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Real Patients: Everyday Life


Real Patients
Asthma affects my daily life every day and a lot that I do. Just, when I’m starting to feel poorly, my airways are starting to get tight just even bringing the laundry up the stairs from the laundry room can wind me.

You tell them “I have asthma” and some of them, their first thought is “well how are you still in the military?” or “how did you get in the military to begin with?” Not realizing that I developed it later on. I didn’t start out having asthma.

There was a lot of stigma, at least about ten, twelve years ago, that if you had asthma you would get booted out of the Air Force.

I’m still eligible to stay in because it’s not affecting my work. And I’m still able to perform my duties as long as, you know, with anybody else.

A lot of sinus medication to be able to survive the physical fitness exam of doing the mile and a half run at full speed, trying to maintain standards to the point that it would take me almost two days to recover from the run.

Basically I have to be fast enough so that at about fifty percent or so of my max speed I can finish my PT test in time. I can run fast enough at about fifty percent speed. If I go faster then that, it is going to trigger my asthma and I will have an attack.

I use to go to the gym six days a week, two hours a day. I use to do outdoors stuff. I use to go hiking. Use to take the dogs out for a run.

I use to be a very big travel person, both professionally and personally. I can no longer travel. I can no longer walk long distances at all. I’m on full-time oxygen.

All these different activities that I use to do, I can’t do anymore. My physical fitness has gone down. You know, I have put on some weight.

You think of it as you can just keep going, you can keep running, you’re just not trying hard enough. And I look at it and I say I can try as hard as I can but asthma’s only going to let me do so much.

Because I have asthma, it has affected my children where they worry all the time. Is, you know, is mom going to get sick? Are we going to be able to go to this activity tomorrow? Are we going to be able to, you know, spend all day, you know, at the water park? Or is she going to have a hard time breathing? We’re going to have to leave.

If I’m not back within a certain time frame or don’t respond to my cell phone in a certain time frame, they know to come get me. My husband is my equal partner when it comes to a support group. There has been many times I’ve had to call him up and say I can’t drive can you come get me? Because I can’t breathe straight.

I just hate that they, they always worry. Is mom going to be okay? Is mom going to come home? How long is she going to be in the hospital this time? So it’s hard.

This asthma is, it took me. And so I am stuck with it for the rest of my life. I don’t know how, you know, really my life is going to be for years, you know, in the future. But, you know, it has really put me, stopped me in my tracks, you know, from doing what I really want to do.

I have air filters all over my house. I have air conditioning that helps maintain a clean environment. My doors always stay shut. My windows always stay shut to keep the dust down.

But I’ve learned to live with it. I’ve learned how to deal with my triggers. I make sure that I have my medication, you know, right there when I need it. In the future, you know, it’s either, if I can control it with a current medication I should be okay.