I had no idea asthma could be fatal.
At 7.50am, my wife left for work in her car as usual, dropping off our youngest at the day care centre on he way. I had to start earlier and do my rounds with the bus.
She texted me: “Can you take care of diner today?”she tapped.
I phoned her back and we chatted about the plans for that evening. We ended the conversation as always by saying: “Love you.”
A couple of minutes later, she was dead.
She’d driven into the side of a lorry after suffering a fatal asthma attack.
For us the rest of the family of four, her death came as a bolt from the blue. Shocking are the statistics as they show that one person dies from asthma every eight hours.
But a new review, that will investigate the cause of asthma deaths, is hoping to reduce that number to two or three every year so that cases like my wife’s will become few and far between.
The review will ask GPs and hospital doctors for information to identify factors leading up to an asthma death, including the medication a patient was taking and whether a patient had any attacks in the run-up to their death.
On the morning she dropped our daughter at day care, nothing was out of the ordinary.
“She’d taken her inhalers the night before and in the morning and she didn’t seem unwell,” just an other day. “It was only when her boss at the telecom firm where she worked called me to say that she hadn’t turned up! I really started to worry.
“I knew something terrible had happened because she was if it comes to work she’s always punctual. I had a broken shift and I went home during the break, worried sick hoping to find her in bed or something similair.
I rang the police to see if they knew of any accidents but they couldn’t tell me anything. Then, at 10.10am, two police officers turned up at the door.
“They told me there had been a road traffic accident involving my wife. The officers had taken their hats off and said they were really sorry. I knew then she was dead.
It was like the whole world stopped. I went into automatic gear, phoning her workplace to let them know what had happened, then I went to the school to tell the children their mum was dead. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”I never thought asthma would kill her.
She first developed the condition when he was 12 shortly after she went to another school it started being allergic to many things and she got some medication to stop it, when I met her she was 23 years old and her hands were a mess because she was reacting allergic to the Christmas tree. In Januari we bought a fake tree and I took her to her Phd. The evening before she had a severe Asthma attack and her lips turned blue due to the lack of oxygen. Her doctor was a bit hardheaded to admit that this would be asthma. So I pushed him verbally in a corner and he send us of to a specialist. A couple of weeks later she got a better life by having the right doses of medication.
“We don’t know if this triggered her asthma but from then on she started to take Ventolin and Becotide inhalers,” the lungspecialist says.
As the years passed, She became increasingly prone to chest infections and I have to admit that after the breakdown after having our first child and several miscarriages, she began to smoke 15 cigarettes a day due to a lot of stress.
“She gave up for a while when we expected our second child and no I was not very supportive during those years but then she started smoking again. I was always nagging at her to take her inhalers when she was wheezy but she didn’t always listen.”
Her first wake-up call came in 2011 when she suffered a bout of pneumonia. She spent five days in bed where i still think she should have gone to the hospital. At the time she was taking a Ventolin inhaler and Seretide 250, a steroid preventer inhaler. Nothing really worked. After a Prednisolone treatment she recovered.
Her second bout came in February this year, when she had an attack of coughing syncope, a violent coughing episode which caused her to pass out.
A month later, she suffered a similar attack but this time he was behind the wheel of the car. It proved to be fatal.
“The postmortem showed a massive asthma attack, which means she probably passed out and drove into the lorry,” says the report.
“She had all her inhalers with her in the car when she died.”
The lorry driver was totally blameless and it was an accidental death.
I am thinking back at our days that we met. “It was a strange way to meet but we bumped into each other at the station and a few weeks later I took her out. We were both separated in a bad way in a former relationship. Eventhough I did not believe in love anymore after I was stood up again, creepy but after nearly five years of being single not wanting anything to do with women, I totally fell for her smile and a fair sense of humour.
“Asthma was always a problem for her and it did increasingly affect her day-to-day life. Simply running around with the children made her out of breath. But we thought her condition was under control and I still find it hard to believe that asthma could kill her.
“Thank God we did many fun things together because we now treasure those memories if we would be losing her so unexpectedly. My point is even if your not that rich live life as best as you can. This is crucial and everyone must understand how deadly asthma can be.”
This story is just the freedom of my thoughs, It is still not too late for my wife as she is still around but this might be a realistic scenario. For her there might not be that many options left but it’s not too late for other asthma sufferers.
“I want everyone to know that asthma can kill, because I didn’t know until it was told to me by a physician.
“I wish we’d known how deadly asthma can be because then, I would have made absolutely sure she took all her inhalers.” Here is a simple test: If you can breathe normal just put a straw in your mouth and try to breathe through it, don’t forget to block your nostrils as well. That is how many Asthma sufferers feel when they have an attack.
The Old Sailor,