14 November 2008

Thanks. I love being frightened half to death. Good Times.

No, this is not a book report about Duma Key.  It could be, I suppose, as I've finished the book, but after reading the book to the end, I think it is more sad than scary.  The beginning was far more frightening than the end, and I was disappointed with a bit of foreshadowing he did....but yet again, I digress.

I had about the most terrifying asthma attack of my life recently.  Normally, environmental factors like cigarette smoke and strong perfume set it off, and I'll hack-hack-hack like a three pack-a-day smoker, wheeze for a sec, and move on with my life.  No, I don't use the rescue inhaler that my family doctor prescribed for me.  Hate.  Hate.  HATE. The inhaler.  Plus any that are lying about in my house are very likely to be far past their expiration dates.

This started during a yoga class, and I thought it was due to over-exertion during the class.  It is a power yoga class, after all, and I sweat profusely.  I often have to work hard to keep with the proper breathing pace.  But when it didn't calm down during Savassana, well...I thought there might be something wrong.

I trundled down to the locker room, stripped off my sweat-soaked clothes, and got in to the shower.  (No, this is NOT going to turn in to one of those kind of blog entries, please see MonMouth for that, he provides a delightful bit of smut every time he updates.  Anyway.)  I stood under the spray, and just tried to catch my breath.  Imagine having  run straight up 8 flights of stairs, and standing at the top, panting for breath.  Yeah.  That's what it felt like.  I usually try to explain asthma attacks this way: imagine trying to breathe through a straw, after running a marathon.  Sound like something you'd enjoy?

Now that I think about it, it probably sounded like I was up to some....adult activities....in the shower, breathing heavily as I was.  Heh-heh-heh.  That is the ONLY funny thing about this whole episode.

I made it back to my office, still panting, intending to just sit at my desk and catch my breath.  Yes, I'm an attention whore, and I can be a drama queen (Hey!! Quit laughing over there!) but I don't like it when a fuss is made over my asthma.  It is embarrassing.  I don't want people to pay attention to it.  I ain't gonna die, trust me.  If I actually pass out (not bloody likely) please call DH, and only then try to get me medical attention.  Because it is not life threatening for me.  

So I resolved to just quietly wait it out, keep my mouth shut, everybody just ignore Lucy for about 10 minutes.  But nooooooo.  Course not.  Someone asked me a question, and I had to wheeze my way through an answer.  "That's" GASP "in" GASP "the" GASP "file." WHEEZE WHEEZE WHEEZE. It is a small office, and everyone hears everything, so immediately, everyone can hear that I'm having trouble.  "What is wrong?" "You OK?" and an "Is she crying?" all ring out from corners of the office.  They want to call 911.  They want to dig through my purse for "your inhaler" (don't have one!).  They want to know what to do.  

Nothing.  Just chill.  It'll go away.  Really.  (WHEEZE WHEEZE WHEEZE)  It sounds far worse than it is.  (WHEEZE GASP WHEEZE)  I promise.

Sure enough, about an hour later, everything was back to normal.  But this one really frightened me for a couple of reasons.  

One, I just couldn't get my breathing under control.  That is scary, when you're making a concerted effort to innnnnnnhaaaaaale and exxxxhaaaaaallee, and nothing is happening, you're still struggling to get enough air.  It isn't that I can't breathe; I can't get enough air, I feel like someone is squeezing my lungs with an iron hand. 

Two, I have not had an attack like that since I was 20 or 21.  I'm 33 now.

Three, since being diagnosed with asthma at 19, I've had exactly two asthma attacks this bad.  In 14 years, two attacks that were....serious.  See why I don't take it so seriously most of the time?  

I don't know what set it off last time, I just remember lying on the bed in my parent's room in their old house and trying to get enough air.  My mother had been dealing with asthma herself for a few years, and her advice to just be calm and breathe worked it out eventually.  I don't think that it lasted for more than 10 minutes.  I remember being freaked, but not ever in major distress.  

I don't have even the slightest clue as to what got it started this time.  Yes, my yoga instructor is tough, and she knows both that I'm asthmatic and that I sweat like nobody's business.  She also knows that if she's doing something beyond my limits I will stop and catch up to her when I can.  I stopped holding a difficult pose when the attack originally started, but at that moment, I didn't know that it was asthma rearing its obnoxious head.  I just thought I was workin' hard.

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