Sep 222008

I might have had my first ever asthma attack on Saturday. But then, I might not.

My husband and I were going to mindfulness day again, and we were a bit late for the train. So we started running towards the station. Down the steps, up the steps, and along the platform. It was seven in the morning and winterly cold. So, I started running down the stairs, and halfway down I get winded and think, “That’s weird. I didn’t know I’m that unfit.” Halfway up the other stairs I started wheezing. And my legs felt heavy. And I thought I’d better stop running because I couldn’t anyway and somehow I didn’t feel that well. And then I walked as fast as I could seeing my husband running away from me towards the train, and then I started running again, and then my body did this weird thing where after each exhale it just went on exhaling spasmodically with a sound like a coughing.

I made it to the train (which then sat there right at the station for the next two minutes or so), plunged down on a seat, and went on to breathe like that for the next few minutes while thinking, “Well, that is odd. what is that? Oh, maybe I’m having an asthma attack.”

Somehow I wasn’t especially mindful for the rest of the day. I didn’t quite know what to do, or where to go but then I thought I’d better see a doctor. So, today in the morning I rang the office of one of my husband’s students who happens to be an internist, and when I told them, “I think I had an asthma attack.” they told me to come in immediately. The doctor first asked me a lot about heart conditions in my family (there are none), and I was thoroughly checked. So now I can say that as far as x-rays, ultrasound, blood tests, cardiograms, and that test where they see if your lungs work properly go, I’m perfectly healthy. While I’m happy that I didn’t have a heart attack, and that all the tests for asthma showed up negative, there still is an odd feeling to my breathing. And it feels like somebody is sitting on my chest.

So, I’m either a hypochondriac, or it’s like it often is, I go to the doctor and say that there’s something wrong, and they don’t find anything, and then I go back the next year, and they don’t find anything, and then I go back the next year, and after a few years of this finally they see that there might be something off after all. Or it might be like with my thyroid problem where I had my thyroid checked once a year for about twenty years before finding out that the only thing wrong with my thyroid is it’s unusual shape that leads doctors to think that I have a thyroid problem.

I think I won’t be running in cold weather again soon. And I think that I want to know more about allergic asthma. The doctor sent me home with, “Maybe it was an asthma attack but I didn’t find anything. If you don’t feel better in two days, come back. If you feel like you’re having an attack, come in immediately.”

At least he didn’t tell me I’m imagining it all. But then he has to take me seriously. I have been his singing teacher after all.

How was your weekend?

  8 Responses to “At least it isn’t boring around here”

  1. I can’t remember what it’s called, but there is something that has to do with the cold. I’ve known a few people over the years who have had it, but no one I really knew that well or am still in touch with. I’m afraid that doesn’t help much, only to say that maybe it will only be triggered by the cold air.

  2. That sounds like a very frightening experience. Do hope that it remains a mystery because it only happens the one time. Take dear care.

  3. I have asthma. Cold can trigger symptoms in some people. So can exercise. It would be a good idea to ask the doctor to prescribes an inhaler, and to carry it in your purse or pocket. You may never need it, but if you do, you’ll be incredibly glad of it. “Come in immediately” doesn’t work if you’re on the train, etc. For severe symptoms (anaphylactic shock), you would want to keep an epi-pen available. For most asthmatics, it is an inconvenience of varying intensity, but I think that about 5000 deaths in the U.S. are attributed to it annually.

  4. Könnte auch Belastungsasthma sein.

    Liebe Grüße

  5. I hope it disappears never to reappear.

  6. Sounds simply like you need to get into shape a bit more. Do you often run up and down stairs like that?

  7. asthma is a wierd thing to diagnose anyway. It sounds very much like an asthma attack, but then could well have jsut been your chest responding badly to the cold air, running up and down stairs first thing in the morning. Unlike one of the other comments i think that doctors certainly in teh UK prescribe inhalers too readily. The fitter you are the healthier your lungs will be. HOpefully it will never happen again

  8. This happens to M. It’s scary, isn’t it?

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