While the reality is that I wish nobody had to deal with asthma, since that’s not happening any time soon, it is awesome to have friends who understand the asthma part of your life. Yesterday, my friend Jessica and I parted ways in Winnipeg airport after a weeklong adventure in Southern Alberta. Jessica headed off to her connecting flight to Toronto (why Google Flights even presented her a non-direct flight option from Calgary I’m not sure, but that’s beside the point), and i headed down the escalator to baggage claim. As I wrote in Finding Your People, most discussions Jessica and I had over the week had nothing at all to do with asthma, but, when it happened, it happened, and it was normal. This is why having asthma rocks.So, yeah, sure we have discussions on what meds we’re on, and compare and contrast, and throw out a random asthma memory if the moment calls for it. Yeah, we can borrow each other’s nebulizer tubing if we happen to get to Denver without it (thanks, Steve and Dia). Yeah, we can make offhanded comments like “I love that I can cough and you know I’m not plagued,” and the other person actually laughs. And if we’re sensitive to everything in the air known to man? Chances are the other person—if they’re not, too—actually gets it. They notice the ridiculous air freshener the hotel used, or the candle aisle you’re trying to avoid, or the person drenched in perfume at another table at a conference, or all the bus people, or the people smoking pot openly outside the Tragically Hip Kingston show stream (all true stories that have occurred with one friend or another who also has asthma). Often, we need only a bit of a sideways glance and a slight eye-roll to communicate our intolerance to the triggers around us (although, in many cases, there isn’t too far to run away—subway or Vancouver SkyTrain, my friends?).The fact that wordy explanations are usually unneeded, or that people with asthma don’t even look twice when you take out your bag of inhalers and stuff in the hotel room you’re sharing, is refreshing. They get it, and you get them. Our asthma might be different—especially given how non-allergic I am most of the time, and how allergies are so common among people with asthma—but that doesn’t stop us from understanding each other. This is why having friends with asthma rocks. Because we can move on to other things, but also—often—teach one another something about navigating life with asthma on the journey.I find spending time with my friends with asthma refreshing, to say the least. Usually, at least to some small extent, I can feel different from others when I have to make sure I have my inhaler with me when I leave the house, or when I’m throwing an extra inhaler in my bag because I’m going to be out all day, or when I'm packing all kinds of meds to go away for just one night or ten. It isn’t all about asthma—it shouldn’t be. But, sometimes we all need a little press of the refresh button, to make ourselves care a bit more about our asthma, ourselves—we can do this, and we don’t have to do asthma alone.
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