About 23 years ago, when I was in 2nd grade, I had to stay in the hospital for nearly a week after developing a severe case of pneumonia. What I didn't know at the time was that I was much sicker than I thought and quite possibly could have died. My potassium levels nearly bottomed out and I was stuck with an IV and went through nightmarish breathing treatments where I had to inhale some horrible smoky-tasting treatment followed by a nurse practically beating the shit out of my tiny 7-year old back in order to loosen up the phlegm in my lungs. My mom stayed with me the entire time and I shared a room with some older lady behind a curtain. I have no idea why she was actually there, but as I child I convinced myself that she was in the hospital for eating cigarettes.
I share this because I had to visit the Walgreen's clinic today and was diagnosed with sports-related asthma. I'm pretty sure my bout of childhood pneumonia left me with a somewhat reduced lung capacity. I knew something was wrong when I started riding my bike and running outside earlier this year. At the end (and sometimes during) my exercise, I started coughing and wheezing. I felt like I had the weight of a post-Jenny Craig Kirstie Alley sitting on my chest. So the Walgreen's doc prescribed an albuterol inhaler and I was on my way home to deal with the fact that I will now have to carry an inhaler with me when I run.
In reality its not that much of a setback. Initially I was a little concerned since not one hour earlier, I had signed up for the Resolution Run 5k with expected high temps in the low 30s (cold air aggravates asthma). Could I really do this knowing I would have to rely on an inhaler in order to do something as critical as breathing? As always, I turned to the internet for expert advice. A google search for sports-related asthma revealed that I share this diagnosis with Jackie Kersee Joiner. She was a pretty good runner I guess...... In other words, I think I'll live.