helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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asthma sucks, or blows, or stops you sucking and blowing

Have spent a few days being The Most Asthmatic Person In The World (TM) & having allergic reactions left, right and centre. The best bit was when I took two sips of my new Strawberry & Mango herbal tea and found my lips swelling up. Quite badly. Now, both strawberries and mangoes are fairly well known as allergenic fruits, but I've happily consumed both for years - including in other flavours of herbal tea by the same company. It's clearly not the herbs at fault, because they're the same as in several of my other flavours that don't make my lips swell up, so I'm pretty confused.

This has not been the only bad reaction in the past couple of weeks, and on Monday I spent half an hour sitting on my bedroom floor wondering if I was bad enough to need to go to A&E, but with a complete lack of desire to spend several hours sitting in A&E by myself, and without enough breath to actually ring someone to ask them to go with me. Plus, it was 10.30pm and most people I know are already heading to bed at that time :/ Suffice to say I did not die, just felt rotten for a long time, and finally got to sleep at gone 5am propped up on vast numbers of pillows. Joy.

The basic problem is that for years I've been on a very low dose of asthma steroid inhaler, because my allergies have been dealt with by a nose spray. Now that nasal steroids are contraindicated courtesy of the nose bleeds, my allergies are basically not being treated. Which means my asthma is like a million times worse. I don't get on with antihistamines - they either make me hideously ill, or have no effect at all. I've tried taking more of my asthma inhaler, but it does bugger all for chronic rhinitis (funny, that). Also although I am supposed to take 400mg of Pulmicort a day, I can't take that all at once because it's too much. As it is, I can't do anything strenuous for maybe 40 minutes after I take it (I'm not joking - if I take Pulmicort and go outside and walk up the hill, I'll start wheezing. If I have to run for a train, I'll be bright red, drenched in sweat, wheezing and completely unable to get my breath until Wimbledon (12 minutes), compared to being mildly out of breath until New Malden (3 minutes)) - this includes sleeping. So splitting the dose by taking half in the morning and half at night just isn't practical, because I can't sleep after I take it unless I take my reliever inhaler (which is kinda missing the point, right?). I suppose I could take it in the evening, but a) I have enough trouble remembering to take my evening drugs without adding another one to the mix, b) I get home at completely unpredictable times depending on my work schedule, c) taking the Pulmicort while I'm working seems like a v bad idea.

I need to go to the doctor and ask them to sort me out, but I don't really know what I'm asking for. Basically, I want something to stop me being so damn wheezy, and preferably something to sort out my allergies. Possibly I want a different steroid inhaler as well. I've heard good things about Serevent (sp?), but I don't know if it's available here or what its generic name is or anything.

So that's the advice part: Recommend me a good asthma drug and allergy medicine. Preferably one that doesn't contain lactose, because my gut gets turned out enough by the amount of lactose in the tablets I'm on already.

And I have a timetable on this, in that freezepop are playing in London on December 16th and I want to be able to go without dying. At the moment, just being in a room with one person who is smoking is enough to cause me severe respiratory distress.

And this is all so weird for me, because for years either my physical or mental health problems have been the most disabling. Chronic pain or being nuts I kinda have coping skills for (in as much as anyone has coping skills for depression). Asthma has just been this thing in the background - just this thing that 1/3 of kids have, most of them pretty mildly. All of a sudden I can't do things I used to be able to, like go out and have fun, and it's bugging the hell out of me. I haven't been to the pub in almost a year, because I can't even tolerate the atmosphere in a non-smoking section; if I go to a swimming pool I'll be ill for the next day; we regularly have to insist on moving table in restaurants because the non-smoking table they've assigned us is too close to the smoking; and going to see bands or going out to clubs is virtually impossible. I'm so sensitive to solvents that the ink of a newspaper can start an allergic reaction and I have to be careful what writing paper and pens I buy. Walking down the road the other day I could actually identify ozone and sulphur dioxide in the air as the pollutants that were causing me distress - god, I wish I'd never done atmospheric chemistry.

In a way the worst thing of all is being a chemist who will never be able to do chemistry again. I'm too allergic to too many of the common chemicals used in even school labs - I discovered that last year. I actually doubt that even getting my asthma more controlled will help with this, because the best I'll be doing is masking the symptoms, not stopping the response. Desensitisation therapy would help - if I wasn't so allergic to so many unspecified things that they wouldn't dare do something like that to me.

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