From Either Side of the Asthma World

October 2, 2009

(Thanks Kerri)
Not too long ago, I was part of the outer world. This outer world is a place where every breath comes easily, and you’ll cough and sneeze and sniffle your way through a cold, complaining all the while about how sick you are. The outer world is a place where you can run out of your house, go for a run, and come back a little tired, but after about five minutes, you’ll be no worse for the wear. The outer world is also the place where asthma is just a blue inhaler. That’s all you ever see, right? The blue inhaler. You don’t even know what it’s called, but, you know people with that foreign, but common and controllable lung disease called asthma take them from time to time to help them breathe.

Now I am in a world that coexists with the outer world. It is separate, but mingles with this world in a way that only a subset of people can understand. I am no different, but at the same time, I am different in one way, that is very small and very large at the same time.

My name is Kerri, and I’m a university student in Canada, studying Education and human development. And, like 1 in 10 people in my country, on a daily basis, I deal with asthma.

Okay, one in ten people? Makes you think you’re in good company, right? But when you’re one persistent asthmatic in a sea of intermittent asthmatics, the world seems very different. Thinking of my friends from high school who have asthma, only one is on control medications, and is very well controlled on FloVent. Two of the other ones rarely even have Ventolin with them.

When I was diagnosed? I thought it wouldn’t bee too difficult. The doctor had told me; “Take some Ventolin, you’ll be fine!”. Several months later of taking 6-8 puffs of Ventolin a day, I embarked on the journey of control medications. And seriously? Sitting among your fellow asthmatics with your Symbicort and your Singulair and your Ventolin and AeroChamber and Benadryl and Reactine and peak flow meter in your bag, when they don’t even have a Ventolin in their pocket? Gets frustrating—especially when things aren’t working, and you just watch your intermittent asthmatic friends run around (and occasionally borrow your Ventolin, because theirs is lost/expired/at home) without a second thought given to their breathing because they flare so infrequently they don’t have to think about it, is hard. (Okay, I’m not ragging on the intermittent asthmatics, okay? I’m happy that their asthma is so well controlled so easily. Keep reading, you’ll see what I mean). It’s WAY harder than looking at the people with good lungs do it. Because you, at this point, start to wonder “Okay, what am I doing wrong? Why am I on all this medication, and still feeling like crap? Why are my lungs so touchy?”

So, you search for someone who gets you. And in this day and age, you probably ended up on Google, because, let’s face it; we think it can solve every problem we face in life. Well, not quite, but it can at least give us some answers.

And maybe Google ended up bringing you into a place where the outer world of the Internet grabbed you, and sucked you into this new inner world, full of people like you. People who not only know what an AeroChamber is, but actually use one, too. People who know that a peak flow under 80% is called the “yellow zone”. And, people who, at times, are as frustrated by asthma as you are, or even more-so. And they GET IT. They share frustration with you when things get rough, and elation with you when you’ve been breathing well, whether it’s been for an hour, a week, or a month. And some of them are the best of both worlds, and are both asthmatics AND medical professionals, specifically respiratory therapists.

After awhile, these people become more than blog readers, or blog writers, or twiends (twitter friends), or people you touch base with on social networking sites. They become a community. If you are going through a bad patch, they post comments on your blog, and send you e-mails and tell you to get on MSN so you can vent to them and they can know what’s up, or pop up on your Facebook chat, or Gmail chat. The link is formed because of asthma, but goes so much deeper so that you know their major in university, or their goals, or even their siblings names. You become friends.

We become friends because we deal with a frustrating lung disease on a daily basis. We stay friends because we begin to genuinely care about each other. I feel blessed to be a part of this awesome community of awesome people who just happen to have lungs who are anywhere from a little to a lot crazier than “normal” . . . And some of us? Even without asthma, we’d be a little or a lot crazier than “normal”, too!

(Also, I want to thank Morgan for inviting me to guest post here on From Either Side of the Gurney—thanks, Morgan! Oh, and see how I played on Morgan’s blog title? I suck at coming up with titles, that’s why I played off of hers . . .)

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3 Responses to “From Either Side of the Asthma World”

  1. […] post over on her blog “From Either Side of the Gurney“, which was posted today!  Go check it out, and check out Morgan’s other entries! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The […]

  2. danielle10 said

    Love it! This is a nice post Kerri! And all too true!!

  3. Elisheva said

    Nice to meet you, Morgan!

    Nice post, Kerri! i was reading it and at certain points, I was like “hey! that’s me!” 🙂 Woohoo!

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