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First trip with crazy asthma

I just flew from Israel to the US - 17 hours transit. I've never flown before actively ill with asthma.

The flights actually went very very well. I did discover though that pre-treating before take-off is a good idea at least for me. Lungs didn't much like change in altitude/O2 concentration on take-off, but that discomfort was short lived.

Ground travel went very well (gate to gate, gate to exit) but only because I listened to my husband and other friends who each independently suggested I ask for assistance.

I really didn't want to. it seemed overkill to ask for help. I have a perfectly good pair of legs and I actually like all the walking even with carry-ons to tote around.

Turned out I really needed it. I felt great on the plane, but then lungs met cold air on the plane exit ramp at Heathrow.

Even though i asked for assistance, I didn't know what to expect. When I saw no one at the exit of the plane I walked down the exit ramp. Even with pre-treating on the plane before landing, my lungs were beginning to complain. Then I saw a guy come out of a door and turn to roll a wheelchair back up the exit ramp - I asked him if it might have been meant for me - turns out it was, but he had to go back up to the plane first. That meant waiting several more minutes in the cold air for him to return.

Not good. By the time he got back down, my lungs were upset enough to need my reliever and it was a relief not to have to walk at the same time my lungs were trying to calm down. After that my lungs were jumpy gerbils the few times I had to walk or even stand up for any length of time. Even standing at security to unpack and repack my bags so that they could look at my liquid medecines and my doctor's note stating the need to carry them had me breathless. Crazy lungs. There was no way I could have walked from terminal 1 to 5. Good thing I listened to my friends.

When I feel well, as when I first left the plane on landing in London, it is so hard for me to believe that I'm just not making all of this up. Then when my lungs play silly games on me I go ""Whoa - can this really be me? did this really happen?"" - I still can't quite believe that I was really unable to walk on my own through an airport. Have my lungs really gone that nuts?

Things did settle down on the connecting flight from London to US. I'm at the hotel and I can now again walk around and breathe well at the same time. Yay!

Also when I'm in the middle of an attack, it sometimes doesn't look like an attack to me. it just looks like I'm having a bit more trouble breathing. It's only afterwards when things go back to breathing well, or at least well enough, that I can say, looking back, 'hey, that was an asthma attack and not just a bit more trouble'. a bit more trouble is something that goes back to normal after a short time, not something that lasts the length of a three hour layover. Strange?

1 Reply

Hi Beth

I know how you feel. The very first time my asthma caused me major problems I couldn't walk from my living room into my kitchen without needing to sit down for half an hour to recover. It scared me to death and I thought that I was going to be stuck with that for the rest of my life. But slowly over time it improved and now I'm ok for most of the time. Don't let it get you down, it doesn't have to be that way forever.

Good luck


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