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Thanks Tom. Hearing words of empathy and support from those who have gone through it helps when you are so frustrated.

I've been wearing a cold air mask because that has been my highest need in the past. I've ordered a charcoal filter mask for pollution. That was a good suggestion. I've looked into them in the past, but the need wasn't as great then. This was a good reminder.

So, we officially have the worst air in the country right now. We've had quite a few yellow (caution for sensitive people) and yellow action alert days, but we officially went to the red air alert days at the end of last week. Red air is unhealthy for healthy people so think what it is doing to those of us with respiratory problems. According to the news, we will probably stay in the red air action alerts at least for the next 7 days. There is literally no end in sight right now. The air is so thick that you can't see a big mountain a mile a way. The "fog" is so bad at times that you can't even see more than a block ahead of you even when there are blue skies up above. The bad air is trapped under the good air and nothing short of a big storm will sweep it away.

I'm on Prednisone for the third time since November. I had just finished a 1 week round when I started my most recent higher dosage round on Friday. Aside from the weight gain issue, I haven't had problems with side effects. That is until Saturday and today. I have had periods of time when my heart has started racing. This even when I hadn't recently used my Albuterol. My resting heartrate has been about 129. I called my doc and he said it was the steroids. It is disconcerting to say the least. My coughing has been there, but not as bad the last couple days now that I'm on new cough medicine and stronger steroids, but where the coughing isn't as wearing, the medicine seems to be wearing me out just as much. Right now, I'm on SIX medications just for the asthma: Advair 500/50, Singular, Albuterol (4 times/day), Phenegren DM, Tessalon Perle and Prednisone. I also had a nebulizer treatment on Friday.

I'm also frustrated with how this is impacting my work. I missed work on Friday. I missed a couple days after X-mas and a a day earlier in December. That is 4 days in the last month. While I do have sufficient sick leave, my job isn't protected. Even when I am at work, I haven't been able to give it my all when I'm coughing constantly. Last week, it seemed that all kinds of "little" things keep triggering coughing fits because I've been flared so bad. Wish I could afford to take the time from work for several weeks and just leave town. I'm not sure I could convince them that it is appropriate use of sick leave though. ;) There are lots of people who just don't get how much it is impacting on how you function when you aren't in the emergency room or wheezing so they hear.

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