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Non-smoker COPD

I never had breathing problem, except for the occasional cold. I never had any life threatening reaction to an meds. That is until I took a Motrin in 1996 for a headache. At the time I didn’t have anything else. In about 15-20 minutes later I was having a little wheeze. I thought I was getting a cold. Then another 15 minutes more went by and I was starting to gasp some. I called a friend to call an ambulance. Another long 15 minutes went by and my throat was closing up. I have never been so scared in my life. By the time the ambulance was in site I tried to walk outside. I leaned against the railing. The EMT came over to me and I stopped breathing. They put me inside and tried to revive me. On the way to the hospital (which is only 10 minutes away) I stopped breathing 2 more times. When I woke up in the ER I saw they had to intubate me. The doctor told me if I waited 10 more minutes I wouldn’t be here. The next 10 years I had asthma attacks every month or two. I also had bronchitis up to 5 times a year. I was in and out of the ER so many times for severe asthma attacks or bronchitis. About 2007 my asthma was a bit more controlled. I was still getting attacks, but only 5-7 times a year. In 1997 I started using prednisone. I haven’t been off of it since. I have been on numerous inhalers. Now I get 1 to 4 attacks a year. I still get bronchitis and sinus infections every year. I have had polyps grown twice so far in my sinuses. I have thinning bones and deteriorating joints from the prednisone. I had a total left hip replacement. The right has arthritis. Both knees have arthritis. I have had GERD, high blood pressure. Heat and humidity in the summer bother me. Cold air, under 20F, bothers me. It is life-changing. It is hard to get family and friends to understand how the weather affects me. I lost my job of 26 years from the time spent out for my hip in 2013. In 2015 I filed for SS disability with the help of a lawyer. I went to the disability doctor and had the breathing test. I had one of my few best breathing days. I was denied. I am waiting to get an appointment to see a judge.

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  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Cobyboy and thanks for sharing your story with us. You are always welcome here on our COPD website. We have all kinds of information about COPD. Our COPD Facebook page may interest you as well. You can access it here:

    However, your story also talks about your asthma. We have both an Asthma website, which you can access at:
    As well, we have an Asthma Facebook page which you may want to look over- it is available here:

    We will look forward to hearing more from you. Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

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