Learning Lessons from the Lake.

Learning Lessons from the Lake

Honestly, This is more of a what not to do.  Recently, I had to participate in a work retreat, first of all, I think work retreats can either be exhilarating or terrifying. It has been a really busy summer for my team and I was really a bit run down as well and my lungs were on a downhill spiral. This retreat was at a lovely lake house, think nature triggers (outdoors, campfires, physical activity when you are not feeling well).

A flare of events

I had been in a bit of a flare and I had all the meds on board but I was still feeling iffy.  I have a mucus hypersecretion issue and I was all sort of stuffed up with mucus leading to obstruction, wheezing and generally feeling icky. After the mandatory games; yes, there were mandatory games that went on for a very long time. They involved running, crawling around on the grass and water sports.  I barely made it through the four rounds of “team building” and games. I went into the events fully medicated but due to my flare, I was still wheezy. The last thing I felt like doing was having an awkward asthma discussion with my colleagues. There was pressure to participate in watersports ( tubing,  jet skis, kayaking, canoeing, swimming) It was turning out to be a beautiful afternoon but, against my better judgment, I decided to go tubing. I thought if I took a dose of my rescue inhaler I would be fine. This turned out to be an extremely poor decision. I was in this chair like a tube but I was reclined at an incredibly awkward angle for my already iffy lungs and between the slightly too small life jacket that I was already compressed into, I could barely breathe. My pesky mucous secretion was making matters worse. I was hoping that it would be over quickly. The good news is that I survived the first round, climbed into the boat and thought that I had made it out unscathed. I had no idea, that there would be the SECOND round. Since I survived the first round, I thought at least this would be horrible and I was praying that my lungs would hold on. I was doing fine until the tube, hit some wake, of the lake and I was that token employee that got air from the tube but instead of landing back on the tube, I did a backflip and face planted into the lake taking in a ton of water. Of course, this just exacerbated my already precarious lung situation. I had to wait for the tube to come back around, climb in very ungracefully, where I was wheezing like crazy, coughing up water and generally looking fairly terrible. A colleague of mine who I was also tubing with made a comment that it sounded like I had asthma. I confessed but skipped the part about it being crazy severe, that I have terrible lung function and that this activity pretty much has taken me out of commission for the day. Instead, I said “yes, I have asthma”, skipped the other details and blamed the state of my lungs on all the water I took on.

Stay within your asthma limits

The moral of this story is, play within your limits if you are in a flare.  Take care of yourself and put your health and not awkward colleague moments first. I am a firm believer that you should only share important medical information with your employer and colleagues. I would have been much better to have just sat this one out.  By the time I recovered from the water sports, the next trigger was right around the corner. The campfire! I was smart on that one and offered to help with dishes instead and stay away from the smokey fire. No more was worth a second asthma situation of the day.


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