Oh, FINE then...I guess I *do* have asthma

So, I was in the ER last night because I had excessive chest pain and tightness, insane fatigue and weakness, headache, and difficulty taking a satisfying breath. I had a nasty bronchitis last week–knocking my ass flat on the couch for 6 days, marinating in antibiotics and prednisone–and after two days of feeling a little better, I felt worse. My memories of yesterday and the day before are hazy, like I was underwater. I was just so,so tired, no matter how much I rested.

The ER doc said I had “quite a bit of wheezing” and that was likely why I had so much chest pain. He then gave me 60mg of prednisone, 800mg of ibuprofen, had me take three (!!!) breathing treatments (which had me shaking so much I could hardly hold my phone), blow in a peak flow meter a few times, then took x-rays to ensure pneumonia hadn’t kicked in. It hadn’t.

I never had asthma until I had pneumonia in 1994. It left me with sensitive airways triggered by exercise, heat, and pollution, but I never really accepted I was AN ASTHMATIC. I only needed my inhaler 3-4x a year, ferheavensake.

Then, while pregnant with my second, I got what the OB believes was H1N1. “Oh no, here go hell come.” (Please tell me there are enough The Soup viewers out there to get that.) It nuked me, and my airways. My baby boy was fine, and I was eventually, but I’m STILL being seen by a pulmonologist for this. He put me on Advair twice a day, and checks up on me every six months. And I swear, I’ll go 5.5 months without an “event” (as he calls it), then BAM! From health to bronchitis in 12 hours.

But, whenever I’m asked if I have asthma, I balk. When a nurse last night said, “Oh, you have asthma, you’ve had to do this before,” I cringe–no, not me! Never had to. I’m FINE! All good. Or when another asks, " Ah, you’re an asthmatic?" I stammer and stutter before squeaking out, “Yeah, well, yes, I mean not really, oh, I guess so.”

Despite coming home at midnight and waking up for work at 5am, I’m more rested and clear-headed today than yesterday, or really, in several days. Okay, FINE, the breathing treatments made a big difference.

So, oh FINE then. :mad:

My name is Ruffian, and I’m an asthmatic.

My mom got this diagnosis after a pretty severe bout of pneumonia. Is it normal for this to not be a life long condition? Or is there a type of asthma that that only becomes symptomatic after a prolonged infection?

I have a friend who got the same thing. She used to smoke and had never had any asthmatic symptoms previously, and then got a case of pneumonia a few years back. Now she has to have an inhaler and is sensitive around particulates in the air.

Wait until you hit the ER and instead of asking if you have asthma, they ask “Have you ever been intubated* before today?”

Then you KNOW you have asthma.

Sorry your having trouble. Take care of yourself.
*Had a tube placed in your airway to breathe for you.

Hi Ruffian!

It’s actually pretty easy to have asthma and not know it, especially if you don’t know that coughing after over-exertion is a symptom, and if you’ve managed to avoid your triggers. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 22, and until then the only time I’d had clear symptoms (without knowing it then) was when I was in 9th grade and we spent the first two weeks of school running laps during gym.

Even now, I only have to worry about it a. when I run a long distance/severely over do it shoveling b. when I’m sick with a chest cold c. the last two weeks of May through the first two weeks of June when both humidity and pollen counts peak. So, more than ten months of the year, I don’t seem like someone with breathing issues.

That’s pretty much what did it for me. I quit smoking for three years and barely needed my inhaler but maybe once or twice a year when other allergies triggered coughing. I did start smoking again, but I’m about to quit one more time, so I’m looking forward to letting my lungs heal up a little bit.

Well… I guess you’re out of the ubermensch club.

But our club is better because we have cookies and inhalers.:slight_smile:

I probably had it for years without realizing it. I always thought I was extremely allergic to a certain tree around here that smells disgusting. I would cough and cough until I started wheezing. I started having similar reactions to certain chemicals. It wasn’t until I had chronic hives that I actually went to an allergy/asthma doctor. They had me do breathing tests and said, “you have asthma”. The tree that set me off and chemicals and smoke were all asthma triggers and not allergens.

I also would get very short of breath if I exerted myself a lot since I was a kid but I never thought it could be asthma. My mother had asthma all her life, so I should have guessed it was. I guess I was in denial, too.

Now, I also have a cat with asthma. We share my albuterol inhaler.

I’ve wondered that, Wile E. Growing up, I was always terribly heat intolerant. I’d get heat exhaustion easily, once just from standing outside in the sun while I painted. I had to quit my middle school track team because I just couldn’t run for very long, and particularly in the heat. I was sick once for 4 hours after a practice (weak, extremely fatigued, bad headache); I assumed it was because of the heat. Maybe it was, indeed; I’m just second guessing myself now.

I didn’t feel so hot today. I’ve been very weak and shakey, to the point my quivering hands were a distraction in the lunch room. Coworkers wanted me to go home and the urgent care, but I was exasperated–I’m not going to go again, only to be told again my lungs sound clear, my x-rays are normal, my O2 sats are fine, I have no fever…I feel like a hypochondriacal idiot. No thanks; I’ll assume this is part of my lame-ass recovery from this flat-on-my-ass illness.

The other night in the ER, I was in the waiting room for three hours–giving me plenty of time to sink into self-loathing and criticism. I felt so miserable, I just wanted to go home and sleep, and the fact my vitals (taken when I first arrived) seemed normal made me feel foolish for coming, and watching others be bumped ahead of me for being in more distress only exacerbated that feeling. Thankfully texts from my hubby (home with our boys) encouraged me to stay, and it turned out I was in some distress. Still, I freaking hate going to the ER/urgent care, and wasn’t about to go back today.

I see my pulmonologist next week. I called him on Monday, concerned about my new symptoms, and he asked if I was wheezing. No, I didn’t think so. So, he called in another antibiotic, thinking the Z-pack wasn’t enough. Welllll, the ER doc thinks this is viral, not bacterial, so he recommended against the antibiotic. And apparently, I was wheezing, a lot…I just didn’t realize it.

The ER doc recommended I make a follow-up appointment with the pulmonologist, but he can’t see me for at least a week. I’m still weak, wheezing, coughing, rattling, and getting the shakes, but I’m assuming it’s normal (?). Should I wait that week, you think, or see my GP? Or am I just going to get a “Don’t see me, see your pulmonologist” lecture?


I’m not good at this asthma thing.

I got asthma when I was 27 (I’m 46 now), I never had any breathing problems before then. I thought it was just a cold. But it held on and on and on. Then I noticed the cold got better but the breathing remained horrible.

My asthma is about 99% controlled and doesn’t bother me much, but it was a long time to get back to that point.

This thread is making me cough.


Is it common to have symptoms of exhaustion for days and even weeks with asthma?

I was diagnosed a couple of years ago, and like others, I’m very resistant to the diagnosis. I’m not asthmatic, dammit! I just have problems where my lungs occasionally don’t work because they’re all inflammed and such.

Twice now, I’ve had episodes after a major respiratory infection that lasted for weeks - exhaustion so brutal I couldn’t work, achy joints and muscles, but not fever. It took a full course of prednisone, a new NSAID prescription, and a month of rest to recover.

“Sucks to your ass-mar!”

I saw an allergy and asthma doctor for allergy, and he kept insisting I had asthma. I DO have chronic bronchitis and see not one but two pulmonologists for it, but all coughing and infections, no wheezing, no airway obstruction, no difficulty getting air. Plenty of oxygen. I have a peak flow meter, but for the last two years every single time I’ve tried using it, I blow it off scale.

“No, no, you have asthma”, says the allergist.
“But I don’t wheeze, never have any trouble getting air!”
“But you cough. Coughing means asthma.”
“Well, then, what’s bronchitis?”
“Bronchitis is when your bronchial tubes are irritated, maybe infected.”
“No, I mean, if coughing means asthma, how do they diagnose bronchitis?”
“Yes, that’s right, you have asthma.”
“That’s not what I mean. Besides, both my pulmonologists say I don’t have asthma, just bronchitis.”
“You have bronchitis, too.”
“Look, couldn’t you just treat me for the allergies?”
“You should not ignore your asthma…”

I should finish the story, lest people conclude I’m a ticking time bomb and the SDMB is gonna get sued somehow.

Eventually one of my pulmonologists made an appointment for me with a different allergist. And after a while, that guy told the first allergist not to piss in the other guys’ pots.

Duuuuuuude, this is LAME. I’m on my third course of steroids in three weeks right now. Boo. I was on prednisone when I had the bronchitis, then a Medrol dose pack after the ER visit. I noticed the Medrol really helped loosen up my airways–I still coughed, but it was productive, and I didn’t have the tightness or pressure. Well, I took my last pill Tuesday morning, and by Wednesday night, I was being awakened with wheezy, whistling coughing fits.

I saw the pulmonologist today, and he confirmed my airways are constricted AGAIN. Sooooo, another Medrol pack, and now my own nebulizer (wheeee) which I’ve used twice this evening. He also had me tested for allergies–I’m curious what the results are. (Please, not any animal danders, she says with the cat curled up on her feet and the dog lying beside her…and the horse dozing in her stall.) The doc thinks it’s most likely the bronchitis that triggered this asthmatic episode; apparently it’s fairly common after being sick.

I’m really looking forward to the Medrol loosening up my airways, but I am NOT looking forward to how it makes me retain water. It’s like I’m pregnant all over again–puffy, squishy hands and feet. Ick.

LOL phouka–the doc said that a lot of people don’t like the “asthma” label, so instead they use another term (“restrictive airway disease”) that is essentially the same thing. And, according to another thread of mine of in IMHO, feeling like shit for days and weeks afterwards is par for the course. I think it was Broomstick who described how hit by a truck one feels after a particularly bad episode.

Boo. Again.

Yes, some people do develop adult-onset asthma. I feel bad for them. I’ve had it since I was two years old, and I think it’s easier for me to manage because I just “know” things that ppl who develop it later in life have to learn.

Ruffian, look after yourself! A bad attack can really be hard – takes me a couple of weeks to feel “right” again. I miss how quickly I bounced back after treatment during my misspent and obviously under-appreciated youth.

To be fair, a lot of the general public still seem to view being asthmatic as something that happens to kids, or is the sign of being a half-crazy hypochondriac (some doctors even think the latter!). On the other hand “restrictive airway disease” somehow sounds more adult and less like a cripple or something.

Or as I sometimes put it - people aren’t asthmatic because they’re hysterical, they’re hysterical because they can’t breathe…

Yep, that was me. “Hit by a truck” is spot on. It even feels sort of like the “all over body bruise” one can get from a heavy impact, like being thrown from a horse, falling off a high place, or in a car accident.

Don’t make us smack you, Ralph.