Sunday, September 4, 2011


Asthma (from the Greek άσθμα, ásthma, "panting") is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm.[1] Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath (Wikipedia)
Asthma = elephant sitting on your chest
I have had asthma for as long as I can remember. I think I was diagnosed when I was around 6 months old. My mama said I had started turning blue. Imagine being 18 and trying to figure out what's wrong with your baby and knowing that she can't breath.
From that point on until I turned 15, I would spend a part of almost every month in the hospital. I have no idea how my parents manage to pay my doctor or hospital bills. I do know my doctor was an incredible family friend, Dr. Gene E. Crick. I will always be grateful to him. I would eventually go to school with his oldest son and work for him during the summer when I was in college.
When you suffer an acute asthmatic attack and live 30 minutes from the hospital, you feel like you are going to die every time. It seems I would always awaken around 2 am. I would walk to my parents' room and tell them I couldn't breath. Events would then goes as follows:
Call Dr. so he could call the ER.
Call Grandma so she could come sit with baby sister.
All this while parents get dressed.
Rush to Greenwood-Leflore Hospital ER
Get a "bee-sting" a shot of susphrine.
Every 3rd visit or so, I would be admitted to the 4th floor, pediatric, for a few days under the oxygen tent and breathing treatments.
They would wheel in this 4' tall 2' wide machine with a plastic tent that had a zipper. It was really cold underneath there but it worked a miracle. I could breath again. Nothing like cold saturated oxygen to shrink your bronchial tubes.
When I was older my mama and daddy would go to work during the day, but Nurse Haybig was always there to make sure I was OK. She worked 7 am - 3 pm and checked on me before she left work every day. During one of my visits I had this really mean night nurse, I told Nurse Haybig about it and I didn't have to see that mean ole nurse again.
There were a few perks to having to stay in the hospital. A new word search book, cheese and crackers from the vending machine and a Napco head vase arrangement. Sure wish I still had those ladies. They are quite collectible. The cheese and crackers were my favorite, you know the kind with the captain's wafers and spreadable cheese with the little red spreader?
Anyway, this was my life for pretty much the first 14 years. As I approached high school the attacks came less frequent which in itself is a miracle since both my parents smoked and I lived in the middle of the Mississippi Delta, surrounded by soy bean and cotton fields. I was also allergic to EVERYTHING and I do mean everything.
When I was five I went to Jackson for allergy testing. Out of the 100 scratches on my back I was allergic to 98. The only 2 non-allergens were meat and potatoes. We stayed at the Admiral Benbow Inn across the street. When you're five that is a high class hotel. I remember my daddy read me a Bugs Bunny book while the allergens were working and I had to blow my nose into wax paper. Even at five, that is just gross.
So being allergic to practically the entire world, living with smokers and in the Delta it a wonder I wasn't sicker.

No comments:

Post a Comment