It’s Really Nice Having Asthma Friends

Last updated: October 2022

I think anyone can have empathy. Anyone can show support for others regardless of what ailments they have. But if you do not have asthma, it is impossible to know what it is like. So it is really nice having friends who are also living with asthma.

We share asthma humor

I work as a respiratory therapist. In our department, there are 3 of us with asthma. Interestingly, we all have the severe type of asthma. My coworkers with asthma and I mostly talk about non-asthma stuff, but there are times we talk asthma – and who better to talk asthma with than a fellow asthmatic?

My friend J. experiences asthma symptoms the most. Her chest feels tight and her upper airways seem congested. She clears her throat all the time just like me. Once she quipped, “I have to go see a patient. We can continue clearing our throats together when I get back.”

My friend S. called me one time when she was experiencing a severe asthma attack and her husband was out of town. She had me take her to the emergency room. When we arrived, the doctor asked, “Okay, which one is it this time?”

We share asthma experiences

My friend S. sometimes comes to work sounding sick. Like me, she requires steroids 2 to 3 times a year. She was diagnosed with eosinophilic asthma, and her doctor was trying to get her qualified to receive a biologic called Fasenra.

Since we both have the same insurance, I checked and our plan did not have Fasenra listed as an option. S. told me it’s a lot easier to get this drug approved now. She eventually was approved and is now trying it. So far she says it’s working great. We will have to wait and see if this holds up long-term.

We offer support for each other

This past October I caught a cold. Respiratory viruses really hit me hard sometimes. This time, my asthma was rough and I had to work a 4-day weekend with 12-hour shifts. Somehow I made it through the first 2 days without any major issues, although I did have to take a bunch of breathing treatments. But I was able to function.

On the third day, I got really bad, but I just kept on working. At one point our phones beeped and it was an ER nurse requesting our services. Even though I felt like crap, I said, “I got this!” And my friend said, “Are you sure? I can do it.” And I said, “Yep! I got it.”

I did this because I didn't want her doing all the work just because I was sick. An hour later, she said to me, “John, you need to go upstairs and ask Dr. B. to write you a prescription for prednisone.”

I was so winded I could barely talk, yet she had to tell me to seek help. I have had this disease for so long that I become tolerant of it. I guess you can call this dyspnea tolerance. Sometimes I just need someone to urge me to seek help. And there have been times when I've advised my asthma friends to get help.

We share advice with each other

Back in 2000 my asthma was poorly controlled. This was despite taking daily doses of theophylline and Azmacort.

“Hey, John, I started taking this new medicine called Advair. And it works great. You should try it!” said my friend S. back then.

So I discussed this new inhaler with my doctor. He wrote the prescription, and it was a game changer for me. I obtained very good asthma control. It was so controlled that I was even able to wean myself off theophylline. (I took that medicine for 30 years and didn’t think I’d ever get off of it.) And it was all due to my friend's recommendation.

I could go on and on about how nice it is to have asthma friends. It's nice having people who understand unconditionally what you are going through, and who you can share asthma experiences with. It's nice having friends who can offer advice. It's nice to have such great friends!

What about you? Do you have asthma friends? Please share in the comments below.

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