Operation de-Dust Mite

In October I noticed I was having more anxiety about the whole “going to the doctor” thing.  I ended up calling the asthma specialist I’d been referred to at least six months previously and going in on Monday.

This was stressful in many ways. I’m freak-folks-the-hell-out fat.  I’ve got the whole mental “You mean it’s asthma, not just that I’m fat and out of shape?” thing going. There’s getting through my first Thanksgiving without my father.  There’s that fall is the most stressful time of year at work.

But I went.  Some of it was new to me, such as being handed a tissue with a length of plastic wrap on top and being asked to blow my nose.  (Ruled out infections.)  Also a lung function test, where I breathed out, in, and out through a measuring device.  As weight can factor into dosing of asthma meds, I did get on the nifty digital scale .. which displayed the ever-useful “ERR”.  Oy.  I did tell the nurse my weight, and she made no comment.  Blood pressure was fine, both in terms of my specific measurement, and that the room I was in had the proper-sized cuff and the tech taking my blood pressure used the large cuff without me needing to request it.  I met with the doc to discuss my history and current symptoms.  We agreed to doing some skin tests to confirm and/or rule out current allergies.  My biggest responses were to dust mites, grasses, and dog dander.  Hence Operation de-Dust Mite, which included encasing our king-sized mattress in a “protector” to keep the dust mites inside it.

Side note: wrestling a king-sized mattress into a giant zippered pillowcase?   Hilarious.  Ended up putting the mattress on its side, propped against the headboard, to get the thing on.

What struck me the most, though, was that the doctor did not blame anything on my weight.  No question that exercise is an asthma trigger for me.  Not “Are you sure you’re just not used to exercise?”  Doc accepted that it’s a trigger, saying something like, “Smoke, exercise, going out in the cold, those are very common.”    I half expected to hear “Exercise will help improve your lung capacity” but there was no mention of exercise or weight loss.  Treatment plan added a few new meds to better control my asthma and reducing overall exposure to allergens, especially in our bedroom.

I’m glad it was a good experience.  I am less thrilled that it was a surprise and not business as usual for me.

10 thoughts on “Operation de-Dust Mite

  1. I was so happy to figure out I have asthma and get it properly treated. I also thought (for years) it was just me being out of shape. Of course, you can’t get INTO shape if you can’t breathe well. Cold is definitely a trigger for me, especially combined with exercise. One thing I found helpful was getting a HEPA air filter for the bedroom in addition to encasing mattress and pillow with special covers. I researched mine in Consumer Reports before buying one. It is quite and takes in quite a lot of dust. Glad you went and got some valuable information and options.

    • I also thought (for years) it was just me being out of shape. Of course, you can’t get INTO shape if you can’t breathe well.

      Oh yeah. I think part of it, for me, was that my mother saw it primarily as “allergies”, and I didn’t even REALIZE I had asthma for far too long(!) One thing that came out of the asthma/allergies specialist meeting, and especially the allergy testing, is that I’ve been trying to use antihistamines to treat asthma and it’s not working. Yes, I’m allergic to dust mites & grasses & dog dander & other things, but the asthma has triggers beyond my allergies – smoke, mold, some fumes, strong scents, and so on.

      Cold is definitely a trigger for me, especially combined with exercise.

      Me too. Getting the dust mite-proof cover for the mattress HAS made a big difference (fewer headaches, less stuffy) but so has the additional asthma meds. I do have more energy and I am feeling like dancing and walking more. I’m just, y’know, dancing inside, and being careful if I’m outside. :)

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