Asthma is a disease of never feeling like you can inhale enough when all you need to do is breathe out.
A bronchodilator temporarily reduces inflammation, therefore allowing exhales to proceed as they would in an asthma-free body. Or, as close as possible to that type of unfettered breathing I’ve never known.
Sometimes it doesn’t work right away, and I take another puff, but never more than two. I call them puffs, the doctor calls them puffs. Puffs of medicinal vapour.
I use to puff cigarettes and marijuana and say things like, I really shouldn’t do this cause of my asthma. I don’t think anyone ever believed me–believed that I have asthma. They’d say, oh yeah, or you have asthma? or just start talking about something else, as if it wasn’t serious. No one ever said, what’s that like? or What should i do if you have an attack? They just went on worrying about themselves and their cigarette and getting high.
I liked that because it allowed me to disassociate from lung diseases. I stopped filling my prescription. I started proceeding as if my exhales were sufficient.
And then I had an attack, and another attack, and another. And I wondered why this pretend disease was withholding. As I’ve learned from Cheryl Strayed, withholding is its own form of toxic control, a symptom of fear and power and shame. Withholding is not so much a disease but causes disease and in this particular situation, the disease is Asthma.
I need my exhales.
I exhale things like CO2 and grief and yeah, I exhale you. Who I inherited this disease from. Every time I face my asthma and my allergies, I face you as well. Mom’s bronchial tubes only swell when she’s experiencing her chronic pneumonia, which I think you gave to her, too, but in a different sort of strange traumatic osmosis.
No matter the outcome of everything, no matter the work I do to heal, I am still left with my Asthma and the memories of you.
Inherit (v) to receive or be left with