Thanks to the way-too-early-in-the-year ridiculously high humidity here in NYC, breathing has been a bit of a struggle for me for the past week or so. I have "allergy-induced asthma" that is also affected by weather extremes. I've had it all my life, and I usually keep it pretty well under control, but sometimes it gets away from me. Like it has this week.
I finally broke down and went to a walk-in clinic this afternoon. I've been before. It's a pretty good facility. And it's usually a lot easier than getting into my regular doctor (especially on a Sunday!).
I got there, filled out some paperwork, and was led into an exam room by a man who I assumed to be a nurse or PA. He had a Batman pin on his shirt and a Batman sticker on his stethoscope. I didn't really think much of it at the time. I figured they get a lot of kids in a NYC walk-in clinic. He took my temperature and said he'd be back. Five or so minutes later, he came back, took my pulse-ox level, and left again. Then the doctor came in, listened to my lungs, poked and prodded a bit, and told me that Batman would be back to to do a lung function test. I expected a peak flow meter or something similar. Instead, he led me out to a desk and parked me in front of a computer. He typed in some stuff, hooked up a little mouthpiece, and launched a program. On the screen was a cartoon of a fireman and a burning shrub. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to blow into the mouthpiece and help the firefighter put out the fire. The harder I could blow, the more forceful the water would come out of his hose (hehehe). I actually said out loud "and suddenly, I'm 9." But I figured they get a lot of kids in a NYC walk-in clinic.
I couldn't put out the fire. Not on the first attempt, not on the second (though I got closer the second time!). Better luck next time.
So the doctor came back, looked at the test results, and handed me a couple of prescriptions. One is for the standard rescue inhaler, the other for a steroid inhaler. So I imagine that within a couple of weeks, I'll have about 500 taters in my rearview.
Actually, the side effects for inhaled steroids are almost nonexistent, at least in my experience. But I'd probably still get sidelined with Manny if I had to take a drug test.
I got home and looked up the steroid inhaler to see how it compares to others I've used: "Low-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) like FLOVENT are the preferred initial daily therapy for children 5 to 11 years old with persistent asthma, according to the National Institutes of Health."
Is anyone seeing a pattern here? I didn't, really, until Kevin got home and I told him the story of my day. I mean, I know I look young for my age (though my lungs apparently feel like they're 49, according to the nice firefighter who still loved me even though I couldn't make his hose work properly). But as I told the story to Kevin, I couldn't help but feel like I'd spent the day with a pediatrician.
And after all that, I didn't even get a damn lollipop.