A person with lungs filling up with air from a deep breath

Asthma Euphoria! 

Last updated: September 2021

Asthma brings about some miserable, horrible moments. You inhale air, but it doesn't go in all the way. You try to take in another breath, and it won't go in either.  Imagine feeling like this. It sucks. Do this long enough, and you will start feeling panicky.

Now, imagine all of a sudden you can breathe normally again. Man, that feels so good. This creates a feeling of asthma euphoria. At least that is how I describe it.

The first time I experienced this, I was only a kid.

My experience: the euphoria of the shot

I was 14-years-old. I was sitting all frogged up on the edge of the emergency room bed. Dad was sitting next to me. The respiratory therapist was standing by the counter to my right, and the nurse was standing by the door. She was still holding the syringe from the shot she just injected into my right forearm.

“You’ll be able to breathe in about five minutes,” Dad reassured me. This was evidence of dad’s prior experience in the emergency room at West Shore Hospital. And, as he said this, I looked at the clock on the wall right in front of me. I saw that the time was 7:05.

I know there was banter in the room. I remember dad talking to the nurse. It was a male nurse, one who knew both my mom and dad. Not long ago, he was at our house selling Amway products to my mother. I remember her buying soap or something like that.

The respiratory therapist from that day drifted from my memory. For this, I mean no disrespect to him. I simply knew I did not need his breathing treatment. I knew it would do no good. And I was feeling too crappy to pay much attention to who he was. Truthfully, all I was doing was concentrating on my breathing. I did this while watching that second hand move forward.

Watching the clock

Click. Click. Click. Click.

Now it was 7:06. If ever there was evidence of how slow time moved, it was in this moment, in this memory. My chest was tight. My chest was full of pressure. My shoulders hurt as they were tense and up as far as I could get them. My fingers dug deep into the sheets on the bed. I was miserable, and yet I felt comfort at the same time. I felt comfort knowing that, in just a few ticks of the clock, my breath would come back.

Click. Click. Click. Click.

Now it was 7:07. I concentrated on my breathing. I worked hard to suck in more air with each inhalation. Nothing. The wall was still there. Each breath went in halfway, and there was a wall.

“Be patient!” I'd say to myself. This was my motivation to stay the course. I knew, I just KNEW, my breath would come back soon. In the next minute or two, just like dad said, my breath would be back.

Click. Click. Click. Click.

Now it was 7:08. Oh, it was such a long four minutes. Yet here I sat, feeling calm despite the misery of not being able to breathe. Everyone in the room was silent. All eyes were on me. For once, I didn’t care that everyone was looking at me because all I was doing was concentrating on breaking that wall.

Click. Click. Click. Click

Now it was 7:09. I took in a deep breath. The wall was still there. I exhaled as slowly as I could.

I took in a deep breath. The wall was still there. I exhaled as slowly as I could.

I took in a deep breath. I made it past the wall. It went in a little deeper, but still not all the way to a full breath. I exhaled as slowly as I could.

I inhaled. And it went all the way in. It busted through the wall like a jackhammer through concrete. I took in another breath just to be sure. The fresh hospital air filled my lungs so naturally, it caused a tingle of joy to rush through my veins. It rushed to my head, creating a smile.

Now it was 7:10.

And I could hear the sighs of relief from dad, the nurse, the respiratory therapist. They talked about how neat it was that they had access to this wonderful medicine.

An example of my asthma euphoria

This was not the first time I felt it. But it was the first time I remember feeling it. This became the moment that would be etched in my mind's eye.

My doctor said the medicine that created this euphoric moment was Sus-phrine. It was a long-acting version of epinephrine. Although, epinephrine created the same euphoric effect. And it wasn’t the drug that created the euphoria. The drug made me tremor. The drug made my heart race as though I had just finished running a marathon, and in a way, that’s what I had just finished doing. What created the euphoria was that the Sus-phrine relaxed my airways so I could get in a full breath.

Breathing is so nice. Have you ever thought of that? If you have asthma-like me, and you all of a sudden got your breath back, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Once you recover from an asthma attack, as I have, you will never take breathing for granted again. You appreciate every breath you take.

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