Are you sure that it is asthma?
Is is a panic attack?
Your Sats are Ok!
Your chest is clear, there is no wheeze!
All these statements and questions are all too familiar to severe asthmatics, they come from trained medical people and so how can we expect any better from the average man in the street. I can’t speak for people who suffer from other chronic illnesses but why are severe asthmatics always doubted, questioned and undermined. I’m sure that if a cancer sufferer was unwell and they called for an ambulance that they would not have to convince the paramedic or doxtors and nurses that they actually had cancer. We are basically accused of lying or over exaggerating our condition. Most severe asthmatics know their condition very well, they have because it is such a major part of their lives yet so many people seem to doubt us. Over the years I have had numerous tests carried out, I see the consultant and the asthma nurses at my local hospital every few weeks, I take a cocktail of drugs in an attempt to control my asthma, I have multiple hospital admissions each year, I have an asthma action plan yet time after time I have to go through the rigmarole of trying to explain what is wrong with me. I have no problem with telling them but why don’t they listen, why do they doubt me. I tell them that I don’t often wheeze and often suffer from a silent chest which usually results in ICU or HDU admissions, they then nod and smile, listen to my chest and tell me that there is no wheeze. They then start talking about panic attacks and advising me to calm down and to breathe!
After a while you start doubting yourself, is it all in your head? Amazingly though when telling me to breathe doesn’t help gain control of my asthma attack another doctor will come and listen to my chest and tell me that I have no air movement, suddenly then I am treated with a lot of urgency after having spent the previous few hours where nothing happened.
Then of course you get the other comments such as:
If you lost weight you would feel better!
If you were fitter you would feel better!
It is only asthma!
Well you look ok!
Yes I accept that I am over weight, the asthma and medication caused me to put on weight, it was not a case of been over weight caused the asthma, and yes I do know that losing some weight would help my asthma. However it a not easy when you are unable to exercise and the prednisolone gives me a hunger beyond belief. The last 2 comments I won’t even bother responding to.
I have an illness that I would not wish on anybody, I am not the only person in the world to suffer from it and there are other people who suffer a lot more than me. I try not to feel sorry for myself about it but I do wonder why there is do much negativity, misunderstanding and disbelief from so many people, especially from people who should know better, add to that the bad press that asthma gets and the stigma (that I have previously written about) surrounding it. The last thing that I need is to be not believed which then leads to me doubting myself and questioning everything. Maybe I am having a panic attack, maybe I am unfit, maybe I am a drain on the NHS, maybe it is all my own fault, then I remember all the tests that I have had and all the discussions with my consultant. I suffer from Severe Asthma, I do not suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, I do suffer from silent chests with no or very little airmovemt, it is very serious and requires urgent medical attention!
What is obvious from the feedback that I have received on social media and on this blog that I am not alone and many of us suffer the sane experiences. Then people wonder why we never want to go to hospital when we are unwell!
………..and remember, don’t tell me to calm down!!!!!