Sunday, June 28, 2009

Asthma Attacks

Josh has asthma. He's always had asthma. His mom tells me horrible stories about terrifying "my baby isn't breathing" experiences.

Also Josh is a Reilley at heart. Technically he's an Egbert, but he was raised 99% Reilley and is more like his Reilley-Dad than anybody else (I tell him all the time that "it must be genetic" when he does something exactly like Frank does it. He used to get confused and remind me that he has none of his Dad's genes. Now he just smiles and laughs because we both know that he has inherited pretty much everything he knows/does from his Reilley-Dad.) That means he works hard and plays harder. He doesn't believe in getting sick or tired and if the sun is up, he can't think of 1 good reason not to go do something.

Saturday was one of these "work hard and play harder" days. We'd been up since about 5:30, went Redboxing on our way to Lindon, where he dropped me off to prepare for the shower then went to my sister's house with the rest of the men in the family to help them get yardwork done.

By the time I saw him at 3:00 I could tell it wasn't pretty. Everybody was tired and sunburned, but Josh had kinda lost his color and I could hear him breathing wheezing over the noise of the kids from the next room.

I asked if he was OK, he said he'd taken his inhaler a lot, but now that he wasn't out in the weeds and pollen anymore he was sure he'd be fine. Note: Josh always thinks he's fine. I always think he's not. Sometimes he's right, and sometimes I'm right. I'm still not sure how to tell who is right which times. But this time I knew I was.

Somehow the boys won the movie discussion and Clint, Randy, Nate, Josh & I went to see Transformers. I left in the middle of the movie to go get Josh's inhaler since he (still) wasn't breathing and those oversized robot cars were (still) just fighting in the desert.

Immediately after the movie we raced home and discussed what we were going to do if we didn't have any Albuterol left over from the last time he was this bad.  Which brings me to my story:

The first year we were married I planned a big fat trip for New Years/Josh's birthday that Josh didn't know about. I talked to his boss and got him the time off work, I bought the tickets and booked the hotel, I even contacted a family from his mission to see if we could visit while we were in Portland. I hid all of the money on my credit card (which we never used) so he wouldn't notice the chunk of funds missing. I smuggled $50/paycheck into an account to pay off the credit card. And I didn't even spill the beans during the Sunday School lesson about things we should not use credit cards for (and Josh's first answer was vacations). I did a really great job planning this enormous surprise.

Even the details were taken care of. I was going to pack everything we'd need and the morning our flight left I would just tell him I didn't feel like going to work and we should go on vacation instead. He'd be so excited when I told him we were going back to Portland and that the whole thing was booked and taken care of. He was going to know I was the world's greatest wife (and never forget it).

Instead the week started with a major asthma attack. After trying to get it under control with just an inhaler, and after talking to Mom-Reilley we finally just went to the ER. He couldn't figure out why I wasn't willing to wait another day or 2 to see if he just got better. I couldn't decide whether or not to tell him we were leaving the state in a day or 2 and I needed him to be breathing in order to get through airport security.

When we got there they tested his oxygen levels in the waiting room to see how serious it was. He was not as low as he could've been (remember though that we were in the ER.....of course it wasn't as bad as it could've been he was still in one piece and he arrived in his own vehicle!) and we were in a room within 20 minutes. Which seemed fast.....considering how "not that big a deal" it was.

They started him on a breathing treatment and told him if he was gonna do this again he should really just buy a Nebulizer because it's cheaper (and faster) than a visit to the ER. He told the Dr. he had one, he just hadn't had to use it in a long time and had no medicine to put in it. The Dr. wrote the prescription for the drugs and they kept him for a few more hours....just to keep an eye on him.

I watched a lot of animal planet because as he would come in and out of sleep he'd change the channel to "something interesting" instead of whatever I would have watched.

One of the times the Dr. came in he told us "Just so you know, if you hear us talking about the SOB in room 9 that's you." Then he paused to laugh at his joke....and filled us in "SOB stands for Shortness Of Breath don't be offended."  We all laughed.

Josh asked if he could take home the peace pipe he used on their machine to use on his Nebulizer - they gave us strict instructions to get the medication for it right away and to clean it properly between each use. Then they told us to talk to our regular Dr. (who didn't exist) about a more permanent solution if he was using it regularly.

After our vacation (which we still went on.....while both of us had a horrible stomach flu....we got the next day) we found a Dr. who prescribed more inhalers and told him not to do things that made it so he couldn't breath. Thank you Dr. Lady for sharing your brilliance with us.

That was the last time he went to any kind of Dr. for anything.

Since we were both so sick during our big vacation, all of our pictures look like this:

and we spent New Years Eve somewhere between the bed and the bathroom in our hotel. We woke up at 1:30 and kissed Happy New Year and fell back asleep.

I know you don't get the flu from an asthma attack, but I still lump the horrible sickness on that vacation with the trip to the ER that started our week.

Fortunately this time we had the leftover medication, but we (again) have no Dr. (we've moved and it's been 2.5 years since we saw her anyway) and are really hoping that someone will see him this week to give him more drugs.

I understand why it's necessary, but really hate that they hold you hostage for your medication.  Josh doesn't actually need a Dr. to tell him to "not do things that make it so you can't breathe" (he has a wife for that) before giving him an inhaler that he's been using since before he can remember.  I didn't need a Dr. to examine my pelvic area and tell me that I could get STDs if I had sex before renewing my prescription for birth control.....but for some reason these Dr.'s needed to say these words to us before handing either of us the valuable slip of paper.

Anybody know a great Dr. in the area? Good = one with a prescription pad....


  1. Wow, I didn't know that Josh had asthma. That totally sucks! I'm still searching for a Dr. that passes out RX's like candy. Let me know if you find one.

    Last month I found out that my little boy, JJ has asthma. We were on a vacation, and he was wheezing really loud, and using all of his stomach muscles to breathe. It scared me so bad! I stayed up with him all night, and then left for a Dr. first thing in the morning. They gave him 3 nebulizer treatments, but his blood oxygen level never came up as much as they wanted it to. So they sent me home with a bunch of steroids and an inhaler which I had to do every 4 hours. We think it is triggered by allergies so now I'm keeping him on children's zyrtec.
    So I can totally empathize with the asthma thing. Good luck!

  2. Ah, a fellow asthmatic! Not the best club to be in if you ask me. When I was a kid, I went to Dr. Kay Walker. She's an allergist, and I remember her being great! (It's been a long time though.) She still practices here in Salt Lake. I doubt she passes out perscriptions like candy, but maybe she can find a medicine routine so Josh doesn't have to suffer so much! She had me on a great regimine of drugs when I was growing up that kept me out of the ER and I was pretty much able to do anything I wanted (except snuggle with the cute fuzzy animals I am so terribly allergic to.) Good luck!


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