My asthma is a minority.
It is not subtle. It is not that quiet cough little Jimmy gets in the corner of the classroom when he has a cold. My cough is LOUD. It is ferocious, painful, and disruptive. It is the sound that keeps people up and draws the eyes from everyone on my side of the ferry. It scares people away in a crowd better than a linebacker at full sprint, and it does not. have. mercy.It rears its head whenever I decide to make any physical exertion, even getting up to use the head at two in the morning – sorry mom! Again…Its asthma that's so distinct everyone knows it's you that is coughing even when they can’t see you. So loud and disruptive that you instinctively apologize to everyone around you every time you cough because it's become second nature. Asthma that makes your cheeks flare when one cough turns into two… three…. five… and your teacher has to wait for your coughing fit to be over.My asthma is not the kind that is simply tamed by a puff from an inhaler when it flares. Ohhhh no. This beast refuses to go quietly for it knows no boundaries. It is as stubborn as I am and at times I wonder whether it too inherited the Dutch, German, and Irish within me. It will just as soon interrupt your conversation, as it will smother that all important movie line from our favorite movie.
This is that Asthma, where your chest hurts more than your throat does from the coughing. And by the time you get better you swear that your involuntary crunches should have your abs looking like Daniel Craig or Chris Hemsworth.
This is the Asthma that is exacerbated by being overweight and yet confines you to inactivity and medications that increase your weight like some sort of twisted catch-22. ****** if you do, ****** if you don’t.
And people don't get how this… this… COUGH can be so… troublesome for someone. Surely I'm blowing it out of proportion and being a crybaby over a small cold, right?They don't understand that at times like I'm at right this minute – as I write this even – laying in bed is no peace for me. Only the ever elusive sleep can provide that much-needed respite from my own body. Even as I write this my head hurts from coughing and coughing and coughing. And the worst part? There's nothing anyone else can do for me. I'm on all the medications I can be put on for an asthma attack right now and are covered by my insurance. Controller inhalers, antihistamines, Abuertal, Levabuertal, Ipratropium Bromide, Budesonide, Prednisone, Methylprednisolone, all the ides and -ones. I have all but the most extreme medications they can prescribe me for asthma literally sitting in my medicine cabinet. I have tried most medications, and for those that work, I'm on that rare boundary of maximum dosages you can give to an adult for most of them to be effective and not have to worry about immediate health concerns.I've had to fight, beg, and plead doctors for the very same dosage of prednisone I've been on since I was FIVE as if I'm in there with a cough asking for oxycodone and Percocets. I can STILL recall the pharmacist's expression when I was age 5. He read the script, the dosage, and then saw how small I was and his look of disbelief is still memorable to this day.I get looks of disbelief and incredulity when I talk about my body to a doctor who hasn't treated me for a long period of time and insists I know what I'm talking about. No, I can't can I? I haven't had a doctor's degree. How could I possibly know anything about the disease my mom and I've been managing for the last twenty years?Somehow they don't get that wheezing for me means I'm on death's doorstep. That my lungs hold 112-120% of the expected lung volume for someone with my figures so that 94% 02 SATs are ACTUALLY pretty toll taking. Or that by the time my 02 SATs are to be concerning, it’s almost too late for me.
When they ask about peak flow meters, they don't understand that I maxed the adult version at the age of nine. That my asthma starts getting bad before their precious peak flow numbers start to show anything.They poopoo me and tell me to use my nebulizer – the same nebulizer and medicine I'm taking every 2 hours instead of every 4 like they say is the minimum I should be. I suffer the shakes, inability to sleep, and the gross feeling that albuterol gives me, just for the hope that maybe, just MAYBE, this time it'll ease the cough enough that I can catch my breath, eat my food, and not hurt for a little bit.This is that asthma that is so bad, you get turned away from studies or experimental procedures for being TOO asthmatic. So bad that when you tell someone you broke ribs twice from coughing the laugh at you till they realize you're not joking.This is same asthma that has me on three injections every two weeks since age 11 to keep my immune system from hospitalizing me when I have an allergy flare. The same MONSTER that has dogged my life for the past TWENTY years.
And yet, every time I got it under control my old insurance company would send me spiraling back into the pits of **** because I was "better now" and "didn't need" my injected medications. How many times have those lines turned into tragedy on the news again?They don’t understand the longer I sit here and cough the longer I suffer now, and the worse my future looks. For with every cough that comes out of me I risk permanent, irreversible, scarring that increases my risks of COPD.
That the longer I sit there on that exam bench and listen to the doctors debate about giving me a dosage of medication I and specific other doctors KNOW works, the greater the likelihood that I’ll be carting around oxygen when I retire. They don’t understand, that the longer I’m sick, the longer I suffer at the hands of this monster simply known as Asthma.