It’s Okay To Remind People You Have Asthma
I have allergies and asthma. I had it horribly bad as a kid. Mom sat with me hundreds of times in doctor’s offices. Dad drove me to ERs so many times I can’t even count. And, I will say it here, I still have to remind them sometimes I have it. And I’m fine with it. And they’re fine with it.
If you don’t have it, you forget.
It’s no knock on the other person. It’s just the way our minds work. If you don’t have it, you’re wired to think everyone can breathe normally like you. It’s just the way it is. Same thing with allergies.
So, the kids and I had a weekend off. We thought it would be neat to spend a few nights at grandma and grandpas (mom and dads). The kids were off playing. Mom, dad, and I were sitting at the bar in the kitchen. We were bantering about the old days.
At some point the conversation, as it so often does, segued to the weather. On this particular day, it was 90 degrees with 80% humidity. It was hot. The air was stale and heavy.
Mom (a great asthma mom, by the way) said, “It seems like every time you come here it’s scorching hot. I think you and the kids should sleep in the basement. It’s nice and cool down there. I think that would be perfect for you.”
This triggered a rash of horrible asthma memories. That basement down there started many of my worse asthma attacks when I was a kid. It’s dusty and musty down there, as many basements are. We often would play. This would stir up those invisible dust mites.
They never bothered my brothers. The invisible dust mites, I’m talking about. But, for me, inhaling those buggers triggered horrible asthma attacks. I’m talking type #1 here: the kind where it feels you can only take in half a breath if that. They were horrible.
Sometimes I dealt with them on my own. But, so many times mom or dad drove me to the local emergency room. One of them would sit with me for hours. That was long ago. But, those same triggers are down there. Even though my asthma is 100% better controlled now, I certainly don’t want to take any risks.
So, a friendly reminder is in order.
I smoothly said, “Mom, that basement triggered some of my worse asthma attacks when I was a kid. I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“The basement?” She paused, as though pondering what I had said. “Oh, yeah, I can’t believe I forgot,” mom said. “Well, you can sleep in your old room.”
It didn’t bother me that mom forgot. It didn’t bother mom that I reminded her. And I do think it was right by me to remind her.
I have learned, by my own experiences, that it’s okay to remind people you have asthma.
My dad’s (a great asthma dad, by the way) not off the hook either. He forgets probably more so than mom. But, a friendly reminder now and again is needed. For instance, dad smoked cigarettes back in the day. One day he lit up while I was in the car.
“Dad,” I said, “Um, did you forget I have asthma.”
“That’s okay, the window is open. I’ll let the smoke go out the window.”
“Dad!!! I can still smell it in the car.”
“Oh!” dad said, putting out his cigarette.
It didn’t bother me that dad forgot. It didn’t bother dad that I reminded him. And I do think it was right by me to remind him.
Of course, I’m putting my parents on the spot here. I hate to do this. But, this is a teaching moment.
My brothers aren’t off the hook either. They saw me struggle when I was a kid. They know I have allergies. They know I have asthma. But, they too sometimes forget. And, when the need arises, they get a friendly reminder as appropriate.
No big deal. No offense taken.
I have never run into a problem when I've reminded people.
Most days it doesn’t matter if people forget. Most days I don’t need to remind people. But, sometimes the need arises. Sometimes people need a friendly reminder. And, it’s my job to remind them. Why? Because we asthmatics are our own best advocates. I am my own best advocate.
You are your own best advocate. Do you ever find you have to remind people? Let us know in the comments below.
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