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How Is Your Asthma These Days?

I attended a funeral. After the funeral, it was a nice meal. My cousin Keane was there. I hadn’t seen him since 2010. I sat with him and we had a nice talk. The conversation started by him saying, “So, how’s your asthma these days? I remember you had it real bad as a kid.”

A lot of people knew about my asthma

It’s impressive how many people knew about my asthma as a kid. Keane is a few years older than me. He was in the group of cousins I played with during family gatherings. We also both attended hunting camp together when we were kids. But, he’s not necessarily someone I saw a lot. The fact that he knew how bad my asthma was is certainly telling.

Last summer I visited my parents. They still live in the house I grew up in. I walked to see their neighbor, Gary. Gary lived next door when I was a kid. But, he was one of the older kids I didn’t know very well. Then he built a house just down the hill from our house and the house he grew up in. Still, he wasn’t someone I saw very often. And then I grew up and moved away.

So, here I was meeting him for the first time in many years. And, the first question he asked was, “So, how is your asthma these days?”

So, I must have had it pretty bad. The first thing people think to ask after not seeing me in a while is about my asthma. As an asthma blogger and nerd, this question is right up my alley. A great conversation starter as far as I’m concerned.

And I did have bad asthma as a kid

I usually say I’m doing great. Thanks to modern asthma wisdom, I am doing great. I have pretty good asthma control. I still have issues from time to time, but nothing compared to when I was a kid.

Today, talking to Keane, I impressed myself with my answer.

I explained my asthma then vs. now

“Yeah, I had it really bad in the 1980s. This was during the asthma epidemic of the 70s and 80s. Regional doctors didn’t know how to help asthmatics like me. So, we’d be sent to asthma research hospitals. That’s why I was sent to the asthma hospital in Denver, Colorado (Read “My Pithy Asthma Story“). This was where all the asthma research was done. So doctors there had access to all the best asthma wisdom.

“In the late 1980s, all these research doctors got together. They created asthma guidelines. They educated regional doctors with all the best asthma wisdom. And, gradually, the asthma epidemic ended. Today, most regional doctors are fully capable of helping their asthmatic patients.

“So, in 1995 I decided to become a respiratory therapist. I figured I’d be able to take care of many kid asthmatics like I once was. I figured I’d have plenty of empathy for them. But, by the time I got my first job as a respiratory therapist, the asthma epidemic was done. Today, most asthmatics like me are able to obtain good control of their asthma.”

How is your asthma today vs your asthma as a kid?

I had really bad asthma as a kid, and everyone knew I had it. I was so bad it made quite an impression on everyone who knew me. This was true of my relatives. It was also true of my fellow classmates and friends. It was true of others in the circle around me.

When I see people I haven’t seen in a while, I often get that question: “So, how is your asthma these days?”

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