Last night was possibly the scariest episode I’ve had yet, mostly because it jolted me out of a deep sleep and put me through the ringer for a few hours.
It was a clear, cool night and the hubby had cracked our window open, not thinking at all that airborne triggers might find their way in to murder me as we slept (oops!). Sometime around midnight, the room became filled with the strong (and I mean STRONG) scent of smoke.
Not smoke like the house was on fire, but more like the odor of smoke like from a distant campfire. They must have been burning the weeds from the around the irrigation canals earlier and the wind caught the scent of it just right and delivered it right to my sleeping mast cells.
Just like that, I woke up choking, unable to breathe. I gagged on seemingly unending rivers of mucus that poured from my lungs and throat and nose all at once for a good fifteen minutes.
At one point it got so bad I threw up and wanted to pass out. With the hubby’s help I managed to make it out of the master bedroom and into the living room where the air was clear. I tried not to panic but it was really, really hard, I was literally suffocating and drowning in my own body fluids and the assault came on like a tsunami.
I barely grasped what was happening because of the fact I was still half asleep and then dealing with a wall of brain fog on top of it but I knew that what I was experiencing most likely wasn’t anaphylaxis. It was just a really, really bad degranulation episode causing really, really bad inflammation, swelling and mucus from hell.
I made it to the medicine cabinet in the kitchen and used my Nasalcrom first because I know that my sinus mast cells are the first ones to be triggered by something like smoke, along with my lungs. I hit on my albuterol inhaler twice, and took a Benedryl, then headed to the couch and laid down and waited. I focused on staying calm and hoped the medicines would kick in quickly, which they gratefully did.
The Nasalcrom calmed things down almost instantly, probably in less than a minute and the inhaler worked within about five minutes or so. Breathing in clean air helped, too. While I stayed out on the couch and everything slowly calmed back down my sweetie pie went and closed up the window and aired out the bedroom but it still took me a couple more hours to bring myself to go back to bed.
I ended up taking two Tylenol and a Xanax just to get my head to stop pounding and to calm my nerves so I could sleep. I’ve had a few really bad episodes but last night’s sneak attack was worse than anything yet. It was pretty traumatic!
I think I will be asking my doctor about switching me from the albuterol inhaler to a cromolyn sodium nebulizer since the Nasalcrom works so quickly and it is a mast cell specific targeting medication. I’ve heard good things and I wonder if it would work better for me than the albuterol inhaler, which does work, but maybe not as good as the cromolyn would. I don’t know but it’s worth investigating.
I didn’t panic and I didn’t have to call 911, so that was good, and I was reminded yet again that my medicines really work when I need them most, so that was good, too. I was also reminded how quickly this can become dangerous. I remembered my brother in law who died years ago from asthma on his bathroom floor at just 33.
I know we all have to go, and it’s not the worst way to go out, I suppose, but I’d much rather live to a ripe old age and die peacefully in my sleep rather than choking to death on my own mucus, tyvm(!).
We’ll be keeping the windows closed tight at night from now on…