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Have a question about keeping track…

I was wondering if anyone here keeps track of their days by a journal or something? When I go see my GP, he always asks how many times I used my rescue in the last week, and I always have to guess. Just so busy and don’t really keep track.  I am just wondering if you all keep track of things somehow…and how do you do it? 

Also, cleaning the house today, and found a peak flow meter tucked away in one of my drawers. Do you all use something like that? I was told to use one when I first was diagnosed. I obviously haven’t been using it. Maybe it is a good way to see how everything is being managed? 

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  • Melissa G

    Years ago when I was first diagnosed, I kept a journal. I wrote in it before I went to bed. It helped me to figure out what my triggers were. I used a peak flow regularly until we got things more stable. Now I only use it if I am struggling. 

  • LK

    I was given a peak flow meter when I was first diagnosed, too.  I used it and kept a chart of my readings for months but the readings never correlated to how I was doing.  Kept a journal of how I was doing, too.  Did both for several months but stopped after I started doing a little better.

    After reading how several others on these forums keep detailed journals and how much it helps them figure out how best to reduce exposures to triggers and seeing minor improvement in peak flow numbers/FEV numbers it seemed a good way to notice changes that otherwise I would overlook.

    I started keeping a journal of sorts again a few months ago.  In it I record my FEV 1/6 readings, the weather, any triggers I have encountered, any changes in my breathing, etc.  For me, a spreadsheet on the computer works well.  

  • Wheezy Me

    I don't use a peak flow meter.

    Regarding frequency of ventolin use- I notice it only when I'm not controlled well (usually I use it only occasionally and don't take notes). I can write in my cellphone calendar how many times I used it (useful as I can do it on the go), but basically when I need it more than twice a week I increase my preventer dose without waiting for more…

  • Deborah Bartlett

    If you have a pocket calendar planner, you can record med usage, and other important health things on the daily squares to keep track. You can bring it in your purse when you visit your doctor.

  • K8sMom2002

    I like Deborah's suggestion about keeping things simple. Lisa has a great idea about keeping a journal of her FEV 1/6 readings, and Wheezy Me, thanks for pointing out that keeping a log of your flares or when you don't feel as in control can help, too.

    Here's a link to .

    Like Wheezy Me, one way that I figured out a lot of my triggers was to keep a log of all the times I or my DD had to use my rescue inhaler. I included things like whether it was a high pollen day, what I'd been doing just prior to it, whether there was a sudden weather or pressure change.

    That helped me figure out what my triggers were — for me, my triggers include sudden changes in temperature or air pressure, scents, exercise and grass/hay. 

    Knowing if you are having to use your inhaler more than twice a week helps your allergist or pulmonologist see how controlled your asthma is.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Exactly, Cynthia. It would be much appreciated by your doctor to be able to see that information. It can also indicate problems recurring during certain times of the year. As in my case…November through February seem to be the worst months for flares.

  • Wheezy Me
    Deborah Bartlett posted:

    November through February seem to be the worst months for flares.

    Same for me- winter is when my asthma is active.

  • K8sMom2002

    Do you think the winter months are a problem because of the colder weather, or because you may be exposed to more colds or upper respiratory infections?

  • Dar007

    Winter is bad for me too as the cold air is a trigger. The last couple of winters been having trouble with lung infections. spring and summer – have bad reactions to all tree pollen and grass. So far this week I had to use my rescue inhaler 12 times. I think I am getting pneumonia again…this sucks. Starting tomorrow I have 10 shifts in a row. I don’t have time to get sick right now. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Wow, Dar! I know you don't have time to be sick, but what about calling your doc and giving your doc a heads up on how many times you've used your rescue inhaler this week?

    What does your asthma action plan say do when you are having to use your inhaler that often?

  • Wheezy Me
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Do you think the winter months are a problem because of the colder weather, or because you may be exposed to more colds or upper respiratory infections?

    Both. For me, I feel the immediate effect of cold, dry air on my lungs.

    Dar007 posted:

    So far this week I had to use my rescue inhaler 12 times. I think I am getting pneumonia again…this sucks. Starting tomorrow I have 10 shifts in a row. I don’t have time to get sick right now. 

    Oh no, Dar, that's a lot… I second the suggestion to see your doc! And can't you call in sick and rest a little? I mean, I know they need you, but you need it to recover…

  • Deborah Bartlett

    From my own experience, I think the winter months are worse because of the colder weather. If you happen to catch a cold or other horrible bug, then it makes it worse. My immunity is ⬇⬇⬇ due to my COPD and the meds I have to use, so I am extra careful. It does mean a lifestyle change, but to me that is the only choice. ☺

  • Pljohns

    DAR-I so hope you get feeling better and aren't getting pneumonia!  UGH-Cynthia had a good idea to check in with your doctor now and maybe get a little ahead of it.

    I use a meter AND keep a log.  There are a lot of apps for smartphones that are good and fast about entering numbers, symptoms, times you used your rescue inhaler etc but I like to be able to compare data from years/months past so I have a very basic, simple excel spread sheet.  I have a "free text" field where i can type in weather changes, getting sick, other triggers and I'm a visual person-i have the major things color coded-I can look at a glance and see how many days I was in yellow on my peak flow, if I made any med changes (including adding pred), days I had triggers etc.  it works for me but I would definitely encourage you to find something that works for you.  I have 4 years worth of data on me and finally had enough that i can absolutely see trends etc and can tell what months are the worst for me etc so I can be proactive in those months to try and make them not so bad.   that you can get in touch with your doctor and hopefully keep from getting worse.

  • Dar007

    Well I went to work today, and as luck would have it, my GP was on call today and heard me hacking in the department. He took me aside and told my boss I am off for the next three days. He also said what I read here, that I had to use my rescue way too much this week. He wants to see me next week and he will be sending me to see a new specialist ASAP. So, I accidentally was seen by my GP today. Lol Finally home and I feel like crap, but got a new plan and will see him soon to figure out what can be done to prevent the pneumonia from coming back. No gym for a few weeks…which makes sense but sucks because I am paying for it. 

  • LK

    Oh, DAR007, I am SO GLAD your GP was there and you and he have a plan of action!!  Will keep you in my prayers and hope you get that appointment to see the new specialist soon!  

  • Dar007

    It was so strange to see the different ways people were reacting to me. Co workers were just either ignoring my struggling to get a breath and stop coughing. But the GP (who is a really nice person), stepped up to help me. I felt like I was a big inconvenience to my co workers. One nurse even took extra breaks today (to go smoke) and I was left to cover her work and mine. Like I was putting them out because I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening. They make you feel bad when you call in sick, but then they treat you like crap when you go in…there is no winning. lol

  • Deborah Bartlett
    Dar007 posted:

    It was so strange to see the different ways people were reacting to me. Co workers were just either ignoring my struggling to get a breath and stop coughing. But the GP (who is a really nice person), stepped up to help me. I felt like I was a big inconvenience to my co workers. One nurse even took extra breaks today (to go smoke) and I was left to cover her work and mine. Like I was putting them out because I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening. They make you feel bad when you call in sick, but then they treat you like crap when you go in…there is no winning. lol

    As I always say: It is what it is what it isn't. LOL! 😲😲

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs, Dar … and I'm glad your GP stepped in to help you! As for your co-workers, let's hope that they become more aware of how asthma can impact people thanks to your GP stepping up!

  • Wheezy Me
    Dar007 posted:

    It was so strange to see the different ways people were reacting to me. Co workers were just either ignoring my struggling to get a breath and stop coughing. But the GP (who is a really nice person), stepped up to help me. I felt like I was a big inconvenience to my co workers. One nurse even took extra breaks today (to go smoke) and I was left to cover her work and mine. Like I was putting them out because I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening. They make you feel bad when you call in sick, but then they treat you like crap when you go in…there is no winning. lol

    Get well Dar! How wonderful your GP was there!

    Don't worry about the gym. You'll have time to make up for it when you are better.

    And I really can't understand that. Health care workers who are indifferent to you struggling to breathe? They should know what asthma means… 😒 I hope some of them are a bit more sensitive than others.

  • Dar007
    Wheezy Me posted:
    Dar007 posted:

    It was so strange to see the different ways people were reacting to me. Co workers were just either ignoring my struggling to get a breath and stop coughing. But the GP (who is a really nice person), stepped up to help me. I felt like I was a big inconvenience to my co workers. One nurse even took extra breaks today (to go smoke) and I was left to cover her work and mine. Like I was putting them out because I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening. They make you feel bad when you call in sick, but then they treat you like crap when you go in…there is no winning. lol

    Get well Dar! How wonderful your GP was there!

    Don't worry about the gym. You'll have time to make up for it when you are better.

    And I really can't understand that. Health care workers who are indifferent to you struggling to breathe? They should know what asthma means… 😒 I hope some of them are a bit more sensitive than others.

    I think people really need to work on their empathy. People are like that though…if it isn’t happening to them, then they don’t really care. There are classes we take, in nursing, on empathy and compassion. But we still are human and some people lack that quality. And when they are around other people, like co workers who act the same way, it just emphasizes their lack of compassion even more. I work with people who are so caring and considerate to patients most of the time, but if they are on shift with a certain few, they are all standing there making fun of people in the waiting room! I just stand there thinking “who are you?!” It is horrible. So there is NO WAY I ever talk about how bad I might be feeling or that I even have asthma to any of them. No no nooo…

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Yes… out in public, many times, I notice that because it isn't happening to them, they just don't care. Sad as that is… BUT WE CARE!!! 🌟

  • Shea

    I learned the hard way that no one else is going to take of me, but me. It took me having a heart attack and being diagnosed with a serious chronic disease, and losing almost everything  to get that lesson and find out what is most important– my son and my health. Now that I stopped expecting anything from others, and grabbed the bull by its horns, I have gotten a lot better at saying "my breathing is more important than your—anything, actually, —so Im going to (cancel with as much notice to you as my asthma/churg-strauss syndrone gave to me, prioritize going to the dr over any other commitment, make a formal request for a reasonable accomodation if I am employed (certain number of breaks at work– to use a neb or rest for 5 minutes like the smokers get, or to wear a mask if exposed to strong trigger, or in my case I ended up requesting social security disability which was a 2 year long battle and me getting a legal rep but I got it, because working with my disease was seriously deteriorating my health)… Sone people will work you to death if you let them, but sone will respond compassionately, (especially to firm formal written requests to HR) and understand and be thankful for all that you can do without causing harm to yourself. I think that is a right for all people.

     

  • Dar007

    It is a wonder where people’s compassion goes. People are so cynical. I have about 900 hours sick time available to me, but I won’t use it today (even though I really shouldn’t go in. Still can’t breathe very well) because from my boss’s text to me yesterday, I know she is angry that I had a day off because of my GP. I just want today’s shift to go by as fast as possible. I am working tonight with people who expect me to do their work on top of my own. I thought I was helping the out once,  and since then they assume I will do their work so they can sit and talk, or text, or surf the web. It gets pretty busy sometimes, and they know I am there so they disappear! Then the doctors see only me and I am stuck doing their work as I fall behind in my own work. So frustrating! I just feel bad enough today to not want to go in. It can’t face the crap today. lol 

  • Wheezy Me

    Dar, you seem very responsible and caring for your patients and job. That is great! However, as Shea said, no one takes better care for you than yourself. If you feel so sick then definitely stay home to recover! And your boss has no right to make you come (I know, I also come to work out of conscience when I shouldn't… but there are boundaries). You are NOT the only nurse there. If that boss repeatedly gets angry at a devoted worker just for being sick… then he/she may not be worth it. Just do what you feel is right.

  • Dar007
    Wheezy Me posted:

    Dar, you seem very responsible and caring for your patients and job. That is great! However, as Shea said, no one takes better care for you than yourself. If you feel so sick then definitely stay home to recover! And your boss has no right to make you come (I know, I also come to work out of conscience when I shouldn't… but there are boundaries). You are NOT the only nurse there. If that boss repeatedly gets angry at a devoted worker just for being sick… then he/she may not be worth it. Just do what you feel is right.

    You are so right…why do I feel guilty for a legitimate reason! And from what I saw on Thursday, you are right. They don’t care. So true that I have to look out for myself. 

  • Dar007
    Wheezy Me posted:

    Dar, how are things going? Is your breathing any better?

    It is ok. Still having trouble. Last night the wheezing woke me up. Took me a moment to realize the sound was coming from me! lol I bought a little gadget that measures the humidity in the house…it just seems really dry in here these days. And it was very very low. Only 10%! Normal is between 30-50%. So I boiled water and left the bathroom door open when I took a shower. It is now reading 30%.  So maybe that is why my chest infection is not going away. My cough is awful, sounds like I am coughing up a lung,  but feeling better. Just anxious to get back to the gym and my busy life. There is a staff meeting tomorrow at 1pm, and I have to park three blocks away from the hospital (because payday is only Thursday, and I don’t want to pay for parking). But it will be very cold (there is a warning out for tomorrow for us), and with my lungs the way they are…I don’t care. Not going to risk it. 

  • Melissa G

    Dar, I really hope this infection clears up soon. Please don't forget a scarf or mask to wear out in the cold tomorrow. Do they offer a shuttle service or something you can use when it is cold outside?

  • Dar007
    Melissa G posted:

    Dar, I really hope this infection clears up soon. Please don't forget a scarf or mask to wear out in the cold tomorrow. Do they offer a shuttle service or something you can use when it is cold outside?

    My mother just called and reminded me to “wear my scarf!”. Haha There is no shuttle service. They assume we will park in the visitors parking lot which means I have to pay $8 for this meeting. I am not going. I really am thinking of calling in sick for my evening shift tomorrow. 

  • LK

    DAR007,  I would venture to say that with how you are feeling and the cold weather, that option may be the wisest!  Hope you stay warm and are breathing better very soon!!  

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Dar- We all care about you so much. You do what's best for you. If you think it's best to stay home, then so be it. We just want you to get better! ❤

  • Dar007

    Thanks guys….it will be a week tomorrow this all started. Still feels like I am breathing through mud. I don’t know if I should go see my GP again. 

  • Deborah Bartlett
    Dar007 posted:

    Thanks guys….it will be a week tomorrow this all started. Still feels like I am breathing through mud. I don’t know if I should go see my GP again. 

    Good morning, Dar. I wish you were feeling better. My opinion is, if you can't get in to see the doctor, at least give he or she a call. We really don't want this issue to blow up into something worse! ❤☺

  • LK

    Dar, I second Debbie's thought.  At least call your GP.  I know that sometimes just asking how long until I see some improvement or should I change something and hearing from my doctor helps immensely.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Yes, Lisa. Sometimes when you call your doctor, they can call in a prescription, and see you after you've used the medication, to see if it is helping you. 

  • Dar007

    I will call him tomorrow. Today I just want to sleep until my shift tonight. My GP is pretty good at seeing his patients last minute. He knows my issues and is pretty good at saying come in now. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Dar … I hope you're feeling better and strong enough to stay home if you need to. You shouldn't feel guilty about staying home when you're sick!

    Do you think you could speak to your doctor about writing a note requesting parking validation on days that are colder than so many degrees? That sounds like it might be a reasonable accommodation that you could go to HR with … and no one on your shift really needs to know, right? 

  • Dar007

    I will check that out! It is a good idea. Days like today is just crazy bad for me. 

  • Dar007

    Yes, I did. I go see him tomorrow. I think I know why I can’t sleep at night. I bought something that measures the humidity in my house a while back and for fun I got it working and from what’s i read, humidity should be between 40-50%. My house is 16%! My skin is so dry and my coughing at night is keeping me up. I did some research, and low humidity (where the air is so so dry) can make problems with the lungs worse! So I went out and bought a humidifier, and tonight I will see if I can get a better nights sleep. Crossing my fingers. My co workers tonight kept saying how bad my cough sounds. I am getting to exhausted. I would LOVE a good nights sleep! I think that would help so much. 

  • Wheezy Me

    Dry air is hard on my lungs too. I feel it especially outside, if there is a cold, dry wind; I guess it can be the same indoors, though. I hope it works for you!

  • Melissa G

    Dar, how have you been doing since buying the humidifier? Have you noticed any difference in how you are sleeping?

  • Dar007
    Melissa G posted:

    Dar, how have you been doing since buying the humidifier? Have you noticed any difference in how you are sleeping?

    I have noticed a huge difference. I am sleeping so much better. So happy I bought this humidifier. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Dar, really glad you're getting better sleep! It sounds like monitoring your indoor air quality is really paying off!

    Do you have mold allergies? If you do, could you set aside a few minutes twice a week to clean the fluid reservoir to prevent mold growth?