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Karen S

Wow, where to begin? I will start with my being a young kid. I grew up with parents that smoked cigarettes till there were smoke clouds in our house, and to breathe I had to get on the floor since the smoke rises. I remember being in elementary school, and there would be men there removing asbestos.

My dad was an engineer that worked with ammonia systems, so I was exposed to that chemical as well. I also remember being in school trying to play in my PE class and becoming so out of breath that it was hard to breathe. Sadly, no one paid it any attention.

As a young 20 something, I continued to have breathing issues and was diagnosed with asthma. Now as a 50-year-old, my asthma is severe.  I just spent three days in the hospital not too long ago. 

Through the years I have been exposed to pollution, smoke, chemicals, and pollen as have many Americans. But what I absolutely cannot understand is how politicians think it is okay to turn down bills that will make breathing easier. How as an educated country can we sit back and let our children and grandchildren breathe things we know are going to eventually debilitate them?

As an American citizen that suffers daily from breathing issues, which are no fault of my own, how can we not help our own people? 

I have gone from using 54% to only using 26% of my lungs without medications. With medications, I use about 68%. I follow and take my medicine as directed with little relief as my asthma is severe. Imagine if you will, waking up at all hours feeling like you are drowning in your own fluids due to post nasal drip; constantly coughing up gunk; always feeling exhausted due to lack of oxygen; having to watch and dream of being able to participate in things like playing baseball with your grandkids; and struggling to get up and go to work to make ends meet all the while hoping your job will understand your absenteeism. Then, pretend someone starts to strangle the life out of you bit by bit. This is what having asthma is like for me on a daily basis. 

And yet politicians put air quality on the back burner. How can they? It may be your mom, kid, or grandkid that the smog, or other breathing annoyances get to. Do you want them going through this? Do you want them to suffer? Just think about your vote before you put it on the back burner!

First published: June 27, 2019

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