The relationship between a severe asthmatic and their respiratory team is so important. A patient and their “support” team must understand each other and trust each other. I am very fortunate to have had the same consultant for a number of years and we have a great relationship. We argue about things and the best way to go forward, we have had issues in the past but I feel that there is a trust between us and we both work together to try and help control my asthma. We both have similar senses of humour which helps and this has helped us develop our relationship. We have a long running joke about Doner Kebabs of all things. My consultant is always on at me to try and lower my weight and keeps telling me to eat more salad, I keep winding her up telling her that I eat lots of salad because I always have some with a Doner Kebab. This has resulted in various jokes, for example instead of handing her my peakflow chart I gave her a graph showing how many kebabs I had eaten. I even gave her a copy of the below joke newspaper cutting which as far as I am aware she still displays on her office wall.
We wind each other up regularly, if I am in hospital in the lead up to Christmas she always tells me that I won’t be allowed out before Christmas unless my peakflows reach some randomly high figure. Ultimately though because she trusts me and she knows that I know my condition so well that she always gets me home as soon as possible. She knows that I know what to do when I am unwell and she trusts me to do the right thing. The other good thing is that she listens to me and at times I have managed to change her mind on certain things, such as she was adamant that we should halt my Xolair injections due to side effects but I managed to convince her to change her mind. She has fitted me in for outpatient appointments outside her normal hours. I still moan and complain when she is running late and she keeps me waiting but it is all very lighthearted. At the end of the day I would rather be kept waiting to see her but know that I will receive a proper consultation and the fact that she is running late is probably due to helping somebody else. What is the point of being seen on time but the appointment is rushed and nothing is achieved. My consultant is backed by a great respiratory team. They too have worked with me for years, we all get on very well and again we have that trust. The trust and honesty is massive, I don’t lie to them, I don’t exaggerate things and I don’t play things down. I tell them how I am feeling, if I am worried about anything and anything else that I feel is important. If they don’t know what is happening they can’t help. The respiratory nurses are great at giving advice, whether it is writing an asthma action plan for you, whether it is checking your inhaler technique they are there to help!
Don’t suffer in silence, try and build that relationship and I am sure that you will see some benefit.