Sudden Onset Of Asthma (I Think) At Age 50

So I have to go back to March 28th of this year when my wife and I were on a ride to get out of the house to an outdoor place to social distance with the dog. All of a sudden, out of the blue, I couldn't get a full breath in! I've never experienced anything more terrifying. I pulled over in a rest area and turned to my wife and said "I can't breathe!"

COVID-19 or adult-onset asthma?

I got out of the car thinking I'd just catch my breath and be fine, but instead, I started hyperventilating. I thought I had coronavirus. I called my primary physician and I got the service since it was a Saturday. I asked if I could go to the ER and they arranged it. When I got there I was treated as if I had COVID which I had no clue if I did or didn't.

My wife couldn't come into the hospital. I was tested, but results took days then. I was X-rayed and CT scanned with dye. My lungs were clear. I had an EKG, my heart seemed normal. Still having shortness of breath, I was sent home to take aspirin!! I couldn't breathe well for three whole days, pursed-lip breathing was my only tool and I thought I was dying.

Second trip to the ER

By Tuesday, I reached the point where nothing helped and went back to the ER. Pretty much the same routine except no CT this time. All clear. This time I asked for an inhaler at least and got my first Albuterol inhaler. I took a puff when I picked it up and slept like a baby for the first time in days!

The next day I started taking the Albuterol on a regular basis, but found my nerves on edge and lungs on fire! I called my primary care and got a sample steroid inhaler called Asmanex. I had to tweak the dosage a couple of times and had good days and bad days.

Asthma treatment can be expensive

I found out a lot about triggers including foods and drinks. I found out I didn't have COVID by Thursday. I was really confused about the sudden adult-onset possibly of asthma. I went through a few weeks of free samples of Asmanax from the doctor, then he ran out. I tried to get it from the pharmacy and found out it's $1K a bottle after insurance!!!! I was astounded!

I had to switch to Flovent as my insurance said it was the equivalent. Not quite. Flovent Diskus in the beginning did nothing at the dosage I was given. I was referred to an allergist and went to see them.

Went to see an allergist

I was given a prick test and found out mostly what I already knew. I had allergies. I knew that, but I never lost breath over it though! When I started Flovent, I literally went through withdrawal from the lack of med strength and felt achy and tired for a couple of days.

Finally, I called the allergist back and asked to increase the dosage. I got the nurse practitioner instead and was not helpful at answering my questions. I swear, I've learned more online about this than the $700 out of pocket office visit to the allergist!

Working at controlling my adult-onset asthma

Anyway, now I'm up to 900mcg of Flovent Diskus and I'm still barely controlling my asthma. I'm definitely having better days overall, but I'm still not 100%. The next step is moving to a combination inhaler. Not sure which one yet, but it's hopefully better! I'm just sick of all of this. I can't even get a full asthma check until August possibly due to this damn virus! Anyway, I'm glad there is a forum out there at least to vent and commiserate.

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