My Life with Asthma

For those of you who know me or regularly read this blog you will know that asthma is a major part of my life, but it doesn’t completely rule my life. Yes the asthma means that I have had to make many changes to my life, most of which I don’t like but despite this I still manage to lead a fairly normal life (well from April to November). I love my sport, unfortunately a combination of getting older, time restraints and ill health I am not able to participate like I used to, however I have always enjoyed watching sport and whenever possible I still do.  My main sporting interest is football and for my sins watching Scunthorpe United, I never used to miss a game home or away, I can’t manage that now due to the asthma but I still get to as many games as I can. The trouble is that when my lungs aren’t behaving, travelling to, and sitting or standing in a cold stadium for a couple of hours in the middle of winter isn’t the most sensible thing to do. The travelling to away games really takes it out of me now and and it is missing those away games that I really hate. I have to take so many things into consideration before deciding whether to go, my own health is the biggest issue but I also have to consider the weather and how it may effect me. If I don’t quite feel right I still used to go but I am a lot more sensible now, I also take into account those who I am travelling with, it is hardly fair on them if I was to have an attack in the early hours of a cold December morning while travelling back from somewhere like Plymouth! The other things to consider include how my family feel about me going to the game and worrying in case I have an attack, it’s not fair on them. Obviously in addition to the asthma I also suffer from steroid induced diabetes which creates other potential problems when travelling to away games, when to eat, what to eat and when to take my insulin. Don’t even ask about when the stewards search my back before entering the stadium, nebulisers, inhalers, blood testing monitor, insulin, needles, glucose. Over the last season or 2 I have also encountered another problem, that of supporters letting off flares / pyrotechnics inside the stadium, this is illegal but it still happens, it is happening more and more frequently and the smoke makes it almost impossible to breathe.

Other sports that I love watching are also suffering due to my asthma, boxing is a sport that I love watching and I have watched it in small halls and leisure centres locally and in massive arenas and stadiums in this country and abroad, I have managed to go to Vegas to see many world title fights, I love the city of Vegas and I love the build up and the atmosphere of the big fights. The trouble with going to the boxing though is the planning ahead, booking tickets, travel and accommodation. I don’t know how bad my asthma is going to be from one week to the next never mind months in advance. I now only book tickets for fights during the months between late April up until October when my health is likely to be better. One bad experience (out to be more accurate, disappointing experience) I suffered at the boxing was a couple of years ago at a fight at Hull Ice Arena. The fight was a sell out and the arena is quite small and has a low roof. A combination of the crowd and the cramped arena with a low roof led to a really warm and humid atmosphere and I soon started to struggle to breathe. We went to the entrance and spoke to the stewards / staff and explained my situation and asked if I could go outside for a few minutes for some fresh air and to use my nebuliser (I would usually to go the gents to use it but that was not an option as everybody in there was smoking!). I was told in no uncertain terms that if they let me out they would not let me back in. I was not impressed, if the stewards were doing their jobs the gents toilets wouldn’t be full of smokers and I could’ve used my nebuliser in there. I didn’t really want to use my nebuliser in the middle of the arena and so after giving myself a bit of time (and taking my inhaler) to see if I improved, I decided that with no improvement would have to leave, my wife left with me and that was £100 wasted. Hull Ice Arena is not my favourite venue. 

As a Yorkshire man it is mantadory for me to enjoy watching cricket, I don’t get to as much cricket as I used to but I still try to get to the odd Yorkshire and the odd England game each summer.

My social life is something that has nose dived due to my asthma, due to the cocktail of medication that I take it is not a good idea to consume too much alcohol anyway but even since the smoking ban came into force a few years ago pubs still aren’t the greatest place when you are asthmatic. If I don’t feel great I just don’t go to the pub, the trouble is that I rarely seem to feel great anal my nights in the pub have declined massively in recent years. Even when I am out I have to be aware of how the alcohol is effecting my asthma and my diabetes and I have to make sure that I am still in a fit enough state to look after myself if the asthma or diabetes takes a turn for the worse. I also struggle with pubs in the winter, leaving my nice warm house, walking to the pub in sub zero temperatures and then going into a crammed red hot pub before making the return journey doesn’t always mix well with the asthma. The pub is also one of the few places that I am self conscious about carrying all of my meds, nebs and inhalers. 

All of the above are massively inconvenienced by my asthma but the part of my life that is effected most by my health is my job. I  have missed so much time from work due to asthma, diabetes and all of the routine appointments as well as hospital admissions.  I try not to worry about my job when I am off sick but I find it impossible not to. Whether it is because I fear losing my job due to my poor attendance, whether it is financial worries when they stop paying me due to the length of timed missed due to sickness or even worrying about falling behind at work and what is waiting for me when I get back. To be fair most of my workmates have known me for years and I think that they do understand and appreciate what I am going through but I am sure that don’t understand why I have so much time off or what severe asthma is really like.

Life will never be quite the same but with just a little bit of care and planning I hope to continue to enjoy a decent life.

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