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The Friends That Make It All Better

Living with chronic illness is hard. Things such as daily maintenance, physical limitations, and frequent appointments can get in the way of living a normal life, especially as a young adult in college.

The typical stories you hear are how isolating asthma can be based on all the aforementioned barriers, but I want to switch the narrative a bit here.

Yes, having a chronic lung disease is challenging for all parties involved, but it can be eased so tremendously with the help of a few friends. Let me tell you some stories of the people who have made this journey even just a little bit easier for me.

Support from my high school friends

My last 2.5 years of high school and into my first semester of college, I was a regular in the hospital, having a long admission every 3-6 months. Hospitals are lonely places, even with frequent drop-ins from all the clinical staff. Over time, some of my more 'acquaintance' level friends began to trickle off, and my social circle had closed in a bit from all the time spent admitted.

Nonetheless, I could always count on 2 friends. These 2 would always show up; they would bring homework, a sweet treat that would not be nearly as delicious if it came from the hospital cafeteria, or my favorite clearance flowers. Better yet, they brought me their company and support. These 2 friends would spend hours with me, even in silence but for the sound of my continuous albuterol, providing their support by just being there. I would not have made it through the worst days in the hospital without their visits.

College friends

My freshman year of college, I sought out a pulmonologist who was located closer to me. With my regular pulmonologist almost 2 hours away from campus, I knew I needed someone who I could check in with if I needed help.

Seeing new providers always makes me anxious, and I struggle sometimes to advocate for myself. One of my new friends whom I had only met a month prior offered to go with me.

Leading up to the appointment, she researched my medications, my conditions, and prepared herself for any and all questions we might need to ask. She spoke up for me in the visit when I was not comfortable speaking up myself, and ultimately made it significantly more productive.

My sophomore year of college has so far been riddled with lung flare-ups. As you can imagine, dorms are not conducive to the plethora of medical equipment I have to exist with. Many of my 'optional' treatments that tremendously help my lungs have been on the back burner since August due to my inability to maneuver everything around so I could study, keep my refrigerator on, AND do airway clearance.

One Friday night around 11 PM, my lungs were throwing a fit. My friend - who thankfully loves to organize - took it upon herself to rearrange my entire room so I could reach my nebulizer and airway clearance device easier. About 2 hours later, I was breathing better all thanks to the help of a friend who truly cared.

The importance of support from friends in my asthma journey

These individuals have meant the world to me in my asthma journey. Chronic illness is challenging, but is so much more manageable with the support of some really good friends.

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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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