SARP visits 1 and 2

After thinking, “I really need to go get checked out at an asthma clinic or center,” for a few months and finally deciding I wanted to participate in SARP at the Pittsburgh location, I really had no idea for what I was in store.  The past 20 years have been frustrating for me as an asthmatic, trying to find doctors who take the time to really understand my struggles without dismissing me, and who don’t dismiss me/give up up when I don’t respond to standard treatments.  Every employee we’ve encountered at UPMC has been the nicest, kindest, most thoughtful, caring, understanding, knowledgeable, educating, sympathetic and empathetic medical professionals I’ve ever experienced outside of a couple individuals or personal friends.  I cannot say enough for the people here and the personal care and attention we’ve received this week.

A few examples:

  • I have the personal emails and phone numbers of my doctors, nurses and technicians who have encouraged me to contact them for any reason I feel is important.  I was already receiving 12hr turn-arounds on emails sent over the weekend before we arrived.
  • Liz needed to jump online in order to meet with her class during my tests yesterday.  The research coordinator made sure Liz was online and settled in a quiet waiting room, even offering her own computer if Liz’s had any issues connecting to the hospital network.
  • Absolutely everything has been explained to me in great detail with every opportunity to ask any question I desire.
  • I haven’t had to defend or explain any of my symptoms or medical history.
  • I’ve never once been told, “You’re not normal,” “We’ve never seen/heard of this before,” “We don’t know what to do,” or “I don’t think you really have asthma.”
  • I haven’t had to talk to anyone who understands only asthma and not any of the secondary, accompanying conditions and diseases.
  • Everyone has been interested in Liz and I as people, not just my test results or medication list.
  • The main nurse and asthma educator spent as much time as possible in between tests to ascertain what my asthma is like, how I manage it and to inform me of anything that has come about in recent literature and studies that could improve my status quo.
  • No one has acted like my breathing difficulties are all in my head just because I don’t respond well enough to two puffs of albuterol or some prednisone.

Tomorrow I see my new doctor who has been out of town these past two days.  We’ll go over the test results and try to make a plan of action of what to do next.  I have not found a single negative thing about this doctor online.  Everyone has only amazing, not good or great but amazing, things to say about her.

For anyone out there suffering with asthma needing answers, I’d highly suggest checking out the Pittsburgh Asthma Institute or a similar facility.  I think it’s fair to say you’ll have a great experience.  If you do end up coming here, definitely check out Family House for a place to stay.  It’s at least half the price of any hotel you’ll find in the area, the staff are extremely friendly and helpful, you have access to an Iron Chef kitchen area and there are shuttles to take you between Family House and any of the UPMC medical facilities.  It’s not a five-star hotel, but it has everything you need with perks you won’t find elsewhere.  If you are seeing any doctor or receiving treatment in the area requiring you to stay overnight, you are eligible to stay at any of their locations.