Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weather update

Hi All,
Usually I get the irrits with all these medical students who constantly update their facebook pages with comments about how many lives they've saved. Go and notch your stethoscope, or something. Seriously, who saves lives? I certainly dont. I'll be happy if I can just get through the next few years without accidentally killing anyone.
Until two nights ago that is, when I saved a life! It was actually my own. Good for me.
Yes, folks, I had "thunderstorm asthma", and it really sucked. I had never even heard the term before, nor ever had asthma, but realised something was wrong when I couldn't breathe. I find thats usually a diagnostic giveaway. Reasoning that it seemed to be occurring in line with a rainstorm, I thought perhaps pollen could be implicated (in your face all those people who said that being a science nerd is a bad thing, knowing how pollen behaves in the rain is useful after all!) and rummaged around until I found some old antihistamines and a bottle of prednisone left over from the last time the kids had croup. Then I sat around wheezing heavily until they kicked in. This is the point in the story where people are probably wondering: a) Wheres the weather / climate angle? and b) Why didnt you go to a hospital, you retard?
The answers are as follows: a) I'm getting to it. b) Medicos make terrible patients and usually dont go to an ED until they are unconscious, whereupon someone else takes them. Also, the kids were asleep and I didnt want to wake them.
Now, on to the weather angle. Australia is one of the worst places in the world for asthma and hayfever. I could provide links, but cant be bothered, just google it if you dont believe me. Interestingly, when people move to Australia from overseas, they run the risk of developing asthma and hayfever that is a function of how long they have been here for. 2-4 years seems to the magic number, then you get a bunch of expats suddenly presenting to their doctors with their heads exploding, saying things like "I've NEVER had this before." Lets just say our environmental conditions can be tough on the atopic.
Anyhoo, this is one of the wettest, coolest summers in southern Australian since around 1996. All of those bastard pollinating thingies are going apeshit. Then you get a couple of hot days where they pollinate themselves into a frenzy, followed by a thunderstorm, which bursts the pollen grains in the air. So instead of getting stuck in your nose and causing hayfever, you breathe all these antigenic particles down into your lungs and suddenly find it difficult to breathe.
Melbourne has been hardest hit and had 300+ people calling for an ambulance due to thunderstorm asthma in one night, which doesnt count those people who presented to ED themselves (or sat at home in Sydney self-medicating with kiddy prednisone and Phenergan). The Alfred hospital has had to open another wing to deal with the number of cases. Apparantly this hasn't happened on such a scale since the 1970's.
Television news are running stories warning people with hayfever to go straight to a hospital if they start wheezing. Fun times.
Global warming has clearly foresaken us. Bring back the drought.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paua,
    It has been some time since I commented on your blog, a glitch or gremlin on your site forebade me. Some twenty five years ago I realised that self and children are the only first priority worth the effort. I also had a bitch but of the correct gender.I have had since a more peaceful life and alhough a tad hard coping with a child all worked out ok. I now have a grown up daughter with her own children, she gained much experience in life coping with a bitch and ended treating her accordingly as she deserved.

    I do not envy your position, but what does not kill us makes us wiser and stronger. The global warming is another problem all together, apart from the propaganda fed to us and our children, I in the last hour had at least 4 inches of wet never to be seen again precipitation that almost washed my house away. I'm thinking Tim Flannery must be in town and the Gore effect is kicking in.


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