Fahrenheit Asthma

I woke up feeling cold. One December morning, after five days of below-freezing weather, my furnace didn’t wake up.

Since this was the kind of weather that kills old furnaces, my mittened husband made many calls to heating contractors before finding one that could squeeze us in.

He examined our ailing appliance and gave us the bad news. It wasn’t entirely dead.

Replacing a part, or two, might give it a few more years. But this furnace had already had a long, fulfilling life. We decided to put the old antique out of its misery.

As he pulled out our old furnace, talked to us about what to replace it with, and brought in the new furnace, we realized – this guy was really smart.

Tall and thin, with a wide grin, and joints that swung like their screws were a few turns short of tight, Robert Brierley of Revival Energy admitted to a degree in mechanical engineering. He’d done cubicle-farm work for a few years, but switched to HVAC because, he said, he really loved bringing heat to people.

He had lately been intrigued to find that sometimes his work provided unexpected benefits. Families had told him after he installed new ventilation systems in their homes that their asthma improved. A lot. “They got off steroids, and everything!” he marvelled.

BING! BING! BING! BING! went my brain.

I’m a doctor. I know asthma is one of the biggest, baddest, most soul-sucking diseases in the developed world. It’s increasing, and no one really knows why. It’s also one of the most expensive health problems, costing tens of billions per year in this country alone.

This guy, a heating contractor, thought he was curing asthma? I didn’t know what a “ventilation system” was, but I knew a furnace cost around five thousand bucks. Sounds like a lot, but hospital stays cost a couple thousand each. If a ventilation system could save a family just two or three hospital visits, it would pay for itself.

Was this real?

I had to know more.

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This is the first weekly post of this blog. I promise to finish entries by Thursday and post them on Friday.

Some topics I’ll write about:
Doctoring, Family Doctors, Women Doctors, Alternative Medicine, Theatre, Public Health, History, and Gardens.