Why do I have a package of straws on my blog? It's something I use to let people see what it feels like to have asthma. This is for all of you who think it's "just" asthma-no big deal, right? People should just use their inhaler and everything's better, right? You can try this at home if you DON'T have asthma.
- Run in place for 30 seconds (or climb a flight of stairs)
- Plug your nose
- Put the straw in your mouth and try to breath through it
- Take the straw out after 30 seconds
How do you feel? Can you get all the air that you would like to? Is it hard to breathe? How do you feel emotionally? Are you panicking a little?
This is what it feels like to have asthma. EXCEPT you can take your straw out of your mouth and breathe normally. If you have asthma, you can't. You have to use an inhaler or nebulizer and try to keep yourself calm until the medicine kicks in.
Having an asthma attack is scary. No matter how many times it happens, it's still scary. It doesn't just affect your lungs, it really affects your brain. (You're not getting the oxygen you should, so that means not enough oxygen is getting to your brain.) I know that I can't think well for a while after I've had to use my inhaler. It seems like simple things (like driving) become hard. Using the computer is hard. Answering questions or talking to people is hard. The brain needs a little time to catch up. Plus you are shaking from using your inhaler and you're still coughing from the attack.
So, the next time those of you who don't have asthma think, "what's the big deal? use your inhaler and let's get going!" Remember the little straw experiment and how you felt. It's a real eye opener to see how those of us with asthma live.
Welcome to my world.