As a male severe asthmatic in my mid 40s who spends too much time laying in a hospital bed I often spend time contemplating the future, Despite my health problems and my absence record I still manage to hold down a full time job with a company with who I started working for in 1990. There have been a number of times in recent years that I have come close to leaving my job, once or twice I have considered trying to find a job and once or twice I beleive that my employer have considered letting me go on health grounds.
I won’t go into detail about that latter but let me explain why I have considered changing my job. I live 60 miles Away from where I work, I gave to get up early in the morning to get to work (circa 5am). My job requires me to spend time in the office and out on site, this is often in a dusty environment in sub zero temperatures. None of the above help my asthma, I usually feel worse with my chest first thing in a morning so the 5am starts won’t help me. Changes of temperature is one of my major triggers and so chsnging environment regularly within the day from the cold out doors to a hot office where the heating is on maximum doesn’t help much. Standing outside in dusty conditions and sub zero temperatures (well in the winter months at least) does not provide the perfect environment for a severe asthmatic. When going out in the cold I get well wrapped up and when entering a dusty area I will wear the the necessary personal protective equipment. We have had Occupational Health inspect where I work and the job that I do, I have discussed my job with my boss and my Human Resources department and I have also discussed my job with my Respiratory consultant and we all come to the sane conclusion. It would appear that though my job and working environment don’t actually help my condition, they don’t actually appear to make it any worse. Yes I have had asthma attacks at work but I have had the same number if not more while at home. Yes the cold does effect my asthma but I have to go out in the cold whether I am at work or not. In addition to this if I am not 100% or we feel that the weather may cause me problems we try to re-organise things so that I can remain indoors. The other point is that for 8 or so months if the year my health and my attendance record are quite good.
If my consultant came to me and could prove that my health would improve even a relatively small amount by chsnging jobs then I would seriously consider doing so, even if this had a financial impact, after all my health is more important than my wealth!
So as far as my future is concerned I don’t see me quitting my job anytime soon, as there is no proof to say that I would be better off working locally, working 9 to 5 or stacking shelves in a supermarket. Any change in job does not mean that I will stop having asthma attacks, add into that the fact that I actually quite like my current job, there is no point changing.
I try not to be too negative but realistically I accept that asthma and the medication taken along with the side effects gave probably shortened my life. My lungs and airways are damaged, I am overweight, I have steroid induced diabetes, these things don’t help towards living to a ripe old age. Hopefully I still have plenty of years ahead of me though and my aim is to try and enjoy life as much as possible, I love watching football, I travel the word to watch boxing and I love traveling and holidays, I love Las Vegas so the intentions are that when my health allows it I will continue to do those things.
Who knows maybe a cure for asthma is just around the corner and I might live for another 50 years!
One option that I could consider in the future is moving to a different climate, one which may benefit my asthma. I have already said that I love Vegas, the dry heat out there seems to help my chest. However to pack up and move to America isn’t a straight forward decision to make. Is my breathing better because of the climate or is it be star I am on holiday and relaxing, with no stress of work. Never mind what the USA is going through at the moment under Donald Trump and the issues with healthcare and pollution. The other thing is that when you are unwell I think that you always want to be at home, where there are family and friends, if I was living halfway across the world and was seriously ill with my asthma I couldn’t expect my family to travel across to help and support me. Despite my moans about doctors and administrators within the NHS I think that I would actually prefer to be treated in Britain.
Same job, same home, holidays, football, boxing, same home and a short life?
Maybe, maybe not, much will decide on my health, whatever the future holds I intend to make the most of it!