I remember clearly my first ever asthma attack. We were still living with my Lola and aunt then. I was six years old, very ignorant about what was happening to my body. It was a little before midnight when a couple brought this bulky and noisy machine into our room. I didn’t understand what was going on and inhaling and exhaling to the mouthpiece seemed like for compliance purposes only. I got a little bit knowledgeable about my asthma when I was in Grade 5. I got an inhaler which works by putting a pill inside. Pressing its sides will puncture the pill and I get to inhale the polvoron-like medicine from the pill. I had early morning asthma attacks which woke me up around 2-3 am most of the time. It was when I recognized my fondness for dancing. I remembered it seemed like my breath was keeping up with the fast dance steps.
I cannot remember the exact events anymore but throughout high school, I bring with me my handy “puff” anywhere I go. I knew it was expensive so instead of having 2 puffs a day, I only used it whenever I had attacks. I became aware that dust, the smell of paint, cough, and long belly laughs made me short of breath.
Then came college and because I took up Nursing, I understood about the organ systems, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m rude but I feel so giddy and excited each time I handled patients with the same condition as mine. I felt so confident each time I gave bronchodilators because I can perfectly relate to the symptoms of the patient.
I’m a registered nurse now and I realized that I can’t just go on relying on my “puff” especially that I just kept on purchasing it for years without a doctor’s prescription. So just days ago, I decided to see a pulmonary doctor. An expert in pulmonary care, I decided to consult Dr. Ferrer. I’ve heard him talk in conferences, seen him win awards on TV, and already met him when Ma and I accompanied Papa for a consultation as well. I believe that he really did a good work in assisting Papa to totally stop smoking. I know there’s no cure for this chronic condition but I feel like paying a doctor a visit will update me of my condition.
So Doc said that Seretide isn’t addictive and I could go on taking it for a lifetime without any side effects. I complained about my current dose so he prescribed me a stronger dose but with a cheaper puff. He said that “you don’t need quality medicine for maintenance”. That way, two puffs a day will make a difference than just tickling my bronchioles. I was also told to undergo Spirometry and to have my sinuses checked. I can’t smell gentle scents and my early morning rhinitis lasts for a maximum of 3 hours. The spirometry test will allow me to control my asthma. Yes, I knew it can be controlled. I just waited for someone to prove it to me. So Doc said I could stop my puff for a week or a month. I could have full control over my puff schedule provided that the weather and climate are stable and I’m not exposed to any allergens that might cause an attack. He reiterated that asthma can be deadly and pointed out many cases he handled. Yes, I know. I even remember a pediatric patient we had who was diagnosed with Status Asthmaticus.
So now I’m using Salmeflo. The puff is only for P730 and one canister is good for 2 months. Seretide is more expensive, with the same strength, it already costs around P900. I will write a separate blog post about the hows and whys of my puffs. Doesn’t sound so exciting, right? But I know it will help a lot of those who also have asthma. Are you one of us? I know there also millions. It’s a common condition and Doc even said that asthma isn’t limited to wheezing and being short of breath anymore. You could already have asthma only represented by coughing.
Oh well, the climate’s a bit like a kaleidoscope nowadays so I make sure I get 1 puff twice a day. But my sister and I had very hard belly laughs over dinner so I puffed two more. Oh my gosh, I just realized I sounded so sick but no, really. It’s really very natural to me. I just don’t want to die chasing my breath. Oh puff, don’t leave me breathless.