The Ten Reasons I'm Definitely an "Asthma Nerd" (and don't care)

With regularity, both on and off Asthma.Net, I call myself an asthma nerd. Now, nerds are cool, and I’m unsure if I’m cool yet, but I don’t really care. I mean, unlike the Vlogbrothers who I think assisted in making nerds cool, Harry Potter is not exactly my jam (books too long + ADHD + movies too long = done after page 220 of book 5 never to open again), but there are still at least 10 reasons that I, probably rightfully, refer to myself as an asthma nerd.

That time I hacked together my Quantify This: Asthma project.

While the ten-day quantified self-experiment was short, that project was well over a year in the making. I do plan to bring it back to life, of course. And even now, my little project that was hacked together with code I do not understand and code I sort of understand and bits of string (minus the string, plus some QR coded inhalers), I still get daily alerts to quantify my asthma, And the thought of little graphs that confuse me makes my heart happy.

Just about any academic paper I could write about asthma (or even allergies), I totally did.

My Health in Antiquity term paper? Asthma in Antiquity. My Adapted Physical Activity final project? Asthma (and floor hockey). Physical Activity: Promotion and Adherence final project? “Team Amy”’s Senior Soul Dancers asthma intervention. (Complete with Asthma Society of Canada Team Asthma t-shirts as prizes.) Final paper for some child development course that nobody ever knew the title of (even the instructor) and I always just called it DEV 3400? Psychosocial impact of food allergy on children and their families.I mean, just about. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write on doping in ancient sport, after all. Although I probably mentioned asthma in there, too.

That time I was subscribed to the Journal of Asthma and Allergy Educators.

I had a legitimate (free) subscription to an academic asthma journal for like three years. And I miss it.

New asthma medication on the market?

“Hey, Doc, Can I try that?”
Samples are your friend, people.

The asthma educator asked why I got sent to her.

Sure, she taught me that my premie lungs were probably the cause of my asthma, but that’s about it.

I’ve read academic articles about asthma and then stumbled upon an asthma researcher that I’ve met among its authors, completely by accident.

And I’m not sure what’s weirder, that I’ve like, done coffee with them, or that I actually happen to read the author names on the article rather than just zooming down into the full text.

If people have asthma questions, they come to me.

And, they can trust that if I don’t know the answer I’ll probably be bothered by its lack-of-answer enough that I’ll spend the next 45 minutes digging to figure it out. And I’ll probably send them the full text of the article I dug up. (Thank you, alumni library privileges, you’re my favorite thing about being an alumni. Well and maybe my degree that’s shoved in a bookcase…)

I somehow ended up the Patient Group Investigator for an asthma research study.

It was really weird seeing my name on a digital version of a poster presentation for the first time. I presume when the actual white paper comes out way down the road it’ll be even weirder.

I can tell you the chemical names of all of the drugs I take.

Because that is necessary information when I only ever need to tell people brand names or “the generic of” brand names—which is way quicker. (However, if I ever end up on a long-acting anticholinergic other than Spiriva, It’s going to take me awhile to spell the nonsense names they’re coming up with nowadays).

I try to understand all the science, and then I write about it.

And let’s be honest, if I weren’t writing about it here, I’d either be writing about it somewhere else or still reading the big science anyways—just maybe not in as copious quantities.

So, hey, I’m down with being a nerd—I’m innately curious, and I really couldn’t stop if I tried, I don’t think. But look, researchers, I need more science to read about you guys figuring out better treatments and a pathway to making this disease extinct, okay? That would be very very exciting to read, even if it is full of big words I don’t understand. (I’ll just get Dia, my resident scientist, to explain stuff to me).

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