a man to the left is writing. the same man to the right is woodworking

What If I Never Had Asthma? What Would My Life Be Like? 

Last updated: March 2021

“If you had one wish, would you wish you never had asthma?”

I have been asked this question, or some version of it, many times in my life. I have been consistent in my answer: “No, I love my life the way it is. I love what I have become. I love that I am able to impact people through my job as a respiratory therapist and asthma advocate. Changing anything from my past would make me not me.”

My son even said to me once, (I am paraphrasing here): “Dad, I am impressed. You were asked that question many times and in many different ways. And you never caved. You consistently said you would not want to live without asthma.”

So, for the sake of discussion, let us accept the premise. Allow me to make a wish and go back to when I was a baby. Let’s make it so I never had asthma.

How would my life be different?

What if, as a child...

  • Adults smoked around me and it caused me no trouble whatsoever.
  • I was exposed to dust mites and mold spores and no changes were made to my genes because I do not have asthma genes.
  • I played with my brothers in the basement. We set up forts in the basement with old musty blankets. I was able to play all day. We had a blast. During the summer months, we had a baseball field in our backyard.
  • I got a chance to play every day and got pretty decent at hitting and fielding.
  • In little league, the other kids cheered when I made a great catch. They cheered when I got the game-winning hit.
  • I was not popular at school, but at least I fit in.

What if, as a teen...

  • My dad took me with him when he did repairs on his apartments, so I developed some basic carpentry skills.
  • In high school, I was offered a cigarette and developed a smoking habit.
  • I did not smoke regularly, but on special occasions, I’d have a smoke with the guys.
  • At the cabin, I’d light up an annual cigar and enjoy the sweet taste and smell.
  • I did not do well in school. I would rather be out doing things like sledding, riding my bike, or whatever kids do for fun. I’d much rather be outside smoking with the kids on the smoking hill by the high school.
  • After high school, I got a job working at my dad’s car lot. The redolent smell of grease, oil, and exhaust was barely noticeable.

What if, as an adult...

  • After I graduated I did not go to college. Instead, I got a job at a factory in town.
  • When I was 23 my brother talked me into being a corrections officer. I hated that job, but a bonus is you get to retire early. My brother is retiring next year. I get to retire in a few years.
  • As an adult, I am able to do my own handiwork. I never missed hunting camp. In fact, dad bought me a bow and arrow and thought me to hunt. To this day I am an avid deer hunter.
  • In my early 20s, I decided I wanted to make my own furniture. So I bought the materials I needed. I enjoy the smell of fresh wood and sawdust to this day. Today I make furniture for fun. Sometimes I give it away to people in need. Sometimes I sell it to make money on the side. This is my future retirement job.
  • The smoking caught up with me and my doctor told me to quit.
  • My kids ask me if I wished I had never smoked. I am consistent with my response. I said, "I would rather have a short life doing the things I enjoy than a long life not being able to do things I enjoy doing.”

Looking at that life makes me wonder.

My life would not be what it is today

  • I would not have spent time in hospitals.
  • I would not have met so many great nurses and respiratory therapists.
  • I would not have spent time reading and writing.
  • I would not have fallen in love with writing.
  • I would not have become a respiratory therapist (RT)
  • I would not have started my blog Respiratory Therapy Cave.
  • I would not have become an asthma writer and advocate.
  • I would not have influenced so many people as an RT and asthma advocate
  • I would not have gotten to know so many of the great people I met in this version of life.
  • I would not have been hired by Asthma.net to do this.

Given the choice, I choose my asthma life. What about you. If you had a wish, would you wish you did not asthma? Or would you choose to keep your life the way it is? Let us know in the comments below.

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