I've been away the last few days, but not because I was having fun. The adverse reaction I had to wood smoke on Christmas, after going for a long bicycle ride, turned out to be the sign that I was about to come down with the flu. Maybe my body responds to respiratory triggers, since the last time I had such a strong reaction to inhaled smoke was at work, when hours of vicarious cigarettes inspired a severe asthma attack that següed seamlessly into pneumonia. Given my medical history in these parts, I was worried that the same thing would happen this time. But I seem to be on the mend, with only slight coughing to bother me at night. This is another indication that the inhaled steroids have made significant inroads in addressing my breathing troubles. Sometimes I berate myself for not starting to use them sooner. Then I remember that I did try them, several times, but had too many side effects or too little improvement. It wasn't until I tried QVAR -- otherwise known as beclomethasone dipropionate HFA -- that I noticed significant positive changes without any negatives I could perceive. I guess matching steroids with patients is still a hit or miss affair. Anyway, this is all by way of reporting that I'm glad to be back here, even if the Live Journal population is sparse at this time of year, and am actually feeling stronger today than I did before coming down with the flu. That may be a function of contrast, since I felt so dreadful right after Christmas, but I'll happily partake of the illusion.