I had a follow-up appointment with my Pulmonologist today. The appointment really reminded me of the importance of having and following an asthma plan.
My asthma became extremely flared up in January of 2008 when my asthma made a turn for the worse. I've been through a lot trying to get it back under control. I have had an intensive established asthma plan that is in place. When I have had flare-ups, I have been closely following this plan and have kept my asthma under control enough that I haven't needed emergency care since last January.
My Pulmonologist today said that he had just come from the hospital bedside of a patient with my exact symptoms who is on oxygen and not doing well. If I hadn't been so diligent in following my asthma plan that could easily have been me. His telling me that really hit home.
Even though my asthma isn't totally calm right now, my Pulmonologist has released me from follow-up care. I'm to go see him if I things get really bad again. Otherwise, he said that there wasn't anything else they could do. He said I was a "model" patient and that I could continue treating myself when I have flare-ups. He even gave me refills to accommodate this for the next year. He said it wasn't necessary to spend the money and time for appointments when I can do for myself what he has been doing for me.
The basics of my plan:
*Know my asthma early warning signs.
*Take daily preventative meds of Advair 250/50 and Singulair.
*Increase Advair to 500/50 when asthma is flaring.
*Use Albuterol as needed. I use it during flares and before exercising and going out into the cold.
*Watch my Peak Flow.
*Use Tessalon Perle as needed. (This is to assist with my asthma cough.)
*Carry an Epi-Pen. For asthma emergencies it can give me time to get emergency treatment.
*Use Preventative measures to keep exposure to triggers down. (Ex: cover mouth when breathing cold or polluted air.)
*Take Prednisone if other measures aren't getting the asthma under control. (I have a standing prescription for a 15 day burst of the steroids.)
*Follow acid reflux treatment. (Headboard raised, PPI's, diet, etc...) The reflux can aggrevate the asthma.
*Seek further treatment when needed.
By the way, my Pulmonologist surprised me with his view on many of his patients. He actually got excited and thanked me for being knowledgeable about asthma, understanding my own body and health needs and for following my treatment plan. He said he doesn't get many patients who can actually talk about their disease, symptoms, time frames, treatments/medications, and non-medical measures they are taking. He also doesn't get many people who ask questions. My response to this: What are people thinking? They need to take control of their own health or noone else will. My Pulmonologist is a top practicioner in our area. It is extremely sad to me that he doesn't see many patients who are taking responsibility for their own health.
Hope my experience can help someone else out there.
Last edited by MountainReader; 01-09-2009 at 11:51 AM.
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Thank you so much for stating this. It's amazing how many asthmatics just head to the GP rather than finding a good pulmonologist who will give them a written plan to control their asthma. i say all this over and over to folks! Get a plan and follow the plan. The last time i questioned my doctor about anything deviation from the plan was when I was headed to New Orleans after Katrina. There was supposedly this thing called "katrina cough" due to the pollutants from the city being under water. We decided to up my daily meds before and during the trip like I would for a flare up as a possible preventive measure. I never had a problem while I was there. Otherwise, I just follow my plan and it works everey time.
I know from experience that my GP couldnt even diagnose me. I have told this story many times on here but here goes again. I complained for some time about my symptoms and had a funny feeling I had asthma. Even after mentioning this to my GP he shrugged it off saying "oh you arent wheezing so you dont have it". I'd say i walked around for over a year maybe two feeling worse & worse until finally i saw an asthma speciliast who finally diagnosed me with it. I walked into my GP and couldnt wait to tell him and had the nerve to kind of laugh it off and tell me "oh those breathing tests could be off some times" "you werent wheezing", etc....... it was great to finally have a diagnosis after all that time. Thank god i went outside of this doctor and on my own because the time i did go i was really bad and could barely breathe. Now it all made sense as to how i was feeling. The meds helped me alot, although not 100% all the time, i know when i feel a certain way i now am able to treat the feeling
As a result of work conditions, I've developed asthma about 5 years ago. After I woke up one night unable to breath, I was diagnosed with asthma in an advanced stage.
I made an appointment with a pulmonologist myself then.
His advice to me was to the point identical to the advice you've given here.
Thank you so much. This confirm that I've got a very good doctor too.
I am doing so well tht I could even go back to my favourite pass time - marathon running.