Ideopathic reactive airway disease--WTF??

Pull up a chair for a pity party, starring your’s truly.

Let me preface this rant by saying that I consider myself a healthy person, no underlying diseases of any sort, perfect pulse, blood pressure (little heavy but what the hell)I’m pretty strong too if maybe not as flexible as I was when I was 20.

I’m an RN, up to date on all tests, shots, had an extensicw physical in May.I don’t smoke, rarely drink and no illicit drugs. Up until these past few weeks I took no medications at all, worked 13 hour days, hiked, gardened, swam and generally did anything I wished to do.

3 weeks ago I came down with a bronchitis and asthma episode that is just not responding to treatment. I’ve been in the hospital, had to come home with a hand held nebulizer machine and I literally have a bucket of medications to take. breathing treatment, massive oral steroids, inhaled steroids, squirted up the nose steroids, bronchodilators, antifungal pills and antifungal liquids to be swished in my mouth, also allergy pills, and singulair–a fairly new med that supposed to cut down the enzyme in your lungs that react with the mast cells causing the inflammation.

I’ve been by the best pulmonologist in the area–who I have worked professionally with for the last 15 years also so I know just how good she is.

The thing is no one can find out what is causing me to be so short of breath. If I sit perfectly still I’m fine, but If I stand or speak or walk across the room I cough and wheeze and my peak-flow drops to 225-250–my usual best if 425-450 (those of you with asthma can appreciate the seriousness of those numbers) The best the doctors can come up with is that I have some acute form of ideopathetic Reactive Airway Disease, and I may be OK in a few weeks or a month or I may not. Until then I’m off work, crying from all the steroids and feeling pretty damn sorry for myself at the moment.

I apologize for being the party pooper, I’m just desparate for some comforting words and some huge shoulders to cry on. I know there is nothing you can really offer except well wishes and support but that is only exactly what I need. I believe in the power of prayer if any of you are so inclined. I do not wish to pray for a miracle cure, just for understanding.

I’ll quit now,

not a whole lot to offer, consolation or enlightenment-wise, but I just thought I’d say I can totally sympathize with you, as I have asthma. It certainly isn’t as severe as the symtoms and duration that you mention, but I do use my inhaler several times a day. I know that the worst feeling in the world is that shortness of breath, feeling that you’re going to suffocate. The seconds, they just stretch out into hours, while your breath gets shorter and shorter. But, that first blast of albuterol, the first deep breath, ohhhhhh…the ecstasy! I can understand taking breathing for granted, but to be without it for any amount of time really makes you appreciate it.
Hopefully you will recover from your mystery symptoms. I don’t really pray too much, but you have my best wishes.

Yeah, that term “ideopathic” is a bitch, isn’t it? And I even like “ideopathetic” better. :slight_smile:

Sorry you’re in such a pickle. I hope it’s just something you’re in the process of beating to death and getting over. (The, um, Western Samoan Lung Flu?)

Best wishes – stay strong.

Cindi, I’m really sorry this is happening to you. I know it’s scary as hell. I, too, am generally as healthy as a horse, but one of the rewards of my last pregnancy was coming down with what they termed reactive airway disease. (My doctor now says that it may be asthma; it seems to be just a matter of semantics at this point.) In my case, I would cough, and cough, and cough for no good reason. I spent over 20 weeks of my pregnancy doing this, and trying to convince my ob’s that this couldn’t just be a cold.

Pregnancy really brought it on for me; now the coughing spells show up for a few weeks as the aftermath of any upper respiratory infection I get. My doctor seems to feel it’s exacerbated by gastroesophogeal reflux (even though I have never felt heartburn). Ironically, many of the things I would uncharacteristically consume when I had a cold (lots of citrus juice, sucking on lots of peppermints to ease a sore throat, etc.) are potential reflux triggers. I avoid them now when I feel I’m in the danger zone for another attack. I’ve also started taking Prevacid at the beginning of each cold now, to try to get the acid levels down and reduce the chance of reflux irritating my airways.

I’m sending all kinds of hopeful thoughts your way. I hope you make it past this soon.

Oh yes I forgot to mention possible reflux. My pulmonologist thinks I may have some accolasia contributiing to the problem. this is more common with asthma than most people realize as the same type of muscles are involved in the lungs and the esophagus. Accolasia ia basically a muscle spasm in my case of the esophagus it could be causeing a stricture and allowing swallowed or stomach contents to be forced back up into my lungs probably without my even being aware of it. .

I’ve been told to sleep with my head up and started on Nexium–one of the newest so-called PPI’s, proton pump inhibitors. Sort of like prilosec or prevacid.

I’ve learned it’s not so easy to be on the other end of the stethascope. I’m so frigging confused by what is going on sometimes, I find it hard to process it all. I can only inagine what my poor patients have been going through. I promise that when (if?) I ever return to doing patient care, eucation and reassurance will be my first goals–not wether I am turning n perfect charts. I believe this is a persective alering event

That’s how my internist decided that reflux was driving the problem. (I first spoke with him AFTER the pregnancy and discussed the problems I had then.) I had mentioned to him that for much of the time, I had to sleep in a a recliner chair, because as soon as I lay down, the coughing would get uncontrollable. Just keeping my head up wouldn’t do it for me. That seemed to clinch it for him that it was reflux irritating my airways.

Good luck with the Nexium. I sort of think the Prevacid helps me out, but I can’t be sure. The problem is, it’s not a quick fix. I think the problem tends to wind down and be more controllable in less time when I take it than when I don’t, but it’s hard to be sure. Since I don’t actually FEEL any of the other effects of the reflux, I tend to just go on faith with my MD that it really is a part of the problem, and needs to be treated. As you can understand, you’re ready to try just about anything to get your lungs back to their normal, non-twitchy function again.

I’m still thinking about you, and hoping you get this cleared up soon.

My prayers and best wishes.

I am currently on Nexium for my esophogitis and it is much nicer than the Aciphex that I was taking. The aciphex was occasionally giving me a headache, the nexium appears to not have quite the same problem. Do elevate the head of the bed, I’ve discovered that it helped me a lot in a fairly short period of time.