers started to tingle. Yay! Oxygen returning to my extremities.  By the time I was done with my treatment I felt oh so much better.  She came back into the room looked me square in the face and with a no nonsense tone in her voice, “Are you running today?”

“No ma’am.” I replied meekly.

“Are you SURE?”

“Yes ma’am. I’m sure.”

Satisfied that I wasn’t going to go running today she set about figuring out what cocktail of IMG_9060meds to put me on.  We settled on a new nebulizer medicine (the same one I just took) and an antibiotic.

“I don’t think you need steroids.”

PHEW! At least I have that going for me.  Steroids make me want to pull a chair up to the fridge with a fork in my hand and devour the contents.

“Look, you need rest.  Your body needs rest.  You are not normal. Taking your albuterol during the day other than for exercise is NOT ok. If you do, you aren’t well enough to race. Period end of discussion.  You need to remember, that despite your high functioning you are still an asthmatic.”

Now, trust me when I say, I know I’m an asthmatic.  That being said, I can be an asthmatic who sits on my ass and feels like crap OR  I can go out and live my life and feel like crap.  At least with the latter I have some awesome memories.

I’m going to be the good asthmatic.  I’m going to take my medicine.  I’m going to take it easy, but I will say this I’m not about to let any of this stop me from achieving anything I set my mind to.  I will just have to remember that my lungs, much like a Latin American dictator are propped up by drugs, and need to be given a little extra love.



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