Asthma UK community forum

Hurricane Sandy and my portable neb

Hi all,

So I think you know I live in the States, but I also live in NJ, as in directly in the path of Hurricane Sandy last week. It's been surreal. Anyways, my asthma was great until the hurricane hit, then with no heat or power, candle smoke, and massive amounts of mold stirred up through the falling of all Autum leaves...and well water, not only has my asthma been well...interesting...but working as a hospital social worker, one of the highest areas of admission we've had is in asthma attacks, and newly diagnosed children.

So day 1 I took like 6 puffs of my rescue inhaler and upped my inhaled steroid right off...which seemed to work all right. Pretty well really, with no electricity at home, and little in the hospital as we were on back up generators. Also no running water or dialysis, as it was contaminated. Which was interesting, because all of these children in the U.S. tend to use nebs at home, so spent a lot of time convincing parents that spacers were the way to go, as it doesn't matter if you have electricity at home, and you don't have to walk to your nearest warming station.

And then finally on Thursday, 4 days in with no heat or electricity at home, I sort of lost it. Really it was a matter that I was d*&m cold, I've never been able to breathe well when it is that cold, and pretty much all the food I had on ice was all of a sudden not very edible. At which point my friend called and went on and on about her wonderful heat that was back on Friday I went to stay with her. Which was a good thing! As I was about to get more sick due to the mold count and cold. Oh, but of course my friend used to have a dog, so by Sunday, the asthma really kicked in.

All this to say, I am grateful for my action plan that actually worked. I'm on a whole bunch of meds now. Inhaled steroids 4 puffs twice a day, 40 mg. oral steroids, 4x day nebs...but it's working. And thanks to my pari portable neb., I was able to charge the battery at work, so I could use it at home without power. And I also finally located my car attachment, so I can use it in my car as well. Funny how when things go missing in the dark, it is hard to find them with your flashlight :).

So there you have it. I seem to have survived pretty well. I got really good at boiling water to wash my hair, and a smart friend recommended I use my hot water bottle to go to bed with instead of freezing to death! I got my heat back on this Monday morning and am sooo grateful for that. I'm very tired, but at least I can still breathe and didn't end up in the ER with my own patients. I did have to call my lung specialist to find out how to taper the pred., but I think that's something that makes some sense. As I'm not a doctor. Just a patient with good tools to use that have worked.

And tomorrow I will be going to vote, which should be interesting as well. A lot of our polling places have moved due to storm damage or lack of electricity. They are doing some good things to make this go smoothly though. Like opening the polls for the last several days, and letting displaced persons vote through fax or e-mail. So the adventure continues. Every day is different, and has new challenges. But today I'm grateful for heat and being able to breathe O.K.


6 Replies

Goodness bee!

First of all let me say I'm glad ur ok but what an awful time you've been through.

Sounds like you've had great support from friends and medical people to help you staout of ER, phew!!

Big hugs x


Thinking of you and hoping it keeps getting better every day. X


Angelica and Lou,

Thanks so much for your kind thoughts! Yes, it has been quite challenging, and I had no idea how menally stressful a disaster would be on everyone. Even the people coping well with all this are very stressed, cold, and we don't know what to expect. But really, there are many more people who lost their entire house, or their lives with this. So even though it is quite challenging, I want to be grateful for what I have.

Right now using my neb, and nice and warm and toasty in my apartment. Ah, bliss!



Just an update. As if Hurricane Sandy weren't enough, we had a nor'easter (which amounted to a blizzard) on Wed. It was crazy! Bad road conditions and all, and my friend and I laughed hysterically for about a half and hour, well and then I wrote down information. I guess if my power were to go out again, there is a way I can text emergency services, and they will give me the closest warming station location, which during the snow I wrote on my refrigerator, because I figured if my power went out again, I would have to head for the warmth!

Anyways, so things for me at least have gotten much better in the last few days. However many people were affected by the blizzard, and I have several co-workers and people I've spoken to whose power has been going on and off again.

But as for me, my power has been good, I now have heat, and I've managed to get my hands on some flameless candles (much better for the asthma if my power does go off again), I vacuumed, so my bedroom is now much more allergy friendly again, and

Well and my pulmonologist finally called me back, apologized profusely...but gave me very good instructions on what to do about the pred. He did make me laugh though, as I know he's been very busy, as I work at our local hospital, and have heard him paged several times overhead. LOL. I said ""no really, I knew you'd call me back and I'm sure you've been busy!""

It does look like I'll be on pred. for a while though, and I'm trying not to eat myself out of house and home! Anyone else have a way to deal with this issue? I find the longer I'm on it, the more my will power wanes.



Goodness what a time of it you have had. I hope the weather and your asthma improve soon.

Take care.


eeek what a time you've had! Glad you have heat and have managed to sort things out now; crossed fingers for your power. Did you manage to sort out going to vote?

Re the pred - not sure I have any helpful advice really as while I have other side effects on it (this time round anyway, haven't been on it much as didn't seem to work the first time though did this time...weird) I don't tend to get that one. However I have been known to munch away a bit too much at times so would say:

-try not to have the evil snacky things in the house to start with or if you do hide them somewhere that's hard to get to.

-if you must have them take out a certain amount then put the packet back.

-have some mints/chewing gum. They keep your mouth full of something with no calories for a while, plus most things taste horrible with mint so you won't want to have anything for a while afterwards!

Hope this helps - and hope everything settles down soon including your lungs and pred dose!


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