I likely won’t be able to fit everthing I have to say in this post, so be aware, there may be a cliffhanger. For those of you who aren’t so clear on what this is about, here’s a fairly stock definition of asthma:
Asthma [original article] is a predisposition to chronic inflammation of the lungs in which the airways (bronchi) are reversibly narrowed. Asthma affects 7% of the population of the United States, and 300 million worldwide. During asthma attacks (exacerbations of asthma), the smooth muscle cells in the bronchi constrict, the airways become inflamed and swollen, and breathing becomes difficult.
I usually shy away from using Wikipedia as a definitive source, but in this case, the information is pretty much all someone needs to know, unless they have the disease. Like I do. Here’s some more.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines asthma as a common chronic disorder of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (bronchospasm), and an underlying inflammation.
The article goes on, but I’ve linked, so I won’t. This is about me. I was diagnosed with this disease before I have living memory. I’m aware of it not being at birth, that it developed sometime before – or shortly enough after my earliest memories in Launceston, Australia while my family was there during a teacher-exchange my father was on- for it not to matter. I’ve been like this my whole life.
Asthma is a frightening illness. It trains its sufferers into a mindset of apathy, acceptance and immediate mediocrity. Don’t bother with sports, you won’t excel. Don’t worry about staying fit, it doesn’t do much good. Stay in the middle of the pack, that’s where the sick animals live; you never get the best, but the system protects you from the worst, because you’re broken. Oh, and if the attack’s badenough (and there’s absolutely no way to tell which one might be) expect to suddenly, no matter how fit you are, suffocate and perhaps die. Having been through a few ‘training’ courses during my life, I know they’re about as reassuring as a terminal illness support group.
It’s so much bullshit.
Throughout the week, I’m going to talk a bit about my history with the medical system and how it affected me growing up;
I’m going to explain what an actionable event is and what shackles are;
I’ll go through a few examples of best practices for coping, both for the asthmatic and their partners;
I’ll also talk a bit about why I don’t contribute to research, and where I stand on public views on asthma. I’ll drop some links for helpful resources, and sum-up the posts, hopefully getting to my point.
If you have in your immediate circle anyone who suffers (or copes with) this illness, I’ll try my best to make this worth both of your time to read. I’d also appreciate any perspective from other asthmatics out there, as I know my perspective is limited to first-hand experience.
I’m asking for perspective here, mind. I’m not looking for sympathy here; I’ve long since made my peace with this.