woman walking with suitcase towards bed

Getting Ready For A Long Illness

Getting ready? What does that mean? Well, for those of you with asthma, you know how it feels when you wake up with a scratchy throat, runny nose or sore throat.

You may think, "Here we go again!"

We know what’s coming…because a cold isn’t just a cold when you have asthma. It can often cause an asthma flare up and lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. And either of those can make you very sick. You could even end up in the emergency room, or be admitted to the hospital.

Asthma and sinus infections

Last winter was the Worst Winter of My Life. I wrote about having bronchitis 3 times last year, but after I wrote the article, I was sick with bronchitis AGAIN.  I couldn’t believe it! 4 bouts with bronchitis wiped out all of my sick and vacation time at work and left me weak and tired for a long time.

Planning ahead for sickness with asthma

So now, as a working mom that is relied on to coordinate our family schedules, the grocery list, cooking meals, cleaning, etc, I have to think strategically when I get sick. I plan ahead!

Work projects

What projects do I have on my schedule this week? What do I need to reschedule? What projects can colleagues help with while I am out sick?

Medications and supplies

Do I have enough boxes of tissues? Throat lozenges? Cough drops? How many puffs are in my Albuterol inhaler? How many vials of Albuterol do I have for the nebulizer? Where is my nebulizer and tubing kits? Where did I put the thermometer? My oximeter?

Now that I have all my supplies on hand, I need to think "what if."

Since I moved recently, I need to find my closest Urgent Care (just in case), and what hours they are open. Where is my closest Emergency Room? There are a few drugstores by me, but which has normal hours, which one is open late, and which one is a 24-hour pharmacy?

Do I have enough to keep me busy while I battle a lung infection?

Our video streaming service was hacked the day of a family member’s funeral - not kidding. (Someone in Mexico was streaming the Power Puff Girls on our account.) So, now that we have that straightened out, I can stream movies while I recuperate on the couch. When you are sick with asthma and a nasty cold, or bronchitis or pneumonia, it’s important to let your body rest and your lungs heal. And that can take a while, so don't push yourself.

Speaking of the couch, I’ll set up my “sick station” there. I’ll plug in my nebulizer nearby, get a basket for my tissues, lozenges, and other supplies. I have also learned that I can’t sleep laying down when I have asthma because it’s harder for me to breathe.  As my friend likes to say, “gravity works” when you have asthma. It’s easier for me to sleep if I am propped upright on the couch. At least with a sectional, I can use one part of the couch during the day, and the other side to sleep on at night. Sometimes I get bored staying in the same spot for a week!

Besides what I have in my freezer, I’ll also stop by my favorite take-out sandwich and soup shop.  They make fabulous home-made noodles for their chicken noodle soup. And I already have orange juice in the freezer, so I think I am ready for whatever comes my way.

Do any of you start to prepare for the worst when you get a cold? What supplies do you get ready?

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