Dagmar Makara was diagnosed with asthma aged 24. He started showing symptoms before then but believes doctors delayed diagnosing him due to a prior history of depression – he believes they assumed his asthma was manifested through stress and therefore blacklisted him from getting any asthma care.
He says: “I would go to the GP saying I was struggling to breathe and they would look at my notes and ignore me. It doesn’t help that my normal peak flow is very high (900+) so when I go to A&E with a reading of 500 (good for a normal person with asthma but suffocating for me) they discharge me without action. I have to fight to survive.“
When Dagmar asked his nurse for an action plan she admitted she had never heard of them and, implying it was something obscure he had found on the Internet, she said “You don’t need an action plan. If you can’t breathe you come in – that’s the plan.”
No one showed him how to use his inhaler – he had to use YouTube to first figure out how to use one. It was only after a year that someone checked his inhaler technique and thanks to YouTube, he discovered he wasn’t using it the right way. Dagmar has had around 50 A&E admissions in two years and has been on 20 courses of antibiotics over the last 20 months. He adds, “I feel it’s the luck of the draw when it comes to chest specialists, I have much better luck going to out of hours surgeries where they tend to be more sympathetic. On one occasion I rung my local GP surgery to get oral steroids and they told me they closed in 10 minutes and that I would have to run if I wanted them. By the time I arrived I was wheezing heavily but they just ignored me – as did the pharmacists when I went to collect the prescription.”
For more info visit http://www.asthma.org.uk/blog/dagmars-story