“Pee in Your Pants” Asthma
“Pee in Your Pants” Asthma
On May 3, 2022, it is World Asthma Day, so this seemed a timely anecdote to share:
I have developed a very dry cough from asthma. Lately, this has seemed less bothersome than the deep, deep pit of depression that has been swallowing me. However, since I spoke to my sister two days ago, I feel a small ray of hope again. Additionally, she gave me the seeds of the solution to my asthma problem.
It is the worst asthma I have ever had. I have weird asthma in that most of the time, I don’t have asthma at all. I have known people who, for the entire length of our friendship, I did not even own an inhaler. For years!!! If you asked those people if I was asthmatic, they would say, “Of course not. I knew her very well, and I can say for a solid fact that she is not asthmatic.” Wrong! Ha!
My asthma tends to get triggered by external events. If I get very sick, I usually also get asthma. When the snow melts, some years, when I am feeling bad emotionally, my snow mold allergy escalates into asthma. If you don’t live in a cold climate, you don’t know that there is snow mold or that some people are allergic to it. In fact, many people who do live in cold places are unaware of this. I suffered for years until a co-worker finally pointed out what it probably was and a doctor confirmed it.
Asthma is a strange problem because it is definitely physical, but it is known to be receptive to being treated with hypnosis. Of course, that is true of other physical problems also such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I often think of the adage “physician, heal thyself.” I am not a physician, of course, but I am a hypnotist. I want to make some recordings for myself, but it is difficult at the moment while I cough and wheeze away. Ironic!
This asthma is what I call “pee in your pants” asthma because, well, there have been a couple of times that I coughed so hard that… oopsies. This might be too much information. If so, I apologize, but it’s important that you understand that this asthma is totally out of control. Oh, and before someone kindly suggests kegels, trust me. This is beyond kegels. Unless you are, like, a superwoman who can carry surfboards… and some are. I always thought that was extremely cool and slightly weird, which is also cool.
I started to worry that I might get a hernia from all the coughing. Can you get a hernia from coughing too much? It is very violent coughing. I think you can. I don’t want to Google it. That is uncharacteristic of me. I just don’t want to know. If you cannot, I suppose that would be a relief, but I strongly suspect that excessive, violent coughing can cause a hernia, and if it can, that will make me cough more out of anxiety about it. That’s just how I roll.
My Sister Fixes Everything
My sister talked me down from my tree in terms of depression, which is a different article – and, no, it’s not just another article about my depression – it’s about some interesting potential treatment options and other thoughts on how to handle depression when you are in the middle of it.
However, she also helped me with the asthma. My doctor – who is, I believe, on a one-man campaign to drive me to the insane asylum – use your car, buddy, it would be so much faster – prescribed Ventolin (typical asthma inhaler – a bronchodilator) and a corticosteroid inhaler. The pharmacist advised me to rinse my mouth frequently so that I don’t get thrush, which is a fungal infection. In my mouth! Grrrr…
Well, I used the Ventolin and the steroid inhaler. I rinsed and rinsed like a mad woman. I got a stupid fungal infection in my mouth anyhow (thankfully, a minor one). And I STILL had “pee in your pants” asthma! I was not pleased.
I told my sister about the “pee in your pants” asthma and how I am glad I am a lady so that I can wear certain products that have high absorbency and are disposable. My sister said she has a similar problem, and asked why my doctor didn’t prescribe oral steroids. “Aren’t those pretty intense?” I asked.
My memory is like Swiss cheese. So, all that science education boiled down to “pretty intense.” Ha! However, thanks, Brain. You got it. Oral steroids are, indeed “pretty intense.” I looked them up to get the expanded version of this: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6007-9383/prednisone-oral/prednisone-oral/details.
My sister said that she rarely takes them, and only for 5 to 10 days at a time. After peeing in my pants a few more times and coughing so hard that I started to hold a pillow over my stomach in the hope that it might help prevent hernia, I decided to call my doctor.
Usually, when I call my doctor, the receptionist says that if I don’t have COVID, I have to come in to see him. This is irritating because most of the time, I call him because he forgot something important during our visit. For example, if I see him for a prescription refill, he often forgets one or two of the medications I am on. I am on many medications, but still.
He is an extremely smart man. That is the only reason I keep going back to him even though he is insanely apathetic almost to the point of malpractice.
He is so bad that a few weeks ago, I finally decided not to be such a “victim” and I found a new doctor in the area who is taking patients. The guy had reasonable reviews on ratemymd, for what it’s worth. After one visit, I remembered why I have stayed with my apathetic doctor for so long.
He was friendlier than my doctor. However, when it came down to it, I didn’t feel like he could help me. To help me, a doctor needs two things: one is intelligence, and the other is they need to want to help. My current doctor is intelligent, but he doesn’t want to help. It’s not personal. He is just sick of being a doctor. Maybe he is depressed.
After that visit, I started to think maybe it would be easier to “fix” my doctor than to find a new one. I started planting the seeds at my last visit. I told my doctor that I really appreciate how intelligent he is. I am almost physically incapable of being ingenuine, so it is how I truly feel. I told him that is why I like having him as a doctor – no matter what treatment I discuss, either he admits he has not heard of it (in which case, it is usually something ridiculous) or he knows more about it than I do. That should not be amazing, but I am reasonable at research and it is alarming how many doctors don’t know some fairly basic things.
It was obvious that my doctor really enjoyed being complimented. I don’t think he likes his life very much. I determined that I would make an effort to remember to say something genuinely complimentary during every visit from now on. This might seem manipulative, but I am trying to manipulate him into being a good doctor to me, which is his job. And I am actually just being kind and genuine with him, but I think most people don’t realize that a doctor might want to hear something positive now and again. I had not really considered it.
For whatever reason, the doctor, usually not willing to talk to me over the phone, went ahead and prescribed the oral steroids over the phone, which was very nice of him. My fiancé went to pick them up from the pharmacy. He had to wait over half an hour and go next door to the doctor’s office because my doctor had not actually signed the prescription that was faxed over. Faxed. Because we are trapped in 1985. Ha!
Did the doctor help me over the phone because I was kind to him when I last saw him or was it because I was coughing my guts out over the phone and the receptionist was skeptical about my claim that I did not have COVID? Either way, I eventually got the meds. Eight pills.
Conclusion: Two Pills Later
Two pills later, I am already coughing much less, and much less violently. I am happy to report that I am no longer incontinent. Yay! These are things we so rarely stop to appreciate, but we should because, one day, my friends, most of us… okay, yeah, I know. No one wants to consider it.
Additionally, as a bonus, the psoriasis on my hands is magically clearing up. Well, I knew it would, but this is the most dangerous way to do it, so I wouldn’t have asked the doctor for this medication if I weren’t desperate.
An advertising jingle is running through my head, which will be familiar to some: I’m a big kid now!
P.S. I know asthma is a much bigger deal and more debilitating for many. I am very fortunate that I have such a mild case and, only this once, had "pee in your pants" asthma!
P.P.S. Although an asthma attack is a very real physical event and can be a medical emergency, and should be treated with complete seriousness, it is also true that it is important to help a person who is having an attack to remain calm. I suppose it makes sense that feeling like we cannot breathe leads to panic, and panic leads to inability to breathe. So, while you are waiting for the ambulance, if you have a way to help calm someone who is having a severe asthma attack which an inhaler is not treating, it might help.
P.P.P.S. You all know none of this is medical advice, right? In case you didn't, there is my caveat. The lawyer who lives in my ankle made me write it. The one who lives in my hip says she doesn't think it is legally binding. I think they should have a battle to the death. Ha?