There’s support out there – Times have changed
Mediaworks Hawke’s Bay Operations Manager Justin Rae was diagnosed with asthma when he was just 4-years-old. He woke one night, struggling to breathe . Blue in the face he roused his parents who rushed him to the after hours clinic, but were told it would be faster to drive him through to the hospital than wait for an ambulance. It was the fastest trip his taxi driver Dad had ever made from Taradale to Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
A sign of the times, he was handed to nurses at the door to the Emergency Department (E.D) and was left with them for treatment. Admitted to the ward Justin spent two weeks in hospital with severe asthma due to having contracted pneumonia. He spent time in an oxygen tent and was isolated from his family, who could only visit during visiting hours.
It’s what happened during his time in E.D that makes his story unique. When he came to he queried nurses as to “what happened to the other little boy?” They appeased him saying “he’s fine.” He asked his mother the same question and it was then the nurses told her that it had been touch and go and he had flat-lined, passing briefly during the treatment. Justin had had an outer body experience and the little boy that he’d seen lying there was himself. His parents didn’t share the story with him until his teens.
Justin’s symptoms started declining from around the age of 10. He’s now only really affected when he has a cold or flu and has a good understanding of his triggers. Something he is helping his son who is 10 and an asthmatic, also come to grips with.
Times have changed
Justin has learnt about BHB over the past couple of years working on radio promotions during the lead up to Balloon Day. “Times have changed there is some good support and services available. It’s not just GPs and inhalers,” he says.
While he’s learnt to live with his condition the sense of breathlessness still stays with him. “That feeling of not being able to breathe. It’s very distressing. It’s really quite freaky.”
With asthma being so prevalent in New Zealand, it’s sometimes hard for people to recognise how serious asthma is. Around 60 deaths each year are attributed to asthma with many being tagged as “preventable.”
Justin recommends being proactive. “If you’re having issues it’s great to know that you have people like BHB to help you fix them.”