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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You can have asthma and still go to hunting camp

If you're like me you don't let your asthma stop you from doing anything you like to do -- within reason of course. Yet you'll want to be a gallant asthmatic as opposed to a goofus asthmatic in your efforts.

In my recent post at I write about the sorry adventures of Joe Goofus and the successful hunting trip of Jake Gallant.

Goofus and Gallant take their asthma to hunting camp
by Rick Frea Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm sure you remember Joe Goofus. I introduced you to him as the asthmatic that often neglects his asthma with the intent on not missing out on any of life's fun. His most recent misadventure was last weekend at the Goofus family hunting camp.

And guess what? He ended up in the emergency room again. His asthma was so bad he ended up spending 10 days in a hospital bed. He was pretty bored, I heard, being stuck in a bed while his friends at camp had a blast.

You'll also remember
Jake Gallant. He's that asthmatic -- like you and I -- who does everything right. He went to camp too, only he followed all the best asthma advice and maintained good control of his asthma.

What follows are 10 things Joe Goofus did wrong to end up in the hospital, followed by what Jake Gallant did right to be able to handle camp:

Joe Goofus quit taking his preventative medicine: In August his asthma was doing so "awesome" that he decided on his own he no longer needed to take his
Advair and Singulair. What a goofus!

Jake Gallant knows it's never wise to stop taking your asthma preventative meds. So when he arrived at camp his lungs were well armored and ready to take on just about anything.

Joe Goofus premedicated himself: That's right! A few days before camp he decided to put himself back on his Advair and Singulair to get his body ready for the inevitable asthma triggers that are at camp.

Jake Gallant followed his doctor's orders. Likewise, he knew that it takes 2-3 weeks for asthma preventative medicine to get into his system, so it's best not to stop taking them even when he's feeling well.

Joe Goofus forgot his rescue inhaler: You know it. His asthma was doing so "awesome" that he didn't bother to take his albuterol inhaler with him. When the asthma beast hit in the middle of the night he had no relief and he started to panic.

Jake Gallant carried one rescue inhaler in his pocket at all times. Likewise, he also had a few backups in his suitcase that he knew would be easy to find.

Joe Goofus hung out with the smokers. There was a great game of Pinochle in the cabin, only just about every one of the card players had a cigarette or cigar lit. "Oh, well," Joe said to himself, "I'm sure I can handle it for just one night." Well, there are enough asthma triggers at hunting camp, the last thing he needed was to breathe in cigarette smoke. He should have stayed away from the smokers, or requested they not smoke while he was around.

Joe Goofus slept with old, musty, dusty bed linen. He didn't think to bring his own bed linen, and therefore had to create a makeshift bed in the musty cabin out of bed linens that had been lying around for decades. The asthma triggers were abounding in them, and by 2 a.m. he woke up with a tight chest and wheezes.

Jake Gallant stayed in a clean camper with clean bed linens. He planned ahead. He knew he wouldn't last in that old cabin for a whole night.

Joe Goofus forgot his flashlight. It was the middle of the night. He couldn't catch his breath, was anxious, and now he was starting to feel panicky as he tried to find his way to his car where his
portable nebulizer was stored. He knew if he got there he'd get some relief.

Jake Gallant had a flashlight under his pillow. When he woke up wheezing in the middle of the night he reached for his flashlight, flicked it on, and used it to find his inhaler that was right where he left it on the bedside table. If he needed it, he'd be able to easily find his way to his car and his portable nebulizer (there's no electricity in the cabin).

Joe Goofus got drunk. He was still buzzing when he woke up, and struggled to even find his car where his nebulizer was. Then, he fumbled with his nebulizer and couldn't get it to work. Then he realized he needed to plug it in. Then he plugged it in and the darn thing still didn't work. He was very short of breath and started to panic. Then he remembered he owned a Dodge Ram, and Dodge products need to be turned on to supply power to things like his nebulizer. He then thought about driving to his home, but he feared he'd get in trouble for buzzed driving. The Goofus Asthmatic had to sit in his car struggling to breathe until he sobered up. It turned out to be one of the worst nights of his life.

Jake Gallant had only a few drinks. He knew that alcohol dries out your lungs and can make it hard to breath. That, coupled with the smoke from the fire and all the other asthma triggers in the woods, was the last thing he needed to deal with. Plus if his asthma started getting worse he could get in his car and leave.

Joe Goofus ended up in the emergency room. He was unable to gain control of his breathing on his own. He had no choice but to have a friend drive him home shortly after noon the next day.

Jake Gallant enjoyed his camping experience. He avoided smoke the best he could, he dressed for the weather, and he had warm, clean place to sleep.

The moral here is if you want to spend time at camp this year with the guys go ahead and go for it, but be a wise asthmatic like Jake Gallant. Don't be a Goofus like Joe Goofus.

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