Breathing is Optional… Right?

It is allergy season here in Nor Cal and that means danger for me. I have allergy induced asthma so, for me, I dread the sniffles of allergies. I end up having an asthma attack twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), and last night was my spring attack. I tried to keep it at bay with all my home care but nothing was working so, finally at 9:30pm, I went to the ER to get a breathing treatment.

The ER was packed! I have never seen an ER so packed. I thought that telling them that I was having an asthma attack and was having trouble breathing they would have taken me back somewhat soon. Nope, 1 hour in the main waiting room, 10 minutes to be triaged, and then 20 minutes to be seen by a doctor who told me that it would be a 3 hour wait for room. I was shocked! Here is someone with breathing issues and you tell them there is a 3 hour wait when they have already been there an 1.5 hours! I thought that was crazy. He then told me my other option was to take 8 puffs within the next hour of my inhaler and he would order a steroid. All well and good if my rescue inhaler had been working. If it had, I wouldn’t be in the ER!

So I tried calling family to see if anyone was able to take my daughter the next day if I waited to actually get a breathing treatment and no one was available. So I had to make the choice to leave and try again at home or have about 3 hours sleep by the time I got a room, the breathing treatment and discharged. I took the 8 puffs (which I was never told I could. It even says on the box to only take 2 puffs every 4 hours) and waited.

For anyone who has asthma, you understand the frustration I felt. When you are having an asthma attack, it feel like the air is being sucked out of you. You can’t take a deep breath, you get light headed, dizzy, you can’t talk (or at least the volume in my voice almost disappears), your blood pressure spikes, your heart rate spikes, you can’t think straight and, if it gets bad enough, you start to lose your ability to even answer simple questions like “what’s your name?”

Here I am asking for help because the stuff I was doing at home wasn’t helping and they turn around and say “sorry but you really aren’t that important”. I hate hospitals and I do everything I can to avoid going to one so if I actually walk through the door it means I actually need help. Unfortunately, if you don’t have asthma, you can’t relate to how serious it can be. My attack I had last fall got so bad that, by the time I got to the doctor, I had 40% lung capacity. I didn’t want that to happen again so I went before it got there. I guess I should have waited and come in on an oxygen tank :/

So I waited to see if the puffs would work. Praise the Lord! I was feeling my ability to think return and my headache diminish a little. I would actually talk and my breathing did get better. It wasn’t like it would be if I was able to get a breathing treatment was it was way better than when I walked through the door. The doctor was happy too since I believe that he wanted to give me the treatment but they can only perform them in a room and there wasn’t one in the whole ER available. Of course I just thought in the back of my head “all I need is the nebulizer and an outlet. I’ll do it in the bathroom if I have to” but rules are rules. He discharged me and I went and got my meds from the pharmacy before going home.

I still didn’t get home until 1:00am but it was better than 3:00am or 4:00am. I took my steroid and prayed I would be able to still breathe in the morning. Thankfully I was and attack had lessened. The steroid had begun to kick in and I took 4 more puffs as soon as I woke up. Now I am just tired. When you go hours without proper oxygen levels it feels like you have just run a marathon. I just pray that the steroid keeps working and the inflammation goes down quickly. I don’t like being stuck in bed and my two year old thinks it’s really not a lot of fun either. I am busy mommy who wants to have fun. And I have my favorite gym class tomorrow morning. Can’t miss Pilates! 🙂

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