I wanted to share some insights into the more mundane aspects of life with Severe Asthma. The first and hardest part of the day for most is the mornings. Now, go onto the world of social media and look at girls my age. The posts are filled with avocado on toast, morning runs and extensive hair routines. My morning routine has chopped and changed over the years due to necessity and my asthma getting worse. I want to share the past and then the current to give you all an idea about the different ways asthma can have a large impact in the morning – whether you are a university student or a 9-5 er.
Let’s begin with university. This was the beginning of my asthma journey and when I really began to feel the impact of my asthma on normal life. So, basing the experiences on a 9am lecture start, this is how the mornings would go for me. In halls, I had an en-suite bathroom which made life slightly easier. I would wake up and take my inhalers before I did anything else. The reason? So that I could brush my teeth straight after. Back then, I was on Fostair and aside from the normal risk of oral thrush, it tasted foul! That pink inhaler did nothing for me except for make coffee taste foul. I also used to take Monteklukast as well. After taking the medication, I would brush my teeth, shower and get ready for the day. Now, back in first year, I had the energy to wash, dry and style my hair on top of a full face of makeup and thought into my outfit. This was because, although my asthma was deteriorating, it was no where near as draining as it became. To put it into context, I have very long hair. My hair takes about an hour to do on its own. I actually had the energy to do something with it. I would then leave to catch the bus, as like most 18-19 year old girls, I skipped out on breakfast.
So fast forward a few years and, after graduating, I moved into a job where, if I was working a morning, I would be up at 4am. In addition, my Severe Asthma has now ramped up hard so I have to take more inhalers. Now, I am sure that those who have worked shifts will understand the fatigue you start to feel. When you are constantly battling feeling out of breath AND coping with weird and strange work patterns, you become tired. As a result, I would wake up, brush my teeth and wash my face, shove my work clothes on, tie my hair up in a pony tail and slap on some foundation. I would then go downstairs and shove some food in me before taking my inhalers. Does this sound as nice as the university routine? Well, working life is different to the student life, but it traded one extreme for another. I was too tired to take my inhalers as well as I probably could and I really had no energy to enjoy the mornings. It was fuel myself and go. Notice the differences?
Where am I today then? I am sure most of you reading this may expect me to say that I have now found a happy medium and all is well. I am not going to say that at all and I am no where near where I would love my mornings to be. On an average day, I wake up and go wash my face and brush my teeth. I then moisturize my face before going downstairs to make a coffee and prep breakfast. I take all four of my inhalers then I go back upstairs and put my makeup on while watching breakfast news. I usually get to the end of doing my makeup and feel the fatigue hit me. My hair suffers and I put some clothes on before going downstairs to pack my lunch and have breakfast. Breakfast – pills with a side order of some food. Yummy. I then go and rinse my mouth with mouthwash before heading off to work. This may sound like a pretty normal routine for most (obviously without the medications for those without the condition) but, for me, I miss having the energy to do my hair like I used to or really enjoy putting myself together without having to immediately feel the struggle if I don’t take my inhalers quickly.
Obviously, these routines are based on a normal day for me without an exacerbation or infection and most certainly doesn’t include weekends or down days but I would like to think that it busts some myths. Of course, it may seem vain or just unnecessary to be bothered by the things that I have talked about in this post but they do bother me. I miss having that amount of energy. I can only do this much now thanks to my evening routines and doing the prep work. I would love to go for a morning run and you could guarantee that, if one day I am capable of running again, I won’t miss that morning jog. I will follow this post up with how the prep work helps and, overall, how my evening routine prevents disaster in the mornings. I will also share what it is like doing this routine when my asthma is bad. I just wanted to let you all know that Severe Asthmatics do try (sometimes too) hard to keep a normal, working life and although it sometimes is not possible, the middle ground feels like cloud nine. Simple things.