What PSAs and TV don’t tell you about asthma

… is that it is bloody exhausting.

My first warning symptom of a flare is fatigue. I mysteriously am too tired to go for a walk, or breathe heavily from walking up stairs, or feel like going to bed an extra hour or two early. It’s subtle. Easy to miss.

My most destructive symptom of an asthma flare is exhaustion. Like, “I woke up two hours ago, but I need a nap.” Or like “I slept 14 hours last night, but I’m still yawning.” Or… take your pick. I know it’s asthma when I take my reliever and feel like I magically had an extra few hours of sleep infused into my brain in the 10 minutes it took the med to take effect. When I’m having a more substantial flare (like now), it’s enough to get me to able to stay awake, but not enough to get me to feeling not-tired. I need to get away from asthma triggers before it will resolve.

The exhaustion makes spending time with small relatives, socializing with family, and following conversations (all expected holiday activities) difficult, if not impossible. I’m too damn tired to try to emulate playing dolls with a child, or pleasing coos at a baby, let alone to follow or participate in a many-way dinner table conversation.

I think sometimes that I perceive chest tightness as fatigue. Because unless my chest is painfully tight, I don’t notice it. I do notice, though, that I’m tired.

And, boy, am I tired.

On that note, I’m going to bed early tonight.

Freaking asthma.

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