As I write this I’m lying on my bed sweating, shaking and gasping for air like a fish out of water. I look like I’ve just finished running a marathon when all I’ve done is walk up stairs to get my phone charger. It feels like my lungs are on fire; I can’t get enough air into them no matter how hard I try.
I don’t even need to have done anything to trigger one some days; I can literally just be sat reading, eating or having a conversation when I have an attack.
I’ve been asthmatic since I was around 7 years old. It started off fairly mild; I could still do day to day things and it would only effect me when I was playing rugby or had to run track in P.E. lessons.
By 11 I was struggling to walk up to school in a morning.
By 18 I was having more bad days than good.
At 24 it’s got to the point where it’s noticeably affecting my day to day life. I can’t walk for long distances, I can’t lift heavy objects and I can’t even go outside when the weather drops below a certain temperature or gets too hot.
More than 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children in the UK are asthmatic and many people end up in hospital with it at some point in their lives. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been able to wait out my attacks and never needed to be rushed through to A&E; but its been a close call on a few occasions.
This list could easily have been 15 pages long but I’ve narrowed it down to the three things I’m sick of being told the I have an asthma attack.
I know people mean well when they say this, but honestly it’s one of the most annoying things you could say.
What do you think I’m going to do?!
Instead of saying this it would be more helpful to ask the person in advance what works for them, so you know what to do if they have an attack around you. Some people find being distracted helpful, others want reassurance and some want to just be left to deal with it themselves. Now obviously this only works if you know the person. If it’s a stranger the best thing you could do is ask them how you can help and don’t leave them alone.
If things get so bad that you’re concerned about them, phone for an ambulance. Asthma is more severe than people seem to realise and can quickly deteriorate; so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
You’re so unfit
No! Just no. I’ve actually had random strangers say this to me when I get short of breath in public places.
When I explained to one guy who did this that I was severely asthmatic, he actually said to me “you don’t look like you have asthma, I think you’re just making that up”…
Why people think it’s acceptable to comment on someone else’s life is beyond me!
You’re just being lazy
This one ties in pretty well with the last one, but I’ve lost count of amount of times I’ve been told I’m lazy for taking the lift rather than the stairs.
Back when I was in college, I had to fight to be allowed to use the lift there. The college had 6 levels and I was all the way up on level 5.
The problem was you could only use the lift if you had a disability and originally they didn’t consider asthma a valid reason to use it.
That all changed after I collapsed after climbing up the 5 flights of stairs. The first aiders had to be called and they demanded that reception add a lift pass to my student card.
If it wasn’t for the fact I couldn’t breath, I’d have happily shouted I told you so at them!
But you were fine yesterday
I’m lucky in that I don’t really get this as much anymore. Mostly because I’ve slowly got rid of anyone in my life who was being negative about my mental or physical health problems. I just don’t have time for it now I have a choice of who’s in my life.
But over the years I’ve heard this plenty of times, especially in school. Some people just don’t seem to get that you can be great one day but hardly able to get out of bed the next.
There’s normally no warning; my lungs can just suddenly decide that they don’t want to work anymore.
Whats the worst thing you’ve ever had said to you about a medical condition?