How Are You?

Over the last few months, I’ve struggled more than normal with trying to quantify and qualify my feelings. How do my lungs feel? Is my nose running? Are allergies running amuck without Montelukast on board? With all these questions of my physical well-being, I would be remiss not to mention how this affects me emotionally.

In March at the Connexion Conference, I was not feeling 100%. I overdid a bit. My soul was so excited to explore Philadelphia during the down times. I burned too much energy off before the conference. I walked miles upon miles seeing the sights. I was fueled by enthusiasm and black tea. I don’t look sick and many days that is true. I bounce along just like any other woman in her late 20’s. Work a full-time job, garden, get some exercise in, and cook a meal or two.

There was some spring missing from my step by the second day of the conference. I put on a strong face, grabbed a London Fog Latte on my way in, to wash down the morning pills. My Ventolin, spacer and I had seen a good deal of each other the previous day. Thankfully, I slept through the night. I was doing ok with just my maintenance meds that morning.

Shared experiences

As I was grabbing some breakfast from the buffet line, I hear a snapping on my right side. I turn around to see Dave Bexfield, from Multiplesclerosis.net. We’d chatted a bit the first day of the conference. In exchanging pleasantries, I say “The conference has been great, but it will be good to be home.”

He nods, giving a knowing look of someone who lives with a chronic condition. We then turn to the very important topic of what food should not be missed from the breakfast spread. It is a breath of fresh air to be among fellow patients who get it. We may not have the exact same struggles, but our experiences are shared.

Knowing I was in safe space I gave a truthful answer. In my daily life sitting in the grellow zone, you’ll probably get a “Good” or “Fine” in answer to how I’m doing. It’s hard to be honest when I’m sitting at the green/yellow line. I don’t feel good but I also don’t feel bad. I struggle with how to explain myself when I’m not talking to someone else with asthma. I’m barely on the edge of a flare. I spend so much time in the green zone I feel way worse than “normal”. I’m blessed to have a baseline level of control that leaves me with few limits on my life.

I know I don’t owe anyone a precise accounting of my current emotional or physical health state. Most people who as how I am are simply being polite and looking to strike up some light-hearted conversation. One of the best things about talking with fellow advocates is that the answer of “I’m not feeling so great” is met with understanding. There may be offers of items to comfort you. These offers come with dignity and respect, not from a place of sympathy. Fellow asthmatics and others with chronic health conditions “get it” and it shows. So, how are you?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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