1. "look, you're not breathing right…iiiiiin….ouuuuut…."
I know I'm not breathing right, I'm having an attack! I can't breathe!
2. "take DEEP breaths!"
Again, can't breathe, so...
3. "you're just panicking!"
Yep, and that's why my lungs are silent, right?
4. "oh I get a cough sometimes too"
Oh poor you. Now go away.
5. "you got that from smoking, right?"
(ftr: I know some people on this forum _did_ get COPD or lung cancer from smoking; this is one for the never-smokers with lung conditions)
6. "you want a fag?"
Do you want to stand there while I punch you in the niddies? Nah, thought not.
7. "oh well I had x infection last week, I still came to work/school. Why can't you?"
Because I couldn't get out of bed this morning because my lungs hate me.
8. "but I have x too, and I only have to take some blue occasionally…"
Well, lucky f---ing you.
9. "_I_ refuse to let x stop me doing the things I love!"
Yeah, maybe, but I currently can't do my favourite thing (ice skating) because I'm recovering from a life-threatening exacerbation and 2-week hospital stay so…thanks for rubbing it in and all, I really needed that(!)
10. "have you tried x juice/y diet/z tea?"
Yep. And if I haven't, it's because it's bol--cks anyway.
11. "have you tried..?"
12. "you look fine to me…"
And your med school degree looks non-existent to me…
Nah; I'm probably stronger for this than you'll ever be.
14. "are you _sure_ you need x med?"
Pretty sure, yep.
15. "aren't you worried about all the meds you're on?"
Well I guess so, just a little…but the alternative would be dying, so with all due respect, no.
16. "you'll grow out of it."
I'm 17.5yo and 4'10"; I'm not growing out of anything, not even my clothes.
17. "it could be worse."
Yeah, I know. Not necessary.
18. "at least it's not fatal!"
It could so so so easily be. Just because it isn't HIV or cancer or heart failure doesn't mean it isn't or won't be fatal. My gran has COPD which will probably be the death of her. I've had 3 life-threatening asthma attacks this past couple of months which could have killed me. Asthma takes 3 lives every day, and COPD more. So no, it is fatal, actually.
19. "you're just unfit."
I may not be the fittest specimen in this world, and I do need to lose weight, but I'm not 'just' unfit. FYI I play ice hockey twice a week and skate at least once a week, as well as roller blading outside of the rink most days, so fitness isn't a huge factor. Also, I don't think 'unfit' would be the cause of my lungs closing up because I breathed in some of your e-cig vapour.
20. "oh that's nothing. My….(long spiel about family member or friend or personal problem of the day)"
Again, no words.
21. "yeah well so have I, _I_ don't make a fuss about it."
_You_ can take a puff of Ventolin and be fine. _You_ get new inhalers because the expiration date has passed. _You_ don't have to get up an hour earlier than you'd normally need to and go to bed an hour later because you have so many meds to do. So no, of course _you_ wouldn't make a fuss about it.
22. "oh well at least it's just asthma."
It isn't 'just' anything! (TBH I think any phrase starting with 'at least' should be banned in medical talk. Like, it's not helpful, and it's just making the other person feel like you couldn't care less about them, like their problems are invalid. It's unfair and unnecessary).
23. "oh you're far too young to be ill!"
Oh, sorry. I guess I'll just tell my lungs to pack it in already because I'm too young to be ill! Great idea!
24. "oh I see…ah, did you have MMR?"
Yes, I did. No, it's not relevant. At all.
25. "back when I was little, no-one had asthma, now everyone has it!"
Back when you were little, kids with asthma died before you met them, and the population of the world was far smaller, and genetic diseases as a whole were less prevalent, and have increased in prevalence recently due to people with atopy breeding with other people with atopy to make little children with atopy. So yeah.
26. "that's caused by…"
..my genes. That's what this is caused by. Atopy runs in my family; both my mum and my dad have related conditions. It isn't caused by any vaccines, or foodstuffs, or chemicals in my food, or GMOs, or super-cleanliness, or medicines, or any of that. No. It's just my sucky genes. OK?
27. "my chiropractor/naturopath/homeopath says x condition is fake/vaccine injury/curable."
Asthma is not fake (I wish…). 'Vaccine Injury' as a notion in general is pretty, er, wishy-washy, but saying vaccines caused my asthma is like saying vaccines cause autism; it's irrational and bull. And 'curable'? I. Wish. And. I. Wish. That. Every. Day. But sadly it is not the case.
28. "you just need to drink more water."
And you need to read less woo.
29. "it's all in your mind."
Hahahahahahahaha…oh, you're serious. Riiiight.
30. "I can't believe you're letting it limit you like this!"
I'm not letting anything limit me. But sometimes things just do. I will go back to hockey, I will get back on that ice, I will..but right now, I can't. And that really sucks for me.
31. "you don't have x condition."
You also don't have any medical training whatsoever so please don't try to diagnose me!
32. "you need to cut out dairy and gluten. Humans aren't made to digest these."
Actually, I'm not lactose-intolerant or coeliac, so I have the necessary enzymes to digest lactose and gluten. So actually, I'm not sure what species you think I am given your conviction that I can't be human (Idk, cow, maybe?) but whatever I am, I can digest dairy and gluten products, so cutting them out would be cutting out two decent sources of nutrients and one very important source, unrivalled by other milks, of calcium and Vitamin D3, both very important to me given that I am on steroids. I swear, if I hear the 'humans aren't made to digest dairy' BS one more time, I might just slap someone!!!
33. "you should try acupuncture."
Acupuncture only works for subjective conditions, such as back pain. Objective conditions such as asthma have showed no improvement in lung function as a result of acupuncture in DB-RCTs, despite patients feeling better. So no, I'd rather not have needles stuck needlessly (pardon the pun) into my flesh, thanks.
34. "your energies are blocked."
My..energies..are..blocked? Well darn it there I was thinking it was my airways. But no, you said it was my 'energies' (whatever that means) so hey, I guess you must be right(!)
35. "you just need to get out more."
36. "oh stop being so melodramatic!"/"asthma attacks aren't life-threatening!"
(said to me when I told someone how I had had a life-threatening asthma attack) Well, given that my chest was completely silent, I was slipping into respiratory acidosis, and I was completely unable to breathe..nah sorry, it was life-threatening and I genuinely could have died.
37. "you don't need x inhaler."
Yes I do.
38. "asthma inhalers only treat the symptoms!"**
Just because they don't cure asthma doesn't mean they only treat the symptoms. Sure enough, the symptoms are treated as a result of the inhalers, but actually the inhalers treat the underlying inflammation which causes the symptoms*** so…
39. (walks into class, sits down) "OMG I have this cold, I'm literally dying."
a) no you aren't, b) no you aren't, and c) no, you really are not.
40. "ooh can I try your inhaler?"
No. No. No. Aaaaand….let me think….no, still no.
Has anyone any to add?
*I have only had this one once, and it was meant as a joke from one of the guys at ice hockey..but it stuck. Because I feel weak when everyone else is grafting away at drills and I'm at the side, using my inhaler. I've learnt to just focus on myself in those moments when I need some lung juice, even though nobody actually minds my asthma. But 'weakling' stuck. It shouldn't have; it was a joke. He didn't mean it. But it stuck.
**funnily enough, this one almost always comes from homeopathy advocates, which is ironic given that homeopathy is all about treating the symptoms, and tests of objective measures such as peak flow and spirometry in asthmatics treated with either steroids or homeopathy, it has been found that the steroid group and homeopathy groups experienced symptomatic relief, but only the steroid group experienced decrease in lung inflammation and improvement in lung function tests, showing that homeopathy (sugar pills) treated only the symptoms.
***in short: corticosteroids (prednisolone, beclomethasone, fluticasone) suppress the immune system locally (in the lungs), reducing the response of the WBCs, thus reducing inflammation; leukotriene receptor antagonists (montelukast, zafirlukast) block receptors in the lungs to chemicals called leukotrienes which, if they were to bind, would cause inflammation as part of the immune response; anticholinergics (ipratropium, tiotropium) inhibit acetylcholine (ACh) production in the lungs, decreasing spasticity of smooth muscle; beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonists (salbutamol, salmeterol, formoterol) bind to B2 receptors in the lungs, causing the smooth muscle to relax; and theophyllines are anti-inflammatory agents _and_ bronchodilators.