Possibly asthmatic

I work in a petrol station, part of a supermarket. We are a small team, about 10 people, so you get to hear about others quite easily.

One of the ladies I work with is coming up to being 60 and has been unwell recently. Her doctor believes she's had some kind of infection and seems to have upset her chest, they mentioned to her that it could be asthma and gave her a reliever to use. She had bronchitis when she was younger so they suspect it has left a weakness there.

As the only person in my department with diagnoised asthma, i sat and talked with her about it on friday when i worked with her. From what I could tell she mainly got a bit of tightness and a bit out of breath towards the end of the day when she was tired but seemed okay the rest of the time. She also told me that she had used her reliever a couple of times. I tried to reasure her that it might not be asthma as such but that her lungs are upset from the infection and could settle in time.

Now I may be out of order with what I am about to say, if so please tell me and / or remove this thread. I was told today that this lady suddenly on sunday told her 2 colleagues she was working with that she'd had an asthma attack, had arranged for someone else to continue her shift. She then walked over to the store, a good 10 min walk, to clock out and then went home on the bus. But she was seen in town shopping on sunday afternoon by our personnel manager!

I am quite angry about her actions. I don't believe she had an attack, i think she may have had symtoms but I think if she'd taken her reliever and sat quietly for 15 mins she would have been okay. Surely behaving like this won't help those that really are asthmatic (have a diagnoises i mean)? I am lucky and have never had an attack at work and i rarely have attacks just get the symtoms but i did have a mild attack a couple of weeks ago, i couldn't walk anywhere, i could barely speak and once i had 'recovered' i managed to get home by driving carefully but felt awful the rest of the day and the next couple of days. I have a friend whoes husband is asthmatic and i consider him to be worse than me. She pointed out that if he had an attack he would need a taxi door to door.

Am i right to feel so angry towards this womans actions? What should I say to her to get her to see what she's done isn't a good thing? Especially if she does have an attack at work, she might not be believed and that would be awful.

Sorry to go on so long :o(


7 Replies

  • hi christine

    i cansee why yuo might feel angry liek this woman is takng advantge. its hard when we haev to battle toget people to see how bad asthma canbe for us. but if she isnew to asthma she probablydoesnt understnad what havng a real attack means. what feels awfulwith breahtng to her may feel normall tosome of us. but doesnt takeaway from what she experiencd. maybe just give herthe benefit of the doubt - thereis really no way of provng if sheput it on one way or the othr. thats all i can suggest.




  • Hi Moose1, how are you doing? I don't think we have chatted before.

    Asthma is a very personal thing. Asthma symptoms can range significantly from very mild to very severe and life threatening. The symptoms can be a bit subjective also, with one person perceiving his/her symptoms to be worse than/less severe than the next person.

    Take me as an example, I have infrequent cough-variant asthma (with no firm medical diagnosis) which in comparison to brittles who post here is very, very mild (not worth talking about actually). But when my asthma symptoms kick-in they can cause me (at times) a lot of discomfort and make me feel generally quite poorly. So much at times, that I do indeed feel that I want to leave work early (and have done so) to try and take control of my coughing and make me feel a bit better. I do not see this reflecting poorly on more severe asthmatics, it’s just that we are all different, have different copping strategies and pain thresholds. Some might call me a “girl’s blouse” for not being able to cope very well with my symptoms whilst others may say that my symptoms could be poorly controlled and require more/different medication.

    The primary consideration for me is to ensure (by explanation) that those who need to know about my asthma symptoms and the way they impact on me and others (family, friends, work colleagues and employer, etc) fully understand and accept my health limitations and needs. With regard to how others may perceive my asthma, I don’t think it really matters.

    I trust you find this to be a little helpful.

    Take care,


  • hi christine.

    you are more than right to be annyoed at this. I know how it feels to be neare someone like this, (as Justy knows). You need to sit her down and tell her what an asthma attack really is i think

  • Hi.

    Asthma is a very tricky thing as the symptoms and effects vary so much. I can understand why you feel the way you do about it but I myself have had attacks that vary from a short but very fightening coughing fit that has still required a 999 attention, to attacks of wheezing so violent that I have woken in hospital a week later wondering what happened and being told by doctors how lucky I am. It's a very grey area I'm afraid and it could be that your colleague recovered quicker than perhaps she could have anticipated. Then again, she may well have been swinging the lead in which case she should be very careful as if she does have a real attack in the future people might not be so willing to be so accomodating and helpful.

    Stay well everyone.

    Love, Fluffy.

  • well I would put it to her in a way that she doesn't realise that your having ago at her but it will make her think. Perhaps make someoneup and see what she says might have the desired effect that she'll realise that she was in the wrong

    (like a cry wolf story).

    It might help if it doesn't then perhaps pull her up over it and say its not on to do that

    Good luck


  • Thanks everyone :o)

    I haven't had a chance to speak with her yet, i will work with her on friday and my plan is to ask her side of things, ask her how she actually felt etc...

    I did have a chance 2day to speak to the colleague she was working with on sunday morning and he informed me apparently at lot of things were going wrong that morning, it is know she doesn't like working sundays anyway nor does she cope to well when things go wrong. This person said she seemed fine (i know this is no real indication), she wasn't coughing or out of breath or complaining of a tight chest and when she rang someone to take over from her she put on her typical 'ill voice' (she has done that a lot anyway lol)

    What I am really concerned about tho, from her point of view, is that although there is asthma in her family, does she really understand the seriousness of it and also what if she did have an attack? There is a high chance no one will believe her :o/

    I wonder if perhaps I should get her some info from asthma Uk so she has more info and a better idea of things?


  • Christine

    Getting her some extra info is a perfect idea. If she really is having troubles, this will help her cope and understand the illness better. If she's actually not having any problems, maybe this will help her understand the seriousness of the disease and she will want to stop playing around with it. In any case, it's a good idea to talk to her.

    XX Brynne

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