Being My Own Asthma Advocate

By Emma Rodriguez
Updated 2024-03-22 13:24:14 | Published 2021-08-06 10:07:52
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  • Asthma
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    • Our Asthma section on the iMedix Blog provides comprehensive information on asthma symptoms, triggers, treatment, and management. It’s an excellent resource for patients with asthma, their families, and healthcare providers, offering the latest insights and practical advice for dealing with asthma effectively.

doctor talking to patient

When I was told by one of my doctors that my rescue inhaler and nebulizer serve the same purpose, I was both shocked and angry. The nebulizer, which I have been using for years, has been instrumental in keeping me out of the hospital on numerous occasions. Despite its cumbersome and outdated design, it has truly been a lifesaver for me.

Throughout the years, I have learned that when I use my rescue inhaler too frequently, it is a sign that I need to start using my nebulizer. And if I am unable to go between treatments without experiencing difficulty, I have to head to the emergency room for a painful injection of steroids and an oxygen compressor. So when my doctor suggested that I no longer needed the nebulizer because I had a rescue inhaler, I was taken aback. While I understood that the medications were the same, I knew from personal experience that the method of delivery made all the difference.

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This issue of inhaler versus nebulizer arose when I asked my doctor for a note to give to my employer, explaining the need for me to use my nebulizer while I was ill. Surprisingly, my doctor refused and insisted that I should only rely on the inhaler. This caused me to doubt myself briefly before realizing that my 39 years of successful asthma management proved otherwise. It was at this moment that I realized the need to advocate for myself, even with my doctor. Consequently, I decided to seek out a different doctor who understood my needs better. Had I followed my previous doctor's advice, I am unsure if I would have been able to avoid hospitalization or potentially worse outcomes.

This need for self-advocacy became particularly evident when I contracted COVID-19. Fortunately, my new doctor had a good understanding of my asthma. However, due to the novelty of the virus, we had to work together to navigate its effects and symptoms. We carefully considered different options and adjusted our strategies when necessary. Most importantly, my doctor actively listened to my concerns and wishes in order to minimize the risk of hospitalization. It was empowering to feel heard, taken seriously, and feel a sense of control in such a challenging situation.

Through my experiences, I have come to realize the importance of finding the right doctor and actively advocating for oneself when it comes to managing asthma. Asthma is often an invisible condition, and doctors, despite their expertise, cannot fully understand what they cannot see or feel. However, by filling in the gaps and providing valuable input, a strong asthma care plan can be developed. I share this not to undermine doctors or discourage trust in medical professionals, but rather to emphasize the importance of trusting one's own body, selecting a doctor who listens, and speaking up when there are questions or concerns.

Each person's experience with asthma is unique, with different triggers, reactions, and symptoms. Effective communication and trust between doctor and patient are invaluable in properly managing the condition.

Emma Rodriguez is verified user for iMedix

  • Asthma
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    • Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder, which affects the respiratory tract. Usually, it is manifested with dyspnea, which is often accompanied by coughing and asphyxia episodes.

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