Easy as breathing

I get occasional bouts of asthma. Usually it’s not that severe, but it’s uncomfortable enough I’ve needed to use over-the-counter Primatene Mist from time to time. Unfortunately for me Primatene uses CFCs as a propellant, which was recently banned in the Montreal Protocol treaty.  For whatever reason, the makers of Primatene hadn’t developed a CFC-free version of its product when the deadline came, so no more Primatene for me.

I then tried to find the tablet form only to find that it contained epinepherine, and many pharmacies had decided not to carry it. So I’m just out of luck, I guess. I thought I’d try it and see if I could make it without anything.

The answer is no.  At first it looked promising. I’d get some light cases of asthma after exercising or if the temperature got too hot, but nothing serious, and they would go away quickly. Sunday night I had a serious attack of asthma for about six hours before I finally got enough allergy medication (or something) into my system that my lungs started to relax. Much of that time I wasn’t able to do much more than concentrate on breathing. I couldn’t speak in more than short sentence. We tried everything else we could think of, but there was no relief. I was seriously starting to consider a trip to the emergency room.

Fortunately that proved unnecessary, and by bedtime I was mostly better. But I decided enough was enough, and called in sick the next morning while I went to see a doctor. Now I’ve got a couple of lovely prescriptions, including an inhaler that costs about twice as much as Primatene after insurance. Whomever is responsible for the discontinuation of Primatene, I’d dearly like to slap your face, or at least stick you with the bill.

But more importantly, I don’t intend to take breathing for granted anymore. There are people who have asthma much worse than I do. Fortunately there seems to be better means of controlling it than there used to be, but it’s still nasty stuff. It’s slow suffocation accompanied by a prolonged panic attack, and if I had to endure it often I think I’d develop mental issues.

I’m grateful I don’t have to endure asthma more often than I do. I’m grateful that, no matter how expensive, there is something to help with it. And if you don’t have asthma, be grateful for that. When you can’t breathe easy, very little else matters.