The King of Rescue Inhalers: Part 2

Earlier I explained how I was the King of Rescue Inhalers. Here’s how I discovered how this was not so true. That, in fact, there were those who had it even worse than me. That, someone else was "The King Of Rescue Inhalers."

I was having another asthma episode. I was sitting on my bed. A bright, warm ray of sunshine fell upon me and my bed. A cool refreshing breeze seemed to allay some of my dyspnea. But it failed to allay enough of it. Albuterol was clutched in my hands. I took 2 puffs. I breathed a sigh of relief.

A year before this episode I met 20 or so other kids just like me. I got to know them pretty well during my 6 month stay at National Jewish Hospital/ National Asthma Center.

While there, my doctors introduced me to a new rescue inhaler. It was called albuterol. They also introduced me to better asthma control. This made it so I didn’t need to abuse my rescue inhaler as often. Still, it was in my possession, or close by, at all times. I was still a member of the club.

So, here I am. I’m 16 years old now. As happened in the past, a sense of euphoria rushed through my veins. This is what happens when, all of a sudden, you can breathe easy. You take in a deep breath. You sigh. You enjoy the rush of awesomeness.

I still do that sometimes. On this day, this rush of euphoria crossed my blood brain barrier as so often it does. It caused a thought to pass into my consciousness: “What was life like before the rescue inhaler?” It was this question, I think, that drives me to write stuff like this. It’s how I became rapt in learning about our asthma history.

The club opened in 1957.

The inhaler was invented in 1956. It was introduced to the market in 1957. Sales quickly skyrocketed. Asthmatics worldwide were introduced to the rescue inhaler. Some of these asthmatics, like me 27 years later, would get brave. They’d take extra puffs on their inhaler.

And this made them members of the club by default. The medicine they used was the Medihaler Epi or Medihaler Iso. These included epinephrine or isopreterenol. Those were very strong rescue medicines. They also had strong side effects.

In 1980 I was given my first rescue inhaler. It was Alupent. It was safer and h2er than those older inhalers. But, it still made your heart pound if overused. And, Lord knows, I overused it.

As with most kids, history began the day I was born. As a kid, you are oblivious to what happened before you were born. This is why we go to school. But teachers didn’t teach me about asthma history. This was left for a future project by me, one that would occur some 30 years later.

The Internet makes the world smaller

So, I met lots of asthmatics back in 1985. But, we did not sit around talking about asthma. In fact, just the opposite. We yearned to get away from it. It's not like we sat around asking, "How many rescue inhalers did you use? How often did you puff? Are you a member of the club?

Like, we never thought to ask those questions. So, fast forward 30 years. Today we have the Internet. It's makes the world smaller. It has brought many of us asthmatics together. Today, asthma medicines have allowed me to obtain good asthma control. So, I was once the king of rescue medicine. So, I thought. Even 30 years later, this is what I thought.

I'm not the king of rescue inhalers!

Then I started talking to other asthmatics. Some are older than me. And they still use their rescue medicine daily. Like, I've absorbed lots of rescue medicine in my life. It's easy to think I'm the king of rescue medicine. Among my circle of friends, I have asthma worse than anyone else in the world. This is truly what I thought until I met other asthmatics as an adult and as a writer. We talk. And we discuss things that boys don't want to think about. And so, like, I'm not the king of rescue inhalers. And, lo and behold, others have it far worse than me. Go figure! Never would have learned this without the Internet.

So, there is someone out there who's taken more than 100,000 breathing treatments. There's someone out there who's taken more than 260,000 puffs of Ventolin. This kind of puts things into perspective.

More later.

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