From my Journal of 9/14/2010 (Just one day later!) “Today’s a great day: my doctor gave me a way to take control of my asthma. This is so much better than Monday when I danced to Abba and fixed a wretched recipe with Portobello mushrooms. Life feels good again!
I definitely have an underlying asthma condition and we doubled a medication to get it under control. We have a hypothesis about what else is going on and I can work on that, too. Having concrete steps to take and a source of data gives me a sense of control.”
Thanks to a miraculous plastic gadget called a Peak Flow Meter, I have a game plan, a strategy over which I can take control! Seldom at a loss for words, I can’t describe how much better it makes me feel. I have hard data when I want it and know what interventions to take. Now I can tell which symptoms are asthma-related and which are heart-related. The Dementors are replaced with images of blue skies, orange day lilies and chocolate chip cookies.
What’s a peak flow meter? I’m glad you asked. It looks like a giant plastic thermometer or a bizarre pipe for smoking illegal substances. It’s about ten inches long with a color-coded stripe on it and measures how well your lungs are working at any given time. You blow into the PFM as hard as you can and see how far you can make the cute yellow gadget inside move inside the tube. If my yellow gadget is in the Green Zone, I’m good to go. Yellow Zone: I use my inhaler. Red Zone: Oops, call 911. Now I can catch an asthma attack at the beginning and take action before it gets really bad. YES!!! I love the PFM almost as much as flourless chocolate cake.
I keep a PFM diary to help my doctor know what my lungs are doing between appointments. If you or someone close to you has asthma and you haven’t considered a PFM, check it out. You can find more information at www.mayoclinic.com. I have a PFM because I read about it on-line and asked my doctors for one. One doc said he usually only gives them to children but I could have one if I wanted it. The asthma doctor said, “Absolutely. I meant to do that already.” I love this guy! He walked down the hall and brought me one. If I sound like a PMF convert, well, I am.
Update on October 14: The PFM and higher meds have made my asthma much more manageable. I still have bad days, such as when I ran errands even though it was 112 degrees with air quality warnings. Afterwards I felt like something my dog might leave behind on a neighbor’s yard. Oh well. I feel great this morning. I don’t have to control everything in my life, but this bit of control is excellent. I think I’ll dance for joy this time.