It started out a few months ago with what I thought was some minor wheezing when I would breathe deeply. No big deal. More an annoyance than anything else I suppose. A regular blood pressure check with Dr McKenna (the blood pressure was basically okay by the way) showed that the wheezing had gotten worse, and the cause, most likely, was none other than Jean Luc Albert, my cat. As I told Dr. McKenna during the visit, "The cat stay. I like him. He keeps me company.". Put another way, if I am truly allergic to cats (I had three in the place I previously lived at by the way), then I will just find a way to deal with it.
Flash forward to this Tuesday and I began to develop what I thought I thought was either a cold or some seasonal allergies. Again, no big deal. Wednesday comes along, and I being to slow down dramatically. Having trouble taking deep breaths, congestion, etc. I don't sleep well Wednesday night.
It's Thursday morning and I get a text message from a friend asking me how I was feeling. I explain that I'm having some real shortness of breath, etc., and their immediate response is "Steve, you need to see the doctor NOW". Now being the lunk-headed Kraut that I am, I did engage in some vacillation, but I did end up calling the Geisinger Tele-A-Nurse service. After answering what seemed to be far too many demographic questions, the verdict came down: My best course of action was to get to an Emergency Room, stat.
Fortunately, the person that texted me earlier in the morning was able to leave work and come to take me to the Moses Taylor Emergency Room, where I was promptly brought back to a room. I will say that I received great care from the Nurse Practicioner Mike, MaryBeth the nurse and Dr. Ravi. Tests were run, including some heart stuff, chest x-rays and many asthma treatments. After a few hours my blood oxygen level improved to the point where I probably wasn't in danger of blacking out any time soon, so I was discharged. Post-script orders included staying inside, avoiding smokey bars (that one is easy) and three days off of work (I will settle for one). Oh, and an antibiotic to treat a bronchial infection and some steriods to fend off any short-term relapses of the asthma crisis.
The cause of all of this? Well it could be that I got some kind of sinus/bronchial infection that set off my newly discovered asthma in a bad, bad way. Regardless, this was scary stuff. There are few things worse than trying to take a breath but simply not being able to do so. The idea of intentionally doing something like this to yourself...think Emphysema caused by smoking...is just simply nuts. Please, if you smoke, try to stop.
In the end I continue to be blessed. I my heart and lungs are working great. My blood pressure at the hospital was a respectable 138/82, and I have someone who cared enough about me to take a morning off of work to take me to the hospital and make sure I was okay. I'm on the road to recovery and breathing more or less okay. This whole asthma thing isn't all that great, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Yes, I continue to enjoy every sandwich.