23 October 2006

Went to see the doctor man

I had an appointment with Dr. Hottie on Thursday. My asthma has been out of control this month (mostly due to the changing seasons, allergies, et cetera) and I have not taken any prescription or over the counter meds for asthma for about 5 years, so I thought it was time to run the tests again and see if I ought to be managing the disease better. Dr. Hottie had me do a test where you take a deeeeep breath, and exhale as forcefully as you can into a tube. You do that 3 times, and the test has some very silly sounding name, like spynomiter, but I don't remember what it is really called. The results show that yes, I still have asthma (what a surprise!) and he listened to my breathing through a stethoscope for a long while, and said that it wasn't all that bad yesterday.

"Of course, I'm not wheezing", I told him. "I just spent an hour and a half sitting on my ass in your waiting room. Let me run up and down a flight of stairs or 3, or spend 20 minutes on your treadmill, or you light up a cigarette, and then listen to me breathe." He agreed that I might have a point. Plus, the time spent in the gym each morning results in a pretty debilitating asthma attack on the drive home. My asthma manifests itself in a deep, hacking, I-smoke-three-packs-a-day sounding cough. I can exhale all I want, but I can't take a breath. And only after I'm done coughing do I wheeze. Heavy artificial fragrances, from perfume to air freshner can set it off. And while cigarette smoke is bad, cigar smoke is much worse in terms of starting an attack. I quit smoking probably about a year before I was diagnosed with asthma.

Speaking of smoking, and off topic for a second, Ohio has an "issue" on the ballot this November to ban smoking in all public places, from bars to laundromats. Actually, there are two ballot inititives; Issue 4 is from the tobacco lobbyists, and will not really ban smoking in bars and restaurants because it is full of the loopholes and exceptions you would expect of the typical lobbyist written bill. Issue 5 is the smoking ban, and I'm urging everyone in this reddest of the red states to vote YES on Issue 5. Link to full text of all 5 Issues here, but you'll need Adobe to read it.

Anyway, back to the doctor's visit. He prescribed 3 meds for the allergy/asthma problem; Advair, which I am to take daily, Sigulair, which I am to also take daily, and will treat both the asthma and the allergies, and Xopenex, which is a new rescue inhaler. I have not had a rescue inhaler for a really long time, because I really dislike the side effect of a racing heart.

He also prescribed Ambien, as I asked, for my sleeping trouble. But he gave me a sample of Rozorem too, with the instructions to try the Rozorem first. I did, on Friday night and the jury's still out. I was reading Augusten Burrough's memoir, Dry, and between one breath and the next, literally, I felt the drug take hold. A dizzying sensation, and immediate hyper-drowsiness. (if that's even a word). But I finished the book before going to sleep at 11pm, and I was up at 3 (wow, 4 hours uninterupted) and again at 4.30, and again at 5. I didn't go to the gym, as I had gone twice on Thursday, and had a really tough time getting moving, getting started on Friday morning. Friday night I took it again, with pretty similar results. Quick falling asleep (bonus), and quick falling back asleep after I wake in the middle of the night. (Also a bonus). But it does not stop me from waking multiple times, and makes me feel groggy in the morning which is not the result I'm looking for. So I filled the Ambien prescription, and took that last night. Around 7 pm, which is in fact too early. 7 pm + 8 hours equals 3 am. I did fall right asleep, was up at around 9, midnight, and then 3, but managed to fall back asleep each time, even being jolted out of a sound sleep by the alarm at 5.30, which meant I was late for the gym.

On the upside: more sleep, definately. And with the Ambien, my butt's not dragging, I don't feel all groggy. On the downside: still searching for the elusive, perhaps mythical 8 hours of uninterupted sleep.

Soundtrack: Jewel Kilcher had a song on her first album about "Let's go back to sleep"

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