Battling bronchitis
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Profile photo of Andrea M Jensen, CHES, AE-C

Well, even though I am a germaphobe, I managed to get sick.

I’m one of those people who uses paper towels to open bathroom doors in public restrooms. If paper towels aren’t available, I use my shirt or scarf to open the door. I carry hand sanitizer in my purse and pop up antiseptic wipes in my car. It’s not that I’m paranoid about getting sick….it’s just that I know what happens to myself and my kids when we get sick. My kids were hospitalized 12 times when they were young for asthma and pneumonia. So, we are VERY careful when we are out in public.

But, here I am with a case of bronchitis. To a “normal person” (someone with healthy lungs and no asthma), it would just be a cold. But  – for those of us with asthma, there is no such thing as a little cold. A cold will often times morph into pneumonia or bronchitis.

Beginning of an infection

It started out innocently enough, I just woke up with just a scratchy throat, but then I started having a tight chest. At first, I was using my quick relief (or rescue inhaler.) But I soon realized that I was going to need my nebulizer.

When my chest is really tight, I can’t breathe in deep enough to be able to use my rescue inhaler. So, I pull out the nebulizer, so I can just sit and breathe in the mist of medicine. I also take a controller medicine every day, to try to keep my asthma symptoms under control. If I wasn’t using my controller inhaler, I think this bronchitis would be a LOT worse.

But, even with using my daily controller inhaler, and my nebulizer, I could tell I was getting worse. I needed my nebulizer every 4 hours, which means my lungs are really bad. I called Asthma Doc because I knew I needed prednisone. You know, “the necessary evil.” No one LIKES to use prednisone (because it has some nasty side effects), but sometimes you don’t have a choice. My lungs were so tight, that I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs to speak. So, my voice was barely a whisper. (My husband secretly LOVES it when I lose my voice. I’m not kidding! He says he can finally get a word in edgewise! Very funny….) Anyway, since I could only whisper, I had to whisper instructions to my daughter to call her dad and ask HIM to call my Asthma Doc’s office and make an appointment for me. (Did you follow that?) They were able to work me in about an hour later.

Getting out the big guns to battle the bronchitis

I LOVE Asthma Doc, we have been going to him for 17 years. And he is a great guy! He takes care of me and my 3 kids, all of whom inherited asthma from me. Asthma Doc has also told me that an Albuterol inhaler or nebulizer breathing treatment is just a “band-aid approach” – it just buys you time until you can get the swelling down in your lungs. And that’s where Prednisone comes in. It’s a strong medicine that can quickly reduce swelling. And that’s what my poor little lungs need. Adults can take it by pill, and kids can take a liquid form. It works to get the swelling down in my lungs, but it does have side effects.

So, I texted my husband to let him know what Asthma Doc said. Here are the texts:

Me: It’s Bronchitis

Husband: Thought so, that stuff has been going around. Did he start you on an antibiotic?

Me: Yes, and prednisone too, my lungs are REALLY tight and it’s almost time for another treatment. I just can’t get my lungs to open up.

Husband: Hopefully the prednisone does the trick 🙂

Me: Good luck living with me. Remember, it makes people agitated and a little crazy

Husband: Oh great….

These are just a few of the side effects of prednisone:

  • agitation
  • aggression
  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • dizziness
  • headache

and the list goes on…..

But I know the side effects are just temporary, and it’s the only thing that can control the swelling in my lungs. Which reminds me, it’s time to go take my next dose.

Anyone else out there struggling with bronchitis? Or having “fun” with prednisone?

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