Coming back from a New Year Dim Sum meal on New Year’s Eve, I experienced the only grown-up asthma attack I’ve ever had. It was bizarre. One moment I was fine; we visited our parents, and stopped to pick up some groceries on the way. Next thing I know, I’m throwing the car door open to vomit. Not because I felt sick, but because I was struggling so hard to catch my breath, and coughing so hard, I threw up. Four times. Ew.
I hadn’t even had anything to drink.
I don’t think about being asthmatic much. It affects me when I try and work out, or I’m tackling a steep hill or something. And if I get a cold or sore throat, nine times out of ten, it works its way down onto my chest, and I get some kind of infection. But this thing? It’s 100% asthmatic. And it’s terrifying me.
I’ve been feeling this way since mid-November. I had a cold, which became a cough, which became gross and unpleasant and necessitated time off work (which I do everything I can to avoid, so punitive is our sick absence policy) and sleeping upright for over a month. Thing is, I understand my chest. I know the difference between an infection and a standard cough/virus. I know that if I’m not coughing up phlegm, it’s not an infection. And so I didn’t go to the doctor until week six. I know – it’s ridiculous to wait that long. But as it wasn’t an infection, I presumed it was a virus, and there’s nothing doctors can do for a virus. Right? I’d doubled my preventive asthma medication (so I was taking four puffs of my 250mg Seretide inhaler instead of my typical two), and I still take Montelukast daily, a kind of anti-allergy asthma medication. And usually, that kicks it back. I might have a couple of unpleasant weeks, but it’s okay in the end.
My doctor was fabulous. I told him what I’d done to try and self-medicate, and he agreed with it all. He also told me off for not coming in sooner, but I expected that. He agreed that it wasn’t an infection, and told me that it was my asthma and as god is my witness, not for a second did I expect that to be the diagnosis because wtf. I’m in my 30s (just). My asthma is perfectly well-controlled. It seems a bit stupid, but I had no idea that asthma could make me feel so unwell.
So I put on a short course of steroids, and that totally helped. Eventually. Boxing Day I was able to sleep lying down (yay!). But then NYE, everything goes nuts again, to the extent that I was scared it was some kind of allergy/anaphylactic shock thing.
Brief aside: Oh my God, the dog just farted and it smells so bad you guys. Ugh.
I get home, and go straight to bed and I’m coughing like a mad ‘un, but it does settle down. Neither I nor M can work out what’s happening. My mother had given me a “spare” course of steroids she had in the house (I know, I know – this is incredibly bad form and potentially dangerous, but it was exactly the same medication my doc had already subscribed, the same dosage, and I know 100% it’s my asthma causing this) and I started them immediately. As I write this now, a few days later, I feel better. Not quite well, no, and still feeling as though someone’s permanently, 24/7, pressing down on my upper chest, but better. And that’ll do for now.
Not a brilliant start to the new year, right? Consequently, I didn’t even manage to stay up until midnight. We usually have friends here, and I’ll be honest – I’m glad they weren’t here this year. It meant I could hang in bed, not moving (the only way my asthma settles down) without abandoning them. S and M stayed up, watching James Bond movies and saw the New Year together. Better than nothing, I guess.
I spent most of yesterday in bed too, although I did have a brief hiatus from all that lying down to take down the Christmas decorations. Which made me ill, so I had to go back to bed and watch TV. I’ve watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy this holiday, you guys.
I hope you’ve all had a better start to the year! <3