Did Childhood Asthma Mess Up My Adulthood?
I was born in 1970. This was a time when there were asthma medicines, but nothing that helped me. So I suffered from severe asthma for most of my childhood. The question I pose today is: Did having poorly controlled asthma as a child affect my adult life?
And I am inclined to answer with a big fat “YES!”
Just a quick note: I am known for writing about how asthma's been a silver lining in my life. I have had it since birth, and dealing with it pushed me to adapt. I would often be stuck indoors due to it. But that gave me time to read and learn – a blessing in disguise. Plus, my asthma led me to connect with respiratory therapists, shaping my current role as one.
That said, I am all about keeping it real. As I look back on my life, it is clear how wrestling with bothersome asthma and unruly allergies as a kid has left a mark on my adult journey. So, grant me this one post to offer you a few illustrative examples.
Skills gap: Asthma's impact on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects
When it comes to DIY projects, there is a host of tasks that simply elude my abilities. Tearing down old paneling, putting up drywall, and navigating cramped ceilings to fix pipes in my aging house are just a few examples. While it's tempting to point to my asthma or allergies as the culprit, that narrative doesn't hold true anymore. With my asthma now well controlled, what truly hinders me is a noticeable skills gap.
But what exactly is this skills gap? Reflecting on the past, my dad earnestly attempted to impart various household skills to his children, including me. However, these efforts were repeatedly hindered by my severe asthma and allergies. As a result, the expertise necessary for adult projects never took root. While I have come a long way in managing my asthma and allergies, the expertise and confidence required to tackle these challenges remain absent.
Career path considerations
During my high school years, my asthma remained frustratingly uncontrolled. This pretty much ruled out the military, a path my younger brother chose. Consequently, my father dissuaded me from pursuing jobs that might expose me to asthma triggers, effectively ruling out avenues like the family car business, as well as factory or carpentry work. Instead, he steered me toward a college education and the prospect of an office job with a controlled indoor environment.
As the pioneer in my family to pursue higher education, I embarked on this journey with limited guidance. While my parents cheered me on, their familiarity with college life was scarce, leaving me to tackle challenges on my own. I made a few missteps on the way. For instance, my first degree choice never panned out, and neither did my second. However, I eventually settled on respiratory therapy.
A downside here is by the time I started a full-time job I was 30, a decade after my younger brothers' retirement savings had begun. Consequently, I am set to work longer than them. My younger brother has already retired, and I have another 10 or so years before I can do the same. Thankfully (and here’s the optimist in me) I have a job I truly enjoy.
Keeping this section concise, in just this month, I have shelled out $650 for health-related bills. A substantial $250 of that sum was solely for my asthma medications.
So, even if I possessed the confidence to take on house projects, the financial aspect remains a barrier. Similarly, due to my lack of DIY skills, I was compelled to purchase a house with pre-completed projects. This decision inflated my current house expenses far beyond what they would be if I could handle these tasks on my own.
Do you think your childhood asthma impacted your adulthood?
That was me opening up. This post is a departure from my usual upbeat tone. But this gives me a chance to be candid and vulnerable – a position I would prefer not to be in. But, then again, sharing our personal experiences is a good way of helping others who are in a similar boat.
What about you? Did your asthma start in your childhood? Do you think your childhood-onset asthma impacted your adult life? Please share your story in the comments below.
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