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Jacob D., KS

I was born an asthmatic in the summer of 1981. Fighting for air was a constant struggle. My mother had many ways of helping me through my attacks as a child. I remember those times like they were yesterday, and I am positive that you would also remember a time you could not breathe if it happened to you.

There were good days and bad days, but one of those days sticks out most for me. I was playing hard outside with friends when I had a serious asthma attack. When I came inside, it did not take long for my mother to get anxious about the situation. We did not have any medication, so we had to use a home remedy.

Helping me into the bathroom, my mother turned the hot water on in the shower. She grabbed a small chair and placed it on the opposite side of where the shower head was spraying. The steam from the hot water quickly filled the small bathroom as I sat down in the chair. I then crouched forward in a fetal position, per my mother's instructions. Thirty to forty minutes later, the hot water was gone, the steam from the shower began to dissipate, and I was feeling better. For the rest of that day, I took it easy.

By the time I was a senior in high school, I had visited the emergency room three times for asthma related attacks. Every time I went, I had to stay for at least five days of observation, which included having a breathing treatment administered every two hours in addition to being hooked up to an IV with an anti-inflammatory steroid solution.

After 30 years, I am still dealing with my asthma on a daily basis. I take a prescription preventative twice a day, and sometimes, I still need my rescue inhaler. When I walk past people smoking, I get angry and tend to make ugly faces at the person who is being self-destructive and at the same time ruining my air quality. I drive by smokestacks bellowing their thick clouds of pollution into the air, and I feel sick. I just want to breathe. How can anyone take that from me?

First published: December 15, 2011

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