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Do You Make Backup Plans?

I have been dealing with allergic asthma 47 years now. Like, I’m an expert, of sorts. I know that if I stay home I’ll probably be fine (unless I get a cold). But, if I visit people, there’s always the risk I’m allergic to something. So, I’ve taught myself to make alternative or backup plans. Allow me to explain.

I love going to my dad’s cabin.

But, the cabin doesn’t always love having me. I personally have had some of my worse asthma attacks there. So, I’ve had some horrible nights at the cabin. I could write about them, but I don’t want to bore you with my sob stories (ah, but I still might some day).

Sometimes I go there and I’m fine. Sometimes I go thfull-fledgediffle and sneeze. But, sometimes I go there and have a full fledged asthma attack. I had a severe asthma attack back in 2011. Like, I was up all night struggling to breathe. So, going to the cabin has always been a gamble for me.

Ideally, I wouldn’t go at all to the cabin. But, then the allergy/asthma beast would win. I don’t want those “beasts” to determine what I do with my life. So, I plan. Two weeks before going I make doubly sure to take my medicines exactly as prescribed. This helps to prepare my asthmatic lungs for any triggers they might be exposed to.

Then I create backup plans.

So, what are my backup plans?

Well, I make sure I have a ride. That’s plan A. So, if I stay at the cabin I’m going to have a drink. I’m going to have a beer or two or seven. So, what if I have a horrible allergy attack after I start drinking. I definitely can’t drive myself home. So, what next?

Well, I have a plan. My brother David does not drink. I discuss this briefly with him. He says, every year, “Just wake me up if you need a ride.”

I love visiting my brother’s homes.

But, my brother’s homes don’t always like me nor my kids. Like, my daughter Callie has horrible allergies too. Right now they are way worse than even mine (if you can believe that). She is best friends with Rory, my brother’s daughter. They love to spend time together. So, Callie was very excited to visit my brother Dan’s cottage this summer.

“Dad, I think we should just visit for a while. Then I think we should go home,” she said to me BEFORE we went. “Dan has two dogs. I’m sometimes allergic to dogs. I don’t want to be miserable all night.”

“Understood!” I said. And I surely do. I have had many miserable allergy nights due to dogs. So, we decided to just visit.

“But,” she added, smiling, “If the dogs don’t bother me, then we can stay the night. So, we’ll just kind of monitor the situation.”

“Great!” I said, “We’ll just play it by ear.”

So, we had a back up plan. We both created it together.

God blessed us on this trip. Neither Callie nor I experienced any allergy or asthma symptoms. We wrapped our beds in clean sheets and pillow cases. We both took our allergy medications, just in case. And we experienced no symptoms. So, we decided to spend the night. We had a blast. The allergy/ asthma beast did not foil our plans.

But, we had a backup plan, just in case.

What to make of this?

I am a little hesitant visiting other people. Obviously, my kids are now the same way. It’s not because we don’t want to have fun. It’s because we have allergies and asthma. Together, we have learned to cope. We have learned to devise backup plans, just in case they’re needed. What about you? Do you ever devise backup plans. Let us know in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Shellzoo
    6 months ago

    Your post reminded me of times that I would visit my aunt’s summer place in Northern Michigan. My allergies would always flare up on those visits and by the time I left, I would have facial edema, hives and swelling of my eyelids. I ended up making a plan so I could enjoy my mini vacations visiting my aunt. So, instead of taking my allergy meds as needed, I would take them on schedule just before, during and after the visits. I would bring my sleeping bag and pillow to minimize the allergens in the bedding. Last, I let them know I might leave early if my allergies flared up. This seemed to help but my allergies still flared up on visits. Later I discovered I had a tree nut allergy. I was always buying this cherry and nut mix from a store near my Aunt’s summer place. Once I stopped eating nuts and stopped visiting that store, my visits became tolerable and I have not needed to make any special arrangements since although I do continue the allergy meds and keep my rescue inhaler with me for just in case.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    6 months ago

    It may be best for us asthmatics to avoid going to other people’s homes. But there’s no fun in that. It’s always nice feeling when you get to the bottom of a trigger. Glad you were able to spend quality time with your aunt. Is she pretty understanding about your asthma? That always helps too. John. Site Moderator.

  • Shellzoo
    6 months ago

    My aunt thinks the asthma is all in my head and that I just need to think positive and it won’t affect me. People who don’t have asthma don’t understand how careful an asthmatic has to be about exposures to triggers. That is why we have to have plans and be prepared when we are visiting friends and relatives.

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