Business Trip With Asthma: "Is That Sound an Inhaler?"
On a recent business trip with a newer team of colleagues, I found myself in that slightly awkward position of sharing a hotel room with one. In most organizations, you do get your own room for overnight trips. I am sure that some of the Human Resources specialists out there may be able to provide more information on the legalities of these arrangements. The reality was that we were going to need to share a room. We know each other a little bit, however we have never really discussed my asthma or medications that I need to take. There is still a bit of a stigma with people taking medications. There really should not be as many people take meds for all sorts of reasons.
Nightly routine for asthma
After a long day of meetings, I desperately wanted to just jump in the shower and decompress for a while. My colleague and I headed up to our assigned room and decided to relax and debrief on our day before getting ready for bed. It felt like we were at summer camp, sharing a room or a bunk with someone that you did not know very well and having to navigate nighttime routines. If you have ever been on business trip in a commuter suburb or a major city, you know that the hotel room walls tend to be thin. It was my turn to get ready for bed and I began my nightly routine: shower, washing my face, the gentle application of anti-aging cream. Then it was time to take my trio of inhalers. I exhaled deeply and I wondered if they could hear me through the walls, did they think I was taking any prescribed drugs with all those inhales? I quickly banished these thoughts from my head and kept on with my nightly routine.
Why do we worry about informing others of our asthma?
On my way home from the meetings, I was giving some more thought to why I was so nervous about letting this person know that I had asthma and that I had a medication routine to keep me afloat. It was not my first time navigating asthma in the workplace, and the particulars of my job are about empowering people. Why was I being such a wimp about this? After a bit of reflection, I have chalked this up to my competitive spirit and the fact that I did not want this person to think that I could not achieve my goals because I was chronically ill. I realized that I was just scared and that if I can advocate for myself in different arenas of life, then I can certainly navigate an overnight stay. It did draw light to the fact that you may not want to tell your colleagues until you feel that you have a "safe" or comfortable relationship with them. It became obvious that I had not yet built a trusting relationship with my colleague, mostly because we do not work with each other that often. I have to admit this is the most time that I have spent with them and I really appreciated getting to know them better. Next time, we may have a discussion about my asthma.
How does your asthma change with the seasons?