Let’s Talk About Asthma

Hi, guys! This is Brittany, you might know me from Ericka’s posts and this is my first one! Although I would like to just talk to you guys about this being my first post and how I’m happy that we’re getting views, but I have come to talk about something a little more close to my heart. That is…. duh duh duh duh…. my asthmatic life.

Before I begin to jump into the spiel about how I live my life being an asthmatic, I wanted to share a story about my worst asthma attack. This is just to kind of shed some light on how an asthma attack can get for me. I emphasize me because this is only my experience, not everyone else’s. So remember, everyone has different asthma, they have different asthma attacks, their experiences are not mine. I do not speak for all of us, only myself. So here goes.

Last semester is where this attack took place (meaning fall of 2016). I was sitting in my last period class doing my work, because I’m one of those people who do their work until the very last minute of class in hopes of not having homework. So I was doing my work and of course there are other people in the class, some could be considered “popular” if you want to go with a movie view of this. Well, one of them sat in front of. It was a guy and everyone knows how guy’s cologne is. It’s strong, really strong. This guy decided to spray his really strong cologne on himself… in front of me… multiple times. He had to have sprayed it at least five times.

At this point, I’m already reaching into my bag and grabbing my inhaler, hoping that I won’t have to use it, but knowing I will. And I was right. As soon as I sat up in my seat, the wave of scent washed over me and my lungs basically decided to forget to work in that exact moment. I walked over to my teacher and calmly asked to step out into the hall to use my inhaler where a huge whiff of cologne wouldn’t chase it into my lungs. I stood out in the hall for just a second to let the cloud of cologne to pass, and then I went back and sat in my seat. There, I realized that the smell hadn’t gone away and I was still very much at risk of having a worse attack. I put my sleeve over my face in hopes of not getting anymore of the smell, but that failed. One, because having a sleeve over my already sparse oxygen supply certainly didn’t help. And two, because pulling the sleeve away from my face would mean that I would have a lungful of cologne, not air. I texted my mom then to tell her that my attack wasn’t easing up and that I was starting to get really dizzy. Before I could even send my message, my eyes got blurry and I could hardly see.

I stood abruptly and basically crashed through the many desks (and my peers) to get back to my teacher, who I couldn’t see, to tell him I needed to go to the office. He saw from my very unfocused look that I was being completely serious, so he told my friend to go with me to the office to make sure I didn’t pass out in the hall. She helped me to the office and I was lucky to have her because I knew from my weakening legs that I was about done for. When I got to the office, I was told that the nurse was not at school anymore and they needed to call a teacher to help. The secretary took what seemed like ten years to call the teacher and get her to help me. I fell into the chair, my legs finally giving out. Through this all, I was actually pretty calm even though thoughts of my lungs just giving up were racing through my mind. The teacher comes, she realizes that I am in fact about to pass out and asks if I would like to call my mom or the ambulance first. Obviously I chose my mom. I didn’t want to go alone in an ambulance. My mom tells them to have my brother take me home, so I can combat this horrible asthma attack with a hot shower that usually helps. And it did.

The reason that I wanted to share my worst asthma attack story is not to gain pity for how my lungs decide they don’t like me anymore, its because this was preventable. I didn’t have to have an asthma attack had the cologne not been involved. I also don’t blame the guy, though most people would. I forgive him for not knowing that my lungs wouldn’t be able to handle that cologne. I don’t tell people that I have asthma, not because I’m embarrassed or for them to tell me that they’re sorry, I don’t tell people because I don’t want to get sympathy. I actually got yelled at once for informing someone about my asthma, I don’t want that to happen again. Asthma isn’t something that someone needs to hide, you shouldn’t feel like people will yell at you for your asthma. So remember, you don’t know who has what, if you feel like someone with normal lungs wouldn’t be able to handle this smell or whatever, simply don’t use it. You don’t know if they have asthma, allergies, migraines, what have you.

But anyway, to the guy with the cologne, I forgive you. How could you have known? I didn’t tell you, though I’m sure everyone in the class that knew told you afterwards, you couldn’t have known. So I forgive you.

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