I am a moderate asthma sufferer. Most of the time, I am really good, and have even got my best PF up to 680 and repeated that on a number of occasions. Thatâ€™s almost off the chart (and thatâ€™s without the rowing machine, Twizzle). When I wobble, though, I wobble far. The biggest wobbles are often, but not always, triggered by colds, viruses etc. I also suffer from sudden coughing fits that mash me in minutes (sometimes related to the colds etc, often not).
For the last couple of months, I have been going from infection to infection â€“ all the usual winter stuff. I last saw my GP a couple of weeks ago when I got yet another scrip for anti-biotics, and also changed preventer because of side effects.
A week later, my PF was dropping fast, particularly from the beginning of the week. I do not know whether chest infection, my cold or change in drugs, or even all of them caused it, but I finally hit the floor on Wednesday morning. PF went down to 230, you could hear my wheezing 2 rooms away (and I am not generally a wheezing asthmatic). I could not breathe. I took gallons and gallons of Ventolin and only after about 30 minutes did it seem to ease a bit. I do not have a nebuliser â€“ I do not get major issues very often and so is not necessary. I kept on and persuaded myself that I am only a moderate sufferer, I already had a doctorâ€™s appointment booked for the following week, and I did not need any help. I forced myself to go to work (not far away), struggling. Why? Maybe it was something to do with being on a training course and having an exam to take that afternoon.
Please donâ€™t ask me how (or how much Ventolin I got through), as I do not know, but I got through it, absolutely exhausted. I took the exam, managed another day in the same state and have managed to get past the worst. I am still coughing and wheezing, but nowhere nearly as much, and my morning PF has finally got back over 300 just today.
Last night I read the British Thoracic Society British Guideline on the Management of Asthma and I shocked myself. I refer particularly to â€œTable 10: Levels of severity of acute asthma exacerbationsâ€.
â€œPEF <33% best or predictedâ€ is listed under â€œLife threatening asthmaâ€; â€œPEF 33-50% best or predictedâ€ is listed under â€œAcute severe asthmaâ€. Bearing in mind my repeated best PF of 680, 230 is 33.8% of that.
How stupid was I not to seek help on Wednesday? I got away with it this time, but I now properly realise now what a dangerous thing my action was.
The point of me telling you this? I just want anyone else out there that gets into the same situation to realise just how important seeking help is AT THE TIME. Please do not be as stupid as I was. Please do not do as I did - do as you know you really need to.
I see my doc early the day after tomorrow when we can go through all that has happened. And the exam? Somehow I donâ€™t think I was concentrating enough. Iâ€™ll find out in a couple of weeks, but I do not hold out much hope.