I think it is time to update you all on how my asthma appointment went on Monday. I feel that I should explain about the lack of an update so far and to put it simply, I was too emotional to actually write an update for you all.
My closest friends on twitter have already got an earful from me, and I’ve also texted one or two of my school friends moaning about what’s going on, and all I can say is that the support I have received has been immense. It is hard to put in words how grateful I am to these people (especially GG and R).
Basically, before the appointment I was really nervous, which is weird because I only usually get this nervous for rheumatologist appointments. I said in my earlier post that was unprepared and they probably didn’t help the matter at all.
GG always likes to tweet in the waiting room (#waitingroomtweeting) so I thought I would join in with that, and it did help calm the nerves a bit because I was speaking to people right up until my appointment, rather than thinking about it constantly.
My nurse was lovely and tried to put me at ease. We spoke about why my peak flow was so low and how my break from swimming hasn’t really helped improve my symptoms, especially since I am needing to use ventolin at least once, 5 days a week (on average). Although, I personally feel this is down to the stress of my exams which my nurse agreed would be a significantly contributing factor.
My peak flow on Monday morning was pretty good at 300 but then I had to walk to the doctors, and since it was only a ten minute walk and I had taken my symbicort, I presumed I would be fine without any ventolin. And to be honest I was pretty fine when I arrived. This brings me to another point, who puts a GP surgery on a hill?! I’ve been thinking about that for a while, and clearly so,someone who didn’t think of the implications of sick people having to walk up a hill chose the situation of this surgery. When I got to the surgery, actually into the surgery, I was pretty out of breath, but not because of asthma for once, because my heart rate was up in the 160s – 170s. I didn’t have to wait long for my appointment but when I came out my heart rate was still in the 130s, which is insane! I do have a pretty high natural heart rate anyway but I shouldn’t be going into the 160s by just walking up a hill. So now I’m thinking that maybe my heart rate is giving me the shortness of breath more than the asthma itself. So maybe I should mention that to my asthma nurse next time I see her.
Anyway back to the appointment update, my nurse wanted me to do a spiro again to see if it would give a clearer picture s to what is going on with my lungs, but I messed that up too. Basically the first test was just to breathe out normally which was fine, then the next test was to see my peak flow and FEV1 etc, and that’s where I messed it up. The first attempt was fine, but then I started to cough and coughed all the way through my 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th attempt. Basically it all went wrong and the machine was not impressed as it kept flashing with “abrupt end” and “repeat again”. But by my 5th attempt I was completely spent and the nurse stopped me there since my lung function was getting worse and worse, not because it is bad but because I was so tired, I didn’t have the energy to do the tests as well. So despite me asking to have one last go, she wouldn’t let me. Although the nurse did want to see how my peak flow was, so she gave me a rest first and then did my peak flow which was 310, slightly higher than my morning’s one. She only let me do my peak flow once, whereas normally I would do it 3 times and keep my best result, purely because I was so tired.
We also discussed whether I was allergic to anything or if I had hayfever, which I don’t think I am, although today and yesterday the pollen count has been high and I do feel bad, so maybe I was wrong. But because of me feeling like I am not allergic to anything we have decided not to try singulair, which I am glad about, especially because of the side effects, although all medications come with side effects, I would prefer not to take singulair even if the asthma nurse suggested I give it a go because I feel it tends to benefit people with allergies, and I am the “least allergic person” my doctor has met. That’s a good thing 🙂
Anyway the nurse isn’t entirely sure what I should do so she is going to speak to my GP and get back to me, in the mean time I have to up my symbicort to 3 puffs twice daily, which has helped a fair amount since my peak flow hasn’t been below 300 even though I feel pretty bad, which I am pleased about. I was hoping that she would change my symbicort 100/6 to symbicort 200/6 because of the higher amounts of LABA I am now taking which is making me shake (the symbicort shakes, as I refer to them as). But that was not the case, so the nurse must feel that I do not need that much ICS. I am really worried though because my nurse feels like I would benefit by going to see a consultant again, which I really do not want to do, especially because I have had previous bad experiences with the chest consultants. So right at this moment, I am refusing to go to the chest consultant, and I am really hoping my asthma nurse will not bring it up as my peak flow has been coming up and my ventolin usage has decreased since I have upped the symbicort, which is good.
My apologies that it took me so long to update this, I was really upset by the fact that I may have to see the consultant again, but then I realised that my asthma is my medical condition so essentially it is my choice if I want to go against medical advice and refuse to see a consultant. In all honesty, I don’t think I am bad enough to see a consultant and I would prefer to stay with my GP and my asthma nurse until I am too bad/complex for them to deal with me, which I don’t think is really going to happen to be honest.