During the past 8 days I've been signed off work with ""bronchitus"" . I'm increasingly convinced that this is not bronchitus at all but my first bad prolongued asthma experience.
None of the things my GP surgery have told me bear any relationship to the pattern of asthma that I experience. I have to work hard to maintain life on a low income, so I've colluded with the fact that so long as I'm well enough to go into work, I'll pretend that I don't have a problem.
A friend whose daughter had asthma was the first person to suggest to me that I should discuss this possibility with my GP. That was 4-5 yrs ago. My GP was happy to provide the brown, green and blue inhalers and to draw me a diagram of when each would be appropriate - only..... I felt embarassed to tell her that my breathing problems come on infrequently but fast..... the little diagram of how to escalate from one inhaler to the next every 3 days bore no resemblance to my actual experience.
At that point I had the inkling that my GP surgery isn't well informed, or motivated, about treating asthma, and I colluded with this thinking that I could manage by using my own common sense.
Through reading on the Asthma UK site as my breathing problems increased over the past year, I increased my own awareness about asthma. First I learned that my type of asthma pattern may be due to allergies, and I enlisted the local pharmacist to help me find an anti-hystemine that worked for me. Now I am learning that coughng can be an asthma symptom in itself, that asthma isn't necessarily related to wheezing.
By the time that I realise my coughing is compulsive and escalating in intensity, I always prefer collapsing in a bathroom of steam rather than going to the emergency room. It never seems practical to wait in a cold emergency room for perhaps several hours when I am either throwing up, or pissing myself, because of the force of my coughing.
I take what I can to stop the coughing, and get through it...... but recently I am trying to face that by doing this I am avoiding, rather than solving the problem.
Things that have helped me at different times have been: inhaling steam, chewing root ginger, taking honey, suppressant cough medicine, cough sweets. For several years I did breathing exercises every day as part of my martial arts practice.
I find full compliance with the regime of asthma preventers before the emergency use of relievers problematic. I did use preventers for a whole year, and didn't notice any improvement whatsoever in my asthma onset - which is always cause by either a virus or known allergies. I still don't fully comprehend what the active agents in the inhaler medications are supposed to achieve. Up to recently I took breathing for granted.
More and more surgeries at my GP practice are being manned by inexperienced young men and women who ask me the same ritual questions which don't have any relevance to my actual symptoms. They do now check my oxygen levels, which seem ok, but usually the appointment time is midday when my asthma is much less active than in the early morning or late evening.
I'm trying to work a sensible path through this and would welcome any support or suggestions!