Foggy Birthday Party!

November 21, 2011

…..Yesterday we had an incredible day of thick, cold fog…..

We went to visit my Sister in Esher as it was Oliver’s birthday, and I tried to take photos coming round the M25 whilst J was driving-but you could barely make out the dot matrix boards. The Christmas lights in Ruislip were seemingly invisible as the cloud was really down to ground level.

One of my dear friends, Michelle put this picture online a few days ago and I asked to borrow it.

It gives a really good indication of how fog can affect me. Although we did celebrate Oli-Will’s birthday and managed a very foggy walk around my Sister’s estate.

And then last night, as quickly as the fog had appeared, it went! When we went out again at 8pm to pick up some pizza express salads, it was largely gone. Not soon enough though, given the havoc it played with my lungs particularly in the late afternoon as darkness fell. But a bolus dose of Pred and the air con running on dehumidify all night long has now largely fixed things again for me!

…..And yes, sometimes it is ok to just sit and breathe, particularly if it is really foggy outside!…..




AB’s Allergy Attack (07/11/11)

November 9, 2011

…..Who’d have thought our Doglet would end up like this, 45 mins after her annual booster shot…..

Monday 7th November: Injection at 1.10pm. Anaphylactic reaction at 2.00pm

It’s sure looking like she is resembling her Mummy more than ever. And thank God that I saw her face and knew exactly what was happening to her, and that J was able to rush us all back to the vet in 3 minutes. This was only the second dog they had seen with this reaction at the practice and all 4 vets came in to witness AB’s impression of a Sharpei. Thankfully her tongue was normal as was her heart rate and breathing. We were praised for our swift action.

And so our baby dog received IV steroids, IV antihistamine and some sub cut shots of the stuff too.

It started to show visible signs of all going down in about 2 hours and by the evening she was exhausted, but eating us out of house and home thanks to the steroids! And her little pointy nose was nearly all back!

She was re-checked by the vet at 9pm and given instruction for further 1mg doses of piriton and pred if necessary.

How quickly these animals recover from such a nasty episode. Survival of the fittest, I suppose.

…..I’m more than grateful for my own experience with exactly the same allergy, in knowing exactly how quickly we had to react and for Cathy, our wonderful vet in acting so quickly, and not even charging us…..


Red v White (Pred of course!)

October 15, 2011

…..I am shocked to find this out today…..

A friend has just alerted to me that red Pred is no longer being prescribed in the UK and we are all to be given white, ie, non enteric coated pred tablets.

On the one occasion I have been forced to take white rather than red Pred- ((when I had a prescription mix up in hospital)), I suffered such excruciating stomach cramps on it that even a quadruple dose of Nexium did nothing. I am so shocked to read that as part of the NHS’s cost cutting we are all going to be switched to the horrid white monster pills instead of the red coated ones.

I quote: “Red Enteric Coated Prednisolone tablets currently cost £8.69 for 28 tablets of the 5mg strength, but the uncoated tablets currently cost £1.03 for 28 tablets of the 5mg strength. The current financial climate means we have to look at every area to ensure value for money without compromising the care and treatment we provide to patients.”

Well if my Dr now abides by these rules and goes ahead and makes me take red not white Pred, then my care and treatment will be compromised, not to mention how much more Nexium I am going to be needing!

They are also saying that the red enteric coating prevents complete absorption of the drug. What? So why had this only been discovered? Many, many tablets come with enteric coatings, not just Pred.

I quote: “There is evidence that has shown that prednisolone enteric-coated tablets (like the ones you are taking) do not absorb as well into the bloodstream as ‘normal’ uncoated prednisolone tablets. In certain medical conditions it is really important to have sufficient levels of drug in the bloodstream to allow that medical condition to be controlled consistently. In the past it was suggested that the E/C tablets protected the gut from indigestion, peptic ulcers and perforation. However, to date there is a lack of evidence to suggest they provide any more protection than the uncoated tablets.”

I can forsee myself having a battle next week when I re-order my monthly script. I am currently having stomach issues on 50mg of enteric coated Pred, try giving me the plain white ones and my poor tummy will be screaming blue murder.

…..Ho hum: And Oh how I dislike change, of any sort…..

Airless Indian Summer

September 30, 2011

…..Its currently hotter here than in Hawaii!…..

And whilst it isn’t hot by some people’s standards, namely my friends in Palm Springs, where it is still in triple digits, our 84F is certainly out of the ordinary-about 18F above average.

We are currently having a really hot Indian Summer spell. They’re even talking  about it reaching 90F later in October! But of course, I keep getting AirTexts about the moderate air pollution levels that are also hanging around.

It has certainly hit my lungs at school, particularly yesterday. I had to indicate to my classroom assistant to instruct my class to clear up after lunch and she had to dismiss them for me as I simply couldn’t breathe. I always teach with the door open, but with no fresh air coming in it was like sauna meets steam room, and apparently we have air con? My lungs love dry desert heat but hate England’s almost Flordian humidity. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I have an invisible illness anymore, it’s rather obvious I clearly can’t breathe at the moment. The guy who came to fix the blind yesterday tea time commented on my asthma “are you really ok?” “that’s the worst I’ve heard anybody?” He must have asked me 5 times if I was ok. But I really was gasping and had just pulled out the sofa bed so he could get to the window easily. Shucks!

Thank the Lord we forked out for our full house air con system this summer. Julian is on Nights and has his bedroom set to 20C which is perfect for him sleeping in the south facing brick front of the house. He has had no idea of the melting pot going on outside all day.

So after multiple extra nebs, a bit of added physio as I was really inflamed and producing more mucous yesterday afternoon (sorry), and a bolus dose of Pred last night, I am ready, I hope, to face a long hot gruelling airless and no doubt very breathless day at school.

All I can do is dose up, and take it very slowly. And keep as many doors open as I can in the educational greenhouse I teach in.

…..Going to be a hot airless weekend out there too…..

The Prednisone Song

August 1, 2011

…..I guess we can all relate to this one!…..

…..Kind of odd she doesn’t mention in the song that this stuff actually saves lives!…..


We’ve all got Hay Fever!

June 3, 2011

…..All 3 of us are sneezing, even little Anna-Bell!…..

It seems the dreaded summer allergy season has hit Tow Towers all at the same time. Julian and I have got the same symptoms and Anna-Bell keeps sneezing like you wouldn’t believe when she goes in the garden to play!

The pressure is high but we have had no rain so the pollutants and pollen have become down right nasty here. Julian and I have both got these non stop muzzy heads, and sinus pressure and aching ears, plus of course, the sneeziness and wheeziness in my case and itchiness in all our eyes, A-B’s included.

I guess it’s a case of keep on doing the old adages, close those open windows at dusk when it all comes down, wash those net curtains weekly, shower off after being outside, don’t wear outdoor clothes laying down on the bed for a nap (very guilty), and stay out of the outdoors at the worst pollen forecast times.

We are both on Nasonex and A-B is having her eyes bathed with cold water when they get really watery. It doesn’t seem to bother her, but how would she tell me if she also had The Headache?!

It’s been such a glorious summer so far, and neither of us suffer that badly although I have noticed my SATS have dropped and I am currently really feeling much more huffy puffy than I was, so my chest is a bit off it’s recent good norm. I’m almost down to baseline Pred but don’t want to do that last 5mg drop yet as every time I plan it I have a chesty attack and get reminded I probably need more. It’s just a number so I’m not going to beat myself up over one extra red tablet!

…..So I’m off to wash my eyes out again-typing this in the garden has been a challenge too!…..

An afternoon of Tests!

May 11, 2011

…..So Tuesday afternoon was spent up at the Royal Brompton Hospital having Tests….

Firstly: I had to have my DEXA scan redone as it is 2.5 years since the last one. The amount of Prednisolone I am on permanently and the amount my usage increases during exacerbations deems it necessary to have these scans. My last one showed 29% loss in my lumbar spine and 15% in my hips. I am on Calcium, D3 and Fossamax long term too so I hope this loss has been stabilised.

Funnily enough, it was a job to find comfortable loose fitting summer clothing that had absolutely not metal in it!

Secondly: I had to do some up to date full Lung Function tests. We are aiming to find where my baseline is these days. I had been instructed no Seretide 500 (Advair) this morning and wasn’t allowed a neb for 4 hrs beforehand. Originally we were going to get me in and do it off meds but it was deemed too risky in the light of recent lung infections and asthma episodes. I’d been feeling pretty air trappy all night and was quite uncomfortable but I absolutely gave it my best blows as I am eager to find what is happening to my lungs too. I will get the results next Monday in clinic. It was torture. I got so tired and the glass box was totally stuffy and airless. They finished with regular Spiro and I’m not joking, my technique was crap. They tried everything to get me to do a decent huff but I was just totally malco-ordinated by this stage-an hour of tests left me shattered.

Here I am in the room doing the tests, and in that horrid glass box!

Gosh. So after the scanning, blowing and travelling I am pretty whacked out. And I’ve got school now. And I’m already not feeling that great.

…..I await all results, eagerly-I actually have the envelopes but they are sealed-d’oh!…..