I have asthma. Most of the time, I don’t even notice it or think about it, but over Christmas I had a rough time of it. As a kid I was told it was “allergic asthma” and as an adult I can see why. If I spend more than a few hours around a dog, or if I accidentally wear wool, or if I fall asleep on a wool rug or with a feather pillow or down comforter, my lungs tighten up and I have difficulty breathing. This breathing difficulty will last for days and sometimes will follow up with me catching a cold, which is weird, but whatever.
Not being able to breathe well makes me cranky. My asthma has been bad enough that awhile back my doctor had me buy a nebulizer and I have albuterol that I put in the nebulizer. It takes about 10 minutes to do a nebulizer treatment with albuterol – it is boring, it is loud, and then I spend the next several hours with shaky hands and a feeling like I want to jump out of my own skin. I often wonder if this is how people feel on meth, but then think it couldn’t possibly be – who would want to feel like that on purpose?
Anyway, as Will and I have been getting over being sick, my lungs have still felt pretty tight, so I have been using my nebulizer. Friday morning, prior to Crossfit, I did the albuterol treatment and went to Crossfit, and felt like a crazy person. Side effects of the albuterol nebulizer for me are: shaky hands and a general all over feeling of vibration, anxiousness multiplied by a thousand, intense nausea, and occasional weepiness. These side effects mean I have to need to breathe pretty acutely to use the nebulizer, because otherwise I am a nauseated crazy person that cannot sit still but feels like puking when I move.
The warm-up yesterday was a pretty long one, and with our trainer, Scott, now focused on improving our running skills, the WoD he had set up for us included a lot of running. I was done with the warm-up ahead of Will and basically sat looking at the white board with our workout on it while mentally freaking the hell out about it. It was one of those WoD’s that I read and thought, “There is no way I can do that. I want to cry and go home.” Now pride and sheer stubbornness will not allow for me to cry and go home, but also, I can usually tell when my emotional reactions are way out of whack with reality. Yesterday at Crossfit, my emotional responses were completely out of step with reality, and I knew it, and I knew it was because of the albuterol making me anxious and weepy, but sitting there waiting for Will to get done so we could start the WoD had me on the verge of tears anyway. Knowing that your emotions do not reflect the reality of the situation does not always help keep them in check.
When he finally came out to the field to do the WoD, Scott asked if he was ready and Will said no, and I just explode. Being on a central nervous system stimulant tends to make me talk faster, as well as have poor impulse control, so I basically, in one breath in a sentence that probably came out sounding like one long word said to Will, “You know how I am anxious on a normal day and the albuterol makes me even more anxious and I had anxiety dreams last night about working out and I am very crazy right now?” to which Will, ever the unflappable smart ass, said, “No.” I replied, “I need for us to start the workout now. RIGHT NOW.” He said, “Ok.” I’m sure the edge of hysteria in my voice helped.
Me being anxious and crazy is almost as unpleasant for Will as it is for me, although I am sure he would say it is worse for him.
The WoD helped burn off a lot of the vibrating, unnatural energy energy that I had, but this did mean I was able to go faster. Due to the side effect of nausea, I spent quite a bit of the workout simply working to not throw up, which when you are working out for time is frustrating, because the minutes just keep right on ticking away. I did manage to finish before Will, which is a rarity, but I walked a lot more than I wanted to simply due to nausea, although lack of air was an issue as well.
What I got out of the experience is that the side effects from the nebulizer are more of an impediment to me working out currently than the tightness in my lungs. I have a rescue inhaler, and I think I will bring that to Crossfit in the future just in case, but otherwise, I am going to force my lungs to just deal with it on their own. Will’s vehement agreement with this plan of action assures me I am on the right path – he likes for me to be able to breathe, but agrees that the time I spend trying to not throw up is probably greater than the time I spend catching my breath on a normal day.
Overall, though, yesterday was just one of those days. I had fairly vicious and exhausting anxiety dreams all night, so I woke up tired and somewhat sad. Then, I started off the day with my phone going into the toilet – prior to flushing because without the grossness factor where would be the fun? Thank goodness it was only number 1. So, my phone is dead and my replacement won’t arrive until Monday. Then I had the insanity of being anxious from anxiety dreams all night, compounded with the albuterol making me even more insane, then working out was more difficult than it had any reason being, and finally, when I went for my daily run around the block, instead of making it half way around the block as I did the two previous days, I barely made it a third of the way before I needed to walk. It felt like an entire day of backsliding.
Overall, it was an intensely Off Day, at least on the exercise front. I got my 100 push-ups in (well, 200, I spent Thursday writing my project all day and everything else fell by the wayside, so I had to make up for missing a day of push-ups, although I did mange to run).
I often wonder though if this whole exercise thing is easier for people who are not totally neurotic/anxious/crazy. I also wonder if people like that actually exist in the world. I tend to think not. It’d be very lonely for them.