Friday, April 01, 2005

I really became annoyed when I went to the student clinic for my asthma a few times recently. I remember now how much I hate being a patient. It's very galling to have someone act like they know more about me than I do.

I will of course concede that physicians know more about disease in general, and even my disease in general than I do. But dammit, I have been living with this for over 30 years, and I have made it my business to keep up with the research, as well as noting my own peculiar symptomatology.

For example, I know about the three (interrelated) aspects of asthma, which include: 1. inflammation; 2. bronchoconstriction; and 3. congestion. I know which stimuli or circumstances make which aspects worse for me. I know which meds address which aspect. I even know exactly how stress plays into this biochemically at several levels, having given the "Stress and Health" lecture myself!

So it pisses me off when They act like I'm some Luddite hippie dumbass herbalist who just doesn't want to get better the "right" way, i.e. using a primarily steroid approach to reducing inflammation. Forever.

When I know perfectly well that when I exercise regularly and get enough sleep, all my inflammatory responses are reduced (as is the case for most people). Sure, I'll accept or even specifically ask for steroids for short-term, for emergencies or whatever. But my goal is to get back to where I was before, not to stay on the freakin' steroids forever. (Don't they know that being on steroids for asthma is a significant predictor of bearing low birth-weight babies?)

I was explaining how exercise has always helped my asthma, to the doctor and his doctor-supervisee, and I swear all they heard was blah blah blah symptoms blah blah symptoms blah blah. Both of them immediately began telling me to use an inhaler before exercise to reduce exercise-induced asthma. Which any kindergartener with asthma already knows, thank you very much, and which also completely missed the entire point of what I was saying.

So, yeah, anyway. I've been exercising primarily to get some symptom reduction of my asthma. And I'm always amazed with how little actual exercise I can get away with doing, if I just do it regularly. It does take about two weeks for it to "take", but there's improvement the entire time. (Not to mention side effects such as energy increase, mood elevation, etc.) I even found myself waking up at 6:30 this week, before my alarm, and with that feeling that you get when you luxuriously sleep in until 9 or so!

So, yes, what I mean to say with this ranting is that regular sleep and exercise work wonders. And why do I always forget this every time I get busy?


argotnaut said...

They want you to take steroid _pills_, or _inhalers_?

I had to buy 90 days' worth of Singulair out-of-pocket for my trip, since Kaiser will only allow me to buy one 90-day supply at a time. Cost: Almost $300. But I was expecting that.

I can't settle for less than Singulair's symptom control anymore! I just hope they don't discover some horrible side effect.

argotnaut said...

What the ... OK, why can I see my comment on the page with the comment form, but not on the post?

liz said...

It's on the actual post now; probably just the usual Blogger weirdness. Which means if you wait to fix it, then it will have disappeared forever, but if you try to fix it right away then you end up posting five times.

Steroid inhaler, not pills. (Those were just that first week.)

I can no longer stand going without my normal voice due to steroid inhaler. It makes me feel cumulatively weird, like I'm not myself. (And there's also the bone-mass problem with any steroids at all.)

Yeah, that Singulair is pretty $$$! It helped me a huge massive amount at the beginning, when I had such irritation and inflammation in my lungs. But so far it hasn't been enough by itself--still have to use Serevent, and now the inflammation is nearly gone.

I really want to wean off of anything systemic as much as possible (as opposed to lung-location-specific meds) for possible, er, future ... internal occurrences.

(I don't know what it could mean to inhibit the leukotrienes of a zygote, but it doesn't sound good.)