Monday, March 14, 2011

Exercise Induced Asthma Attack!!! What? Really!?

Thursday started out like any normal day for me, but ended unlike any other! In fact, looking back on the situation and circumstances, I’m mad, very mad about it!

I went to work, like always and was probably a little more excited about this day than normal, because I was going out to dinner with a co-worker and then we were going to a Revit class (it’s a branch of AutoCAD, but does so much more and create 3d models with a click of the mouse). Typically I would go to work out and meet up with Jose right after work, but because of the class I was taking, my plans had to altered a little bit. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot and met some great people! After the class, I decided that I should go work out. In my training for my 1/2ironman this summer (which I have yet to actually register for), Tuesday and Thursdays are my run and strength/weights days. I decided I’d start with the run and then do the weights, just to mix it up a little. It was only supposed to be a 3.5 mile run, which, lets be honest… I could practically do that in my sleep. But apparently not on Thursday…

A few weeks ago, I finally bought myself a heart rate monitor, I figured if I was going to be training rigorously I needed to know my zones and be aware when I am pushing too hard. I also figured it would be a good idea to have since I am trying to get my knee in tip top shape and again it would help me to know if I’m pushing too hard. So I was running or I guess for some jogging a 10 minute mile, no big deal, Right? WRONG! About 3.25 miles in I suddenly started to feel wheezy, like my breathing was out of control. I felt like I needed to cough and clear my airways… ok weird! But I was almost done, so whatever… I finished my run and started my cool down, backwards walking on the treadmill. I get a lot of looks when I do this but it’s actually really good for you, so whatever I just deal with it. But I was getting a ton more looks, probably because I suddenly sounded like I was hacking up a lung! So I finished my cardio and was having such difficulty breathing that I decided not to even bother doing weights, I grabbed my stuff and drove home. Before I left the gym, I texted a friend and told her that something was wrong, that I was dieing… I know over-dramatic, but to be honest that’s how I felt! A few times I was bent over double coughing so hard just trying to catch my breath. My friend called on the ride home and we talked for a little while. She finally decided that since I sounded horrible maybe I shouldn’t be talking on the phone. So I decided to call my Mom and see what she thought. At first I thought I’d just take some benadryl and go to bed but it was just getting worse and worse as time was going on! So I called my Mom who goes, “Emily, it’s 9:30 at night, you better not be calling to chit chat, I’m trying to put Colt to sleep.” Sidenote: Colt is my 2 month old nephew who my mom was watching for my sister who is a nurse and was working the night shift at our local hospital. My response was, “Mom, Something’s wrong, really really wrong.” And then I lost it, I started crying, my breathing was even worse than before. I didn’t even have enough energy to pick myself up off of my bedroom floor so that I could sit on my bed. My mom wanted me to call 911… Ha Ha, not happening! Next thing I know my brother is coming to pick me up so I can go to the hospital with my Mom… Great…

He comes and picks me up, grabs my stuff and says, “Lets Go, Em!” My mom was waiting by our front door, comes running out and we switch cars and go to the hospital. If anyone ever wants to be seen quickly at the hospital all you have to say is that you are having a hard time breathing and having severe chest pain! But I’m sure my completely purple hands helped them to determine something was wrong, not to mention me looking like death! Within 5 minutes of my arrival at the hospital, I was seated in a wheelchair being taken down to my ER room, where a nurse was already waiting and setting up an EKG. I quickly changed into a hospital gown and was hooked up to the EKG machine and every other possible machine. I had to answer a bunch of questions about what happened, etc. I got a chest xray and got my blood drawn, to rule out a collapsed lung, blood clots in my lungs and various other possibilities. The hospital staff was very nice to me, but I think the Dr. thought I was making it up, because by the time she came in my breathing had finally become more regular and the wheezing wasn’t nearly as bad. I had a ton of chest congestion and it felt like I had been suddenly hit with a severe cold in a matter of seconds, where I had almost no voice and sounded extremely stuffed up.

My mom and I hung out in the ER till 2:30 in the morning, luckily my sister was having a pretty slow night so she was able to come down and visit with us for a little while. Based on all the tests, etc. they decided that it was an Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA) attack! WHAT?!?! How is this possible since I’ve never had asthma before??? They gave me a prescription for an inhaler and told me to follow up with my Dr. in 1 to 2 days. Since I was beyond exhausted and worn out, I ended up calling in sick to work, I NEVER do that! So I called my Dr. later that morning and get in to see him that day. I told him what had happened and he said that he agreed with the hospital… great… So he then sent the nurse in to do a Peak Flow Test (PFT). She came in and I did what I was supposed to and then she left the room… I could hear them talking out in the hall. My Dr. “Her numbers were what? Are you sure? Hmm… Ok…” A few seconds later my Dr. came in and told me that with EIA there are two trains of thought… that 1. it is just that exercise induced. But that the second train of thought is that it is the beginning stages of full blown asthma. He looked at me and goes, “Unfortunately for you, I think you’re at the beginning stages of having full blown asthma because your PFT values were 100 points lower than they should be.”

Awesome… That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. Luckily or unluckily, he told me that I don’t need to cut back in my exercise at all, that I just need to pay attention to my body and my breathing to know if I need to stop. I left the Dr.’s office feeling more depressed than when I got there!

So sorry for the rant but I’m pretty upset that this has happened to me. I know it’s not like I was diagnosed with Cancer or something SUPER serious, but it definitely changes things for me… I even had someone ask me how it feels to be super healthy, health-concious, all of that stuff and be against smoking and get asthma and they smoke and live a more “un-healthy” lifestyle than I do!

Anyone out there in a similar situation? I feel like I’ve taken a step back in everything I have accomplished this year, definitely feel down in the dumps about this! 

1 comment:

Thanks for stopping by and reading Running Design! I'd love to hear from you with tips, suggestions or your stories about running and design!