Every year, August is an especially rough month for me and mister asthma. A year ago today I was in the hospital having an awful time, not sleeping, and anxiously watching the clock waiting for the RT to come by for another treatment. I hate being in the hospital and, in my dislike for being sick, I often try to bounce back earlier than I am able.
I should really listen to Liz more often, cause she’s never wrong.
It was probably 9 or 10 years ago I casually mentioned to Liz, “I have asthma kind of bad.” That may not seem like a big deal or a bold statement to make. In actuality it was my way of showing Liz I trusted her enough to nonchalantly downplay my serious respiratory condition. Back then I tried to hide my asthma as much as possible. I didn’t deny having the disease, but I let as few people as possible ever see me having any trouble. A good portion of my life has been spent pretending like I’m ok, and it seems like people usually buy it. There’s a lot you can hide by sitting, smiling, nodding, making hand gestures, and just acting chill. When things got really bad, I’d just disappear for a few days in my apartment and no one thought anything of it.
In the past 10 years Liz has seen pretty much every aspect of the disease. She’s seen me go from fine to gasping within seconds, she’s taken me to doctor’s appointments, and has sat with me on many, many hospital trips. She’s picked up who knows how many prescriptions for me at the pharmacy. She’s watched me try to walk down the hallway to get meds to end up on my face, on the floor. She’s yelled at and threatened people illegally smoking in my general vicinity. She’s explained over and over and over to people why I suddenly can’t go somewhere or participate in some planned activity. She knows when I’m pretending to be ok.
Earlier this month I was in the ER again. As usual I was sick of being sick, and worried about being away from work. I stayed home for two days and against the advice of The Liz, I went back to work because I felt like I needed to be there to assist with a big upgrade. Well, I showed up, pretended to be ok, worked a full day without lunch, and then spent the next 7 business days at home. After going back to work I picked up a virus of sorts, became feverish, started coughing crap up, and watched my peakflows drop. Thankfully Liz convinced me to stay home that entire week and by the end I could actually take deep breaths and in 7 days my peakflow numbers doubled.
I actually feel not so bad this time, and think this is the best I’ve been breathing since May or earlier. Liz says this is the first time in 10 years I can say I’m doing better than I was last year. Even though FMLA paperwork is the bane of my existence, listening to Liz and staying home for a couple extra days is way better than not and having to spend an extra week or two home.