Bugs, Smog, Ashma, Life

   I try so hard to live my life as healthy as I can (Without subtracting to many beers or margaritas) and still the health problems I encounter seem to add up and up.
   Last week I found out I have asthma. This was not extremely surprising to me as last summer an ex boyfriend who was employed at the time as a personal trainer had questioned me on one of our seven mile hikes
   “You have a horrible wheeze, how long have you had asthma?”
   So it didn’t come as a complete surprise when my doctor last week told me that my horrible cough that has not left for two months is indeed asthma. He also informed me he would give me an inhaler if it got worse… How much worse does it need to get? I already feel like Stevie Nicks most the time, especially when I run up hill, hacking away like some one who has been smoking for twenty years!
   Not only do I have asthma, my doctor also inquired
   “How long have you had a heart murmur?”
   Heart murmur? Excuse me? This was news to me.
  So lets see here the list of things wrong with me is just growing and growing; Degenerative disks in my back (My biggest worry) shingles (Also known as back herpes as my last doctor told me while LAUGHING at me, check out the prior blog for that ridiculous story,
Otosclerosis, (Hearing loss due to calcium build up in the staples bone near the middle ear)
now add asthma and heart murmur to that growing list.
    The running joke is that I am trapped in the body of an eighty year old woman (My persistent gas adds to this). My best friend owns a fancy little sports car and every time I try to pull myself out of its tiny low frame, I feel like a eighty year old woman on those days.
   Not today though.
   Today I felt great as I pulled myself out of my soft cozy bed at five A.M. to knock out a five mile run before work.
   I felt great before I hit the trail and the asthma and bugs began.
   Coughing none stop while surrounded by insects sounds like a recipe for bug covered teeth, but luckily I brought my trusty mosquito net hat. Unluckily for me the bugs this morning were the worst I have ever, ever seen in Southern California.
   I’ve hiked and ran in the Sierras and Alaska and the bugs are bad there. In Alaska the bugs are worse than I have ever seen or could have imagined. I love Alaska, I love the outdoors and I love being outside twenty four seven in the day light hours. Part of me wants to go back to Alaska with a intense passion and part of me remembers the bugs, the biting Black Flies and mosquito’s the size of my hand. Part of me does not like being covered head to toe in layers on a eighty five degree day.
   For some reason, the bugs in Southern California tend to not be that bad and I think it’s the terrible smog. This also brings me back full circle to the asthma I guess. Asthma is completely normal for most people who live in this very smoggy area of Southern California. I remember being in elementary school I was like one of five of twenty children in my class that did not have asthma. (At the time, 1987)
   Today as I ran the dusty lonely trails near Rimwood Ranch the bugs were thick in my face. Luckily that face was wrapped in a mosquito net that they could not get through.

    I stopped to snap this picture on my cell phone of the empty forest, the sun not quite over the horizon yet leaving the morning cool still at sixty five degrees. As soon as I stopped my hand was covered in biting flies and it took me back in time to a drive through the emptiness of an Alaskan woods just North of Fairbanks. There was nothing up there but the pipeline, eighteen wheeler trucks delivering supplies to long forgotten towns like  Cold Foot population ten  and lots and lots of biting black flies. (For a blast back in time to an Alaskan adventure, check out
     I want to go back to Alaska with such a deep passion. It is one of the most insanely beautiful places I have ever been, but the bug situation is just crazy and I wonder, how much will it annoy me? I love being outdoors twenty four seven, yet I hate being hot, and hiking in Alaska means wearing long sleeves even in the summer on eighty degree days.
    So for now I stick to the trails of Southern California, coughing and wheezing my way up another set of switch backs, bating at a few flies here and there and complaining about the “Bug Situation” that is really not bad at all.


  1. psychochef

    I think it’s impressive that you continue to run despite the ailments (and while wearing a mosquito net hat)! You should definitely get that inhaler though, and bring it on your runs.

    I love the picture on your border – beautiful!


  2. Stacie Dalrymple

    Love the picture! I’m sorry you have asthma. I hike in the woods every day with my dog (in NJ). It’s SO buggy this year since we’ve had a wet spring and also there is more standing water due to the buildup in “tree holes” from 100s if trees going down during Sandy. I have 3 words: Deep Woods Off. It works. I was getting eaten alive and they haven’t touched me since I started using it. DEET is very effective.

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