Monday, October 22, 2007

Asthma Sucks (Literally)

So, I’ve had asthma for about, oh I don’t know, my whole life.

I’m really not sure if my asthma medication will cut my life in half or increase my life expectancy to 120. But I do know this, asthma sucks both literally and figuratively.

Please, please, let me explain.

A couple months ago, I was having a small asthma attack and went to get my Albuterol inhaler. I shook it in preparation for a shot of life-saving air and instantly my worst nightmare had come true – it was empty.

Oh, this hasn’t been the first time I’ve been without my inhaler. In fact, there’s probably been more than 30 times that I’ve had an asthma attack without my inhaler.

In the past, I would freak out and convince my body that because I didn’t have an inhaler, I was going to have an asthma attack and then proceed to die. And - besides the death part - that's exactly when an asthma attack would happen.

So there I was hyperventilating, sucking for breath and believing this was my last couple hours on this Earth. (If you want to know what it feels like, try breathing through a straw) I called up the pharmacy to order a new inhaler. It turned out my prescription was expired. I called Cleveland Clinic to beg for an inhaler. Their response: "I’m sorry, we can’t issue a new prescription without first seeing your doctor."

I pleaded with the receptionist and said that I wasn’t going to build a meth lab or anything with my inhaler. In fact, I’m pretty sure you can't make meth with Albutoral inhalers. To be totally honest, I really don’t know why they don’t sell inhalers over the counter. And, I'm talking good inhalers, not like Primatene Mist, which I was forced to go out and buy last night.

Let me just say that there are a lot of inhalers out there on the market. Primatene Mist is not one of them. If Primatene Mist were alcohol, it would be Wild Irish Rose, Mad Dog or King Cobra Malt Liqour.

For a disgraceful $11.95 this is what you get: When you suck it in, your teeth get numb and it feels like you’re inhaling a cigarette for the first time. As Ralph Wiggum said in The Simpsons when he ate the blackberries, "It tastes like burning."

So then I turned into a crack addict. I was going through an internal roladex trying to figure out who had asthma so I could go over their house and get my inhaler fix. Sadly, I couldn’t think of anyone, so I decided to take a couple hits off the Primatene and breathe it out. Most of the time this method works, but it takes a couple hours to get back to regular breathing. Yeah, it sucks. That’s why they have asthma medication.

Well, I survived that night, which was nice. And, the next day, I went to the doctor and got myself a year's prescription of my Albuterol. Yay!

You know, there was a time in my life that I was so convinced I was going to go into the Army (yep, the US Army) that I tried to ween myself from my inhaler dependency. It worked - somewhat. Now, I can leave my inhaler at home when I go on a run without even thinking twice about.

One small step for wimpy-lung kind.

I’m relatively thin with exception to my small beer gut. Imagine if I didn’t run, ate like a pig, weighed 100 extra pounds and was 80 years old? More than likely, I would be six feet under.

Thanks to asthma, my life-long health crutch and eventual death sentence.

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