The Lost Rescue Inhaler

Moth rescued from sink
Moth rescued from sink

For the past week I’ve been sick. On top of seasonal allergy asthma, I caught a cold so I’ve been coughing and wheezing all week. I missed a partial day of work, which is unusual. In spite of having multiple chronic illnesses, I miss less than 1 day on average per year.

The terrible pharmacy mailed my rescue inhaler when I asked them to hold it for pickup. Now my rescue inhaler has mysteriously vanished from all postal records and my insurance will not permit another inhaler to be shipped. In fact, I can’t even pay for one out of pocket, which I tried to do in spite of being completely unable to afford it. So, as far as asthma medication is concerned, I’m up shit creek.

Fortunately I happen to have knowledge of other asthma treatments. While alternative treatments aren’t as effective as a rescue inhaler for acute shortness of breath, I’ve been able to keep myself out of the doctors office and hospital. I can’t afford an insurance copay for a doctor’s visit or hospital visit right now. This month, I had to choose between winter coats for the boys and copays. Winter coats won.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to control my asthma without access to a rescue inhaler:

  1. Take Nyquil (generic) at night to treat my cold. Nyquil contains an antihistamine and decongestant which both keep mucus from building up in my lungs.
  2. Mucinex DM (generic) during the day. It doesn’t cause drowsiness, keeps me from getting “hack attacks” (where I cannot stop coughing and have a bronchial spasm), and is an expectorant to keep mucus loose.
  3. Ginger tea. Ginger tea is good for asthma and it helps sooth a sore throat. I usually add honey which has antibacterial properties and is an herbal cough remedy.
  4. Crystalized ginger. Ginger is just plain good for asthma.
  5. I’m sure this goes without saying, but I’ve been drinking plenty of room temperature or warm water. Cold water induces coughing.
  6. Caffeine. Caffeine is nature’s bronchodilator. I drink warm black tea with honey when I feel my lungs tighten to preemptively ward off an attack.
  7. Consume absolutely NO milk products. Cow milk thickens mucus which worsens asthma symptoms.
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