For asthmatics everywhere!
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Hello everyone! I had a different blog planned but this really needs to be addressed.
So, we all know asthma is not a joke despite the countless television shows that try to convince us otherwise. Good thing some of us have a sense of humor.
Now onto the serious side. Just ask an asthmatic or someone with breathing problems how terrifying it is when you cannot breathe. Everyone knows it's serious and incredibly dangerous. Although that isn't new information, there are myths circulating around and another serious and dangerous problem that needs to be addressed.
There are 2 myths that stand out. The first is that all asthmatics wheeze. That is NOT true. There are countless times when I couldn't breathe and medical professionals would declare that my lungs sounded clear. I bet it has happened to some of you as well! Medical professionals need to be better informed.
The second myth is that we cannot communicate at all when we are having an attack. It's definitely difficult but sometimes, you can still talk, even though it's no easy feat. Sometimes, asthmatics feel punched in the back or chest. Other times, they may feel that their throat is closing. The most common description you will probably hear is that is feels like they are drowning and can't get air into their lungs.
There are other myths but my goal isn't to write a book on the topic.
I would really like to end the blog there but there was a horrible experience I had with asthma and I'm going to share. . It's important that we speak out against experiences like this.
Basically, I had to go to the hospital (a very subpar one at that because it's the closest) and after 4.5 hours, they decided it was just a panic attack. The nurses were snappy and told me I was breathing too loud. That is an extremely watered down version of the situation but it was just an overall horrible experience. That was NOT a panic attack and a couple of days later, I had to seek medical care elsewhere. Now, I have an inhaler for everyday use that has been helpful.
That's another myth: Mixing up asthma and anxiety because they can both cause shortness of breath but it presents differently. It was definitely asthma and if you are nurse, please don't grump out at your patients when they can't breathe or assume they are having an anxiety attack. You don't want to be the medical professional that kills someone because you made the mistake over believing panic attack over actual asthma. By the way, when you can't breathe, of course you might start to panic. Breathing is important!
Someone can also have both anxiety and asthma and 99% of the time, they know the difference. Do. Not stigmatize. This happens often, esp. If someone has to mention they take an anti-anxiety med.
Asthmatics, always advocate when you are able. It is an incredibly important issue. Just because someone wears a white coat or scrubs doesn't necessarily mean they know better than you!
Have a healthy day everyone!