Asthma Action Plans. . .

September 25, 2009

as much as I believe in asthma action plans professionally, I’m not really going to preach them from that angle, other than to say that they are a really good thing. . . duh! (Although I do believe I’d see alot less asthmatics in the ER if AAP’s were used and followed more)

what is an asthma action plan: its a guideline that you as the patient and your asthma doc work on together, this guideline tells you how and when to take your meds, when to increase your meds, and when you should call your doctor or go to the ER. it generally consists of “Zones” color coded like a traffic light, alot of times there are peak flow numbers and symptoms for each zone, and sometimes its just based on symptoms, each zone has its own list of medications and instructions to follow that tell you when to change zones and when to call the dr or go to the ER.

why are they a really good thing? well, I’ll explain from experience. . . when I was first diagnosed with asthma I didnt have an action plan, every move I made with my asthma treatment I had to call my Dr’s office and either talk to someone or go in to be seen, leading to delays in treatment, and ending up on oral steroids a few times, and lots and lots of frustration that comes from trying to get appts and make phonecalls to increase or change my meds to get things under control. and on top of that I was always wondering when I should call my doc, and dealing with the stress of not knowing what I should do, and not having any control of the situation. . .

Since I’ve had my action plan I have used it once, my asthma doc says that its hard to tell how it works till its been in place 6 months to a year, the one time I did use it I loved it, it made life alot easier, and best yet, I got ahead of things before they got bad, and only needed to “yellow zone” for 2 days. . . it could have been much worse, I’ve ended up on prednisone a few times for letting things stew too long. . .

So, whats my asthma action plan?
I have moderate persistant asthma, my triggers are upper respiratory infections, smoke (cigarette and other) fumes like paint or chemical, construction dust and stuff like that, and exercise and stress.

Green: PF of 400 and up
Symptoms: NO symptoms (coughing, tight chest, shortness of breath {I dont really wheeze unless I am really bad off})

Meds: Symbicort 160/4.5 2 puffs twice a day, singulair 10 mg daily, and xopenex inhaler 2 puffs or neb 1.25 mg neb every 4 hours as needed

Yellow: PF 250-400
Symptoms: any symptoms what so ever, first sign of cold or upper respiratory infection

Meds: symbicort 160/4.5 2 puffs twice daily, singulair 10 mg daily, xopenex inhaler 2 puffs or neb 1.25 mg every 4 hrs scheduled, and either pulmicort flexhaler 180 mcg 2 puffs 4 times a day or 1 mg pulmicort nebulized twice a day

Red: PF<250
Symptoms: worsening symptoms dispite treatment or symptoms staying the same after 24-48 hours of treatment

Meds: Yellow Zone Meds plus 60 mg prednisone daily x 5 days
Call MD, go to ER if need be

so, whats your action plan? any success stories? any advice? any questions?


crazy week!

March 21, 2009

this week has been absolutely nuts!

for clinical I was with the charge therapist, and it was busy, and boring at the same time, a bipap in the ER and an RSV slide on a baby in the ER and helping out on the intensive care units(ICUs) pediatric ICU and surgical ICU were particularly busy this week, with pediatric ICU taking the cake! a bunch of really sick babies hanging around there this week, but otherwise basically a couple mundane days at clinical. . . running my ass off!!!

on tuesday I went out as a tradition with my mother, her boyfriend, and a couple friends to see a couple Irish bands play, we had a couple beers and ate some pizza. . . american flatbread is freaking awesome! all in all, it was an awesome night, I cant believe I caught a buzz off from a beer and a half though!

Thursday I had class and I did pretty damned good on the last test that I took, I got a 100! right now I am carrying a 96 in my cardiopulm disease class, woo hoo!

other than that things are pretty good went to costcos today, its amazing how fast you can spin through 200 bucks there!

Hopefully I took my last dose of diltiazem today. . . Whats that? oh yea, diltiazem or “dilt” is a calcium channel blocker, it slows the signals from the top of the heart to the bottom of the heart, basically (almost) preventing the arrhythmia that I am having. . . I said almost, that’s why I’m having the EPS and ablation. . . hopefully the next few days are not too bad, cause I have to stop the meds a few days ahead of time so they are able to start up the arrhythmia. . . during the procedure they actually have to cause the arrhythmia so they can map it and see where its coming from, this will help them figure out where to ablate it and stop it from happening, having meds on board to prevent the arrhythmia doesnt help this cause. . . problem is that I could have issues with having the arrhythmias again between now and then, I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed, hopefully it wont be too bad, hopefully its worth it and I’ll never have to touch the stuff again, I hate taking pills!

well, its time to go catch up on some Z’s may be the last chance I have to get a good nights sleep in a while!



well, its time to go catch up on some sleep

life summed up in one word right now: Distraction! Work, School, Music, Life! Wait! isnt that 5 words, damn, I digress already.

A little about me, My name is Morgan. I’m 22 years old. I’m a Respiratory Therapy student, soon to be graduate! I’m a respiratory therapy assistant at my local hospital, also working in the food service department in the meantime, I’m a music lover, I love to be with family, I LOVE coffee (it definitely deserves its own food group), and beer for that matter, I love to be outside, I’m a hard worker, and, eh, I live with congenital heart disease every day of my life.

what’s up today? Right now life is crazy, school is crazy, work is crazy, my car is filthy (I bet you couldnt count the number of respiratory books I’ve got in that little beetle on 2 hands! that might be why my gas mileage went down at the beginning of this semester) today I took a break, I chilled out this morning and took care of some odds and ends, I took my practice RRT exam and got an 82 without even doing the math! Woo hoo! I should be safe for this week as far as various extra stuff going on now, and I even got the grocery shopping done! It’s nice to have a couple days off, I havent seen two days off back to back in. . . eh. . . a really long time, I dont even remember! The next time I see that will be March 26th. . .

One of the reasons I started this blog, among many others, is to chronicle my experiences, one of the biggest things on my mind lately is my upcoming Electrophysiology study and Ablation, and one of the biggest things I have noticed in getting ready for this procedure is that there isnt enough information about the actual experience of going through it, so I was hoping to help some people by detaling what its like to actually go through it for people. Right now that means the mental and emotional preparations, its alot to deal with at any age, but being 22 years old, and being told they are gonna snake a catheter up from yor groin, into your heart, and burn pieces of your heart into submission is freaky! Add to that being a medical professional, I see shitty things happen every day, and as a respiratory therapist, most of what I see is when things go wrong. . . that results in some pretty funky head trips, I cant even explain some of the dreams I have had!

My answer: Distraction, its not hard to do with work and school, but my favorite form is music! My goal right now is to make myself a new playlist on i tunes, as someone who deals with medical appointments and stuff, I’ve learned one trick, given to me by a fellow adult congenital heart patient: reward yourself! so, thats what I’ve been doing, I’ve been buying new music on i tunes, I cant believe it, I still havent exhausted the list of music I like from the 90’s! that added to the pair of pajamas I bought to wear to the hospital, I should be all set! The trick is to keep at it between now and the 26th. . . shouldnt be too hard, I seem to be pretty good at it!