Saturday, June 19, 2010

Playing the game

I'm sure anyone who has asthma, including you, has heard of the game of asthma. The game, as I define it, goes something like this: You do what you can to be normal, and take the risk that you will be normal in the process.

The risks involved: the allergy and asthma beast might find you.

As much as we like to say it doesn't happen, asthma and allergies can and do effect our lives. Not as though it's that big a deal, but my mother invited me to spend the night at her home so all of her children could be together for one night.

In theory that would be awesome. It would be like old times. Actually, it would be like new times since we didn't sit and drink wine, whiskey and beer with mom and dad when we were kids, yet mom and dad and we kids are like chums now-a-days. It's neat how that happens.

I remember dad telling me that his best friend in his adulthood was none other than his own dad. They shared a business together, golfed together, and hung out together. It's just neat to come to the realization that the same has happened between me and my parents.

Yet just the thought of spending the night at my mother's home brings back memories of back when my asthma was not in control, and I'd wake up at night sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. It wasn't until I went to college and only had trouble on the weekends when I returned home for the weekend that I caught on that I just might be allergic to my mom's house.

So however nice it would be to be normal and just pack up my kids and go to mom's house, I don't think it's going to happen. I think it would be better just to stay home and sit out on the neighbor's back porch socializing and then return to my own bed when it's time.

We asthma experts often say that if you have your asthma under control you should be able to live a normal active life. Actually that's not totally true. You will have to make sacrifices. You will, as in the case with me, have to choose between whether you want to take risks or whether you want to stay in the confines of your own allergy proof home.

I think it was Bill Clinton who coined the phrase, "It depends on what the definition of is is." I think in the asthma world the correct phrase would be: "It depends on what the definition of normal is." What is normal?

To a male in my family, normal is socializing. Normal is sitting among friends, smoking a cigarette, and having a few drinks. Normal is packing up your things and visiting your brother when the opportunity strikes. Normal is playing sports. Normal is working in a factory, or in a car lot redolent of gas fumes, or....

So, after the lifestyle change that was necessary to get my asthma under control, what I have here in the blogosphere is the new normal. Yet it's not the normal. I'm happy and content in my new home, tucked in with my wife and kids, yet it would be even better if I could leave on a whim without having to worry about dust mites, and molds, and "do I have enough ventolin."

In a way it kind of sucks. It would be nice just to drop what I'm doing on a dime and just go somewhere. Yet when you have asthma, and worse allergies, you often have to think twice.

Unless you enjoy playing the game. The game, however, got old for me. I played it for many years, and I tired of it.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like me with visiting my parents' place! They've got pretty much everything I'm allergic to in a 1.75 acre property, and so when I visit, it's not a question of if I flare as how badly I flare. Unfortunately, right now, it's a delicate balancing act because they take it personally when I'm reluctant to visit, and I haven't figured out how to say "your property makes me sick" without seeming like I'm trying to insult them.

    Like you, at my parents' house, "normal" is letting the dogs or cats curl up on your bed at night, "normal" is helping out with the hay, "normal" is feeding the horses when the people who normally feed them are out or turning them out on a nice day. Normal is all kinds of things that can make me all kinds of very sick.

    I'm getting tired of playing the game myself. I just can't stop until I can make them understand that it's not because I don't like them that I haven't visited in six months, it's because I like breathing well, and the disruption to my fragile asthma control that a visit to Mom's wreaks takes months to repair.