A-Z

Stephen

Age at interview: 25
Brief Outline: Stephen, age 25, was diagnosed with asthma very recently. He is white British, single and works as a delivery driver. Stephen has been prescribed a preventative inhaler and a ventolin inhaler to use when needed. He is due to return to see his GP soon for a review to see how effective the medication has been.

More about me...

Stephen was diagnosed with asthma just a few weeks before he was interviewed for his interview with healthtalkonline. He had always been fit and actively involved in sporting activities but when he returned from living in Australia for a couple of years and tried to get back into running and training he found himself breathless and was feeling less fit than he had been. At times he was feeling fatigued and breathless when he was sitting at home doing very little and there were also times when he found himself unable to sleep because his chest felt tight and he was wheezy. After a visit to the GP he was given two inhalers – a preventer and a reliever, which he is now using regularly and he is due to visit the doctor again soon to see how effective they have been. He has used the preventer inhaler each morning but has tended to forget to take the second dose later in the day. He has used the ventolin [reliever] inhaler a few times but has found that the preventer inhaler has improved his stamina and he feels positive about being able to keep the asthma well controlled. His GP told him that he had been diagnosed with asthma at around the same age as Stephen is, and that it had not impacted greatly on his lifestyle and Stephen felt encouraged by this story and hopeful that he would be able to continue his sporting activities and improve his fitness levels. Although it’s very early days he said he felt concerned to some degree about the possibility of becoming dependent on using inhalers and is hoping that he will be able to stop using them at some point in the future, although at the moment he doesn’t know how realistic that would be. Stephen’s mother has suffered from asthma for as long as he can remember and he feels that to a certain extent people can become dependent upon taking medication as a matter of habit and that it would be preferable to be able to keep fit and healthy without reliance on medical intervention.

Stephen attributes getting asthma to having taken up smoking whilst he was living in Australia and has given up completely since his return home. He feels that keeping a positive mindset is important.

“Don’t let it take over your life. Don’t, you know, don’t hide from it but don’t let it control you. You control it.”
 

Stephen felt breathless and tired even when he wasn’t doing exercise.

Stephen felt breathless and tired even when he wasn’t doing exercise.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
The typical tell tale signs were, as I say, short of breath in the afternoons, even in the evenings where I wasn’t exercising and so that was my main concern. I wasn’t doing anything and was finding myself out of breath from just sitting down after a day’s work and that was worrying me because I’m still only twenty five.
 

Other members of Stephen’s family have asthma so he wasn’t too surprised be told he had it. His mum thought he may have been asthmatic as a child and took him to the doctors several times but he wasn’t diagnosed until recently.

Other members of Stephen’s family have asthma so he wasn’t too surprised be told he had it. His mum thought he may have been asthmatic as a child and took him to the doctors several times but he wasn’t diagnosed until recently.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Well, to be honest, part of me wasn’t surprised because there’s actually a history within the family. My mother has asthma and on my father’s side of the family I have an aunt and an uncle who have a particular lung disease. I’m not sure of the correct name. So I wasn’t particularly surprised. So half expecting it that way.

And my mum was actually always paranoid when I was a kid she would drive me to the doctor once or twice thinking, “He has asthma. He has asthma.” So but the doctor always turned me away.

Right and do you think, I mean what do you think led her to believe that you might have had asthma when you were a child?

I don’t know. To, I was a typical boy, out playing football until it was dark, come in clean wrecked. To me that was just playing football for four hours and it was time for bed. Mum noticed there was something wrong. I don’t know. I was just a kid.

And do you think that maybe she was right?

Then, no, I wouldn’t. As I say, I was a kid and I was giving out to her, you know, “What are you taking me to the doctors for? I’m fine.” That was the attitude I had. For all it, as it turns out, she probably was right. I don’t know.
 

Stephen is 25 and thinks his asthma might have to do with smoking while living abroad. He is optimistic and hopes that asthma won’t disrupt his life.

Stephen is 25 and thinks his asthma might have to do with smoking while living abroad. He is optimistic and hopes that asthma won’t disrupt his life.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
How did you feel when you were told you might have asthma?

There was a say five minutes after I’d actually left the GP, after the chat with the doctor, there was five minutes before I went and collected my prescription where I was kind of depressed. You know, there was a there was a slump but then I decided, you know, “This isn’t going to be a big thing and I’m going to get out. I’m going to train harder. It’s not going to affect my lifestyle.” I’d listened to the story the doctor told me in terms of how his life has continued with it and I just thought, there’s no reason why that can’t be me.

Since I came out of the appointment with my GP that particular day, I thought about my lifestyle over the past couple of years.

I thought, you know, “How has my body changed from two or three years ago until now. You know, what have I done in that space of time that’s having such an effect on my lifestyle.”

I became a regular smoker. There was about a ten month period I was smoking between about fifteen cigarettes a day in Australia. Since I’ve come home I’ve quit that out since January I haven’t smoked at all. It’s now June.

How do you feel about having to see a nurse, say, maybe every three months or twice a year, something like that, about asthma?

I wouldn’t want to do it, to be honest. At the moment, I’d go and see her, you know, as I say, early days, just diagnosed. I’d perhaps go and see her in three month’s time and I wouldn’t want to be scheduled in for another appointment. If I could go and see her the once. That would be that would be great [laughs]. You know, if I was told I had to go every three months it would it would be depressing. It would be a dampener. I’d be extremely de-motivated coming out of the appointment.

Why’s that?

Because it would feel like it’s getting a grasp on my life, you know. It would feel like it’s controlling me whenever I should be controlling it.
 

Stephen has recently been given inhalers to try, and he will return to see the GP in a few weeks. If they have helped the symptoms the doctor can be surer of the diagnosis.

Stephen has recently been given inhalers to try, and he will return to see the GP in a few weeks. If they have helped the symptoms the doctor can be surer of the diagnosis.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I was out doing a bit of running in the evenings and after about three or four months my fitness wasn’t improving and I was still very out of breath and so I went to a doctor and, as a result, he diagnosed me with the early stages of asthma. The typical tell tale signs were, as I say, short of breath in the afternoons, even in the evenings where I wasn’t exercising and so that was my main concern. I wasn’t doing anything and was finding myself out of breath from just sitting down after a day’s work and that was worrying me because I’m still only twenty five. So...

Okay and when you went to the doctor, what actually happened?

I just went in and told him my concerns. I done a simple, few simple breath tests. He checked my lungs with a stethoscope.

And he gave me a prescription for two inhalers to take over the course of the next four weeks and then I have to check in with him, actually, next week to up-date my progress and if he’s happy that it is asthma I do have we’ll take the next step and if not, we’ll might have to be referred onto somebody else. But so far, I’m happy. I think the inhalers have made a slight improvement.
 

Stephen was reassured by his GP when he was recently diagnosed with asthma, and felt that he encouraged him to take a positive attitude towards managing it.

Stephen was reassured by his GP when he was recently diagnosed with asthma, and felt that he encouraged him to take a positive attitude towards managing it.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Did you find the GP helpful?

Very helpful indeed, yeah. He he’s actually an asthma sufferer himself.

And he explained he’s got two kids and they’re the same, two young fellas, but he’s also reassuring at the same time, in that I am now twenty five and himself was only diagnosed when he was twenty five and again, an active man, keeps himself fit and he just explained how it hasn’t hampered his life, he’s had it for, I don’t know, I’m guessing, thirty years, going by his age and he hasn’t let it affect his life. You know, he takes it in the morning. He forgets about it and he gets on with it.

He stays fit and healthy; it’s again, positive mindset.
 

Stephen saw it as a new challenge to find out about asthma when he was recently diagnosed. He has looked on the internet, at first for factual medical information, then for other people’s experiences.

Stephen saw it as a new challenge to find out about asthma when he was recently diagnosed. He has looked on the internet, at first for factual medical information, then for other people’s experiences.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It was it was a new challenge, in that sense, go through it, move on with it. It actually did make me think though, to go and research, you know, to find out more about it. That’s what I wanted to know. I wanted to educate myself on the subject to an extent. So just for personal gain I suppose.

And how did you go about that?

Well, again, the doctor, the GP was very good. He printed off a number of texts that just give the basics, so I just sat and read through them, and I’ve actually just continued, you know, the odd afternoon, just maybe ten or fifteen minutes, quick search on the internet to see if there was anything.

I haven’t sat reading intensively about it. I’ll just go fifteen minutes just a wee nosey or things like that.

Yeah. Okay and what kind of websites do you look up when you do that?

I generally, just go through the search engine and just to find the search whatever, whatever key words, whatever jumps out, you know, like, “Oh, that could be interesting and.” Just.

Is it medical information or patients’ experiences?

It’s actually, a mixture of both. At the start, it was medical information. I wanted to know why, you know, what actually, what’s going on to make my breathing change all of a sudden.

And then I was on some, one or two experiences, just trying to find, you know, just as a bit of reassurance just, you know, that you know things will continue on a good line.
 

Seeing his mother being dependent on her medication made Stephen feel determined to keep his own asthma well controlled.

Seeing his mother being dependent on her medication made Stephen feel determined to keep his own asthma well controlled.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Living in an asthma household, I’ve seen the amount of medication my mum takes every day and I believe her body is dependent on it and she’s been like this for say for the past number of years where’s she’s been, she needs her medication and I’m always sitting there, even as a kid, looking at her and I’m just like, “I am not going to end up like that. I am not going to become so dependent on.” You know, I know people who go and take painkillers every day, every single day they’d be away taking painkillers and I actually, think to myself, “Do do they really need them or is that a force of habit?” Because that’s, you know, is their mind telling them “Oh shit, it’s two o’clock. Where’re your painkillers?” You know, [laughs] and I thought sometimes I think about it and it baffles me.

Where do you think this fear of being dependent on something has come from?

Just watching the way it affected my mum’s lifestyle I suppose, and other lifestyles. You know, I’ve aunties, I’ve uncles, once it’s something you become aware of you can see it quite regularly in people’s lifestyles from people needing medication to people needing coffee and a cigarette every morning when they get out of bed. I don’t know how much their body actually needs it or if it’s their mind telling them they need it.
 

Stephen’s GP has asthma himself and Stephen is encouraged to see how he has not let it affect his life.

Stephen’s GP has asthma himself and Stephen is encouraged to see how he has not let it affect his life.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Did you find the GP helpful?

Very helpful indeed, yeah. He he’s actually an asthma sufferer himself.

And he explained he’s got two kids and they’re the same, two young fellas, but he’s also reassuring at the same time, in that I am now twenty five and himself was only diagnosed when he was twenty five and again, an active man, keeps himself fit and he just explained how it hasn’t hampered his life, he’s had it for, I don’t know, I’m guessing, thirty years, going by his age and he hasn’t let it affect his life. You know, he takes it in the morning. He forgets about it and he gets on with it.

He stays fit and healthy; it’s again, positive mindset.
Previous Page
Next Page