I have lots of medical supplies in my bedroom. Most of the supplies are stored in our garden shed, and the majority of the medications that are important enough to be in the house are stored downstairs. Upstairs medical supplies are mostly things that might be needed in an emergency.
Most of the supplies upstairs are stored in the drawers under my bed, neatly organised for easy access. In these drawers, I keep various dressings and splints, monitoring supplies and medications that I might need if I'm stuck in bed.
Next to my bed I have a set of drawers on wheels. This contains things that I use daily, organised so that I can find what I need (I'll take some pictures for another blog post). Each drawer only contains a couple of different things, out of necessity, as I often find myself rifling through these drawers when I'm half asleep, or trying not to wake my husband.
On top of the set of the drawers is a tray. This tray holds a pair of gloves, alcohol gel and alcohol wipes; syringes filled with pain medication and antihistamines, anti-inflammatory gel, scar gel, and my epi-pen. Overnight, this is where I keep my oxygen sats monitor, thermometer and blood glucose monitor (and glucose tablets). There is a torch at the front of the tray so that I can find things in the middle of the night.
Last night I needed my inhaler.
I looked on the tray, and didn't find it. I looked through each of the three drawers beside my bed, then in the drawers underneath my bed. I looked in the coolbag at the end of the bed (medications I take with me if I'm going out).
There were no inhalers in any of these places.
Eventually I gave up and asked my husband to get a new inhaler from one of the downstairs storage boxes.
It wasn't an emergency, and I certainly wasn't anxious that I couldn't find an inhaler (I found my nebuliser straight away, but decided that I would rather use an inhaler).
The significance of this only hit me this morning. I have had very severe asthma for most of my life. I can barely remember a time when I haven't carried an inhaler with me. I have inhalers and nebulised medications in every handbag, along with an epi-pen, steroids and antihistamines. I even keep a hospital bag packed at all times, ready to be grabbed on the way to the hospital (often by a paramedic), which contains lots of asthma medications, as well as a washbag and change of clothes.
But I haven't needed to use the hospital bag for eight months. EIGHT whole months without an emergency hospital admission. I haven't had an admission for asthma since 2011. Those of you who have known me for a while will gasp at this, I'm sure - I spent five months of 2011 in hospital with asthma, and averaged 6-12 asthma-related hospital admissions a year for many years. A year without severe asthma seemed completely unthinkable.
The fact that I didn't have an inhaler close to the bed amazes me. It isn't just that I have been surviving at home with severe asthma - things have been unimaginably well-controlled for longer than I ever could have expected. Of course, I'm still on high doses of maintenance medications, but my lungs are doing what they were made to do!
One of the first things I did this morning was to restock all the places that should have held inhalers (I don't want to jinx myself!), but every unopened inhaler box felt like a celebration!
But I have