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Posts Tagged ‘asthma’

A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.  (Alan Kay)

I awaken from a short evening nap on the couch at my brother-in-law’s house. I can’t breathe. One inhalation of albuterol, two. Desperate, wheezy attempts to get air out of my lungs.

“Should I take you to the ER?” my husband asks.

We are six hours from home. The ER could be one mile away or as far away as Mercury. I don’t know. Finally, a pause between coughs. Water. More water.

I decide I will make it through the night. My brother-in-law escorts me to the most efficient air-conditioned room. My sister-in-law sleeps on the floor. I remain in a recliner I can’t adjust with a fractured right hand in a brace. My sister-in-law maneuvers the chair up and down as I need it, even for my nighttime bathroom trips. She needs to leave for work at eight in the morning, yet is willing to help me.

My wheezing doesn’t stop, but it doesn’t reach a critical level. I have no idea how much time lapses between albuterol rescue inhalations.

A frightening scene? Maybe. However, my in-laws are close-by. Jay is in a room next door. Love lives here. It fills me. Night will not give up a single hour of darkness. Yet, light survives. In hearts and minds.

A trip to Urgent Care. Antibiotics. Prednisone. More waiting to be the full me I recognize.

To breathe freely.

To turn the key in my car’s ignition with my right hand.

To sign Stinky, Rotten Threats, Book Two in the Star League Chronicles, now available, with a signature that doesn’t look as if I were pretending to wield an electric saw struck by lightning.  

To cut my own sandwiches.

To celebrate the ordinary.

The magic available in fantasy doesn’t exist on the everyday plane. The magic available inside the human spirit has power. It changes perspective. I’d like to say my IQ is 80 points higher because I learned to accept and appreciate care.

More likely, I’m simply a lot happier.

The same flower, in darkness and in light

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There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day. (Alexander Woollcott) 

Ordinarily quiet and I get along like cake served with ice cream. However, I’d rather be at my aerobics class. Unfortunately, my breathing sounds as if my lungs were tossing pebbles at one another. After a while those pebble turn into stones and they sting. This isn’t the best time for lively exercise. Left kick, right kick, mamba, turn, and wheeze. Besides, my cough could scare off a class of battle-trained marines.

Since the monster wheeze responds only to steroid treatment I am now faced with the steroid monster’s side effects. I have the attention span of a two-year-old who has devoured half a bag of candy, and I probably won’t sleep much for the next twelve days. However, breathing is not generally considered an extra.

Okay, Ter, focus. How can I do that when one-thing-at-a-time feels as possible as collecting a foot of snow in a thimble?

First, drain that coffee and switch to herbal tea for heaven’s sake! Then try one task that requires physical effort—but not too much since my mind may think I’m marathon-ready. My body will balk.

Ah yes, one small section of an untidy cabinet. Face it, girl. Only one portion of cabinet. Slowly. Yeah, I know buzzed-on-prednisone brain, you also want to write an entire synopsis, make your Christmas presents, scrub the floors, finish this blog, annihilate every cob web in the house, and do laundry…all before your husband comes home from that beloved exercise class and the grocery store. Oh, and you will check your e-mail 47 times in between.

Right. Maybe that’s not the most efficient plan.

After that one reorganized section looks decent, I notice there’s a spill in the microwave. My actions snowball, with only one, okay two stops to check e-mail. As I struggle to keep my thoughts under control and lungs working properly, I think about the difficulties other people face. My husband is reading, “The Reason I Jump,” by Naoki Higashida. When Jay is finished he has promised to let me read it. When he comes home from class and the store he tells me he is ready to share the book.

I turn to David Mitchell’s Introduction and I’m lost in words, in pages, in this world opened by a boy born in Japan in 1992. This story explains the autistic world. It isn’t what an observer sees; it is as different as the interior and exterior of a locked cabinet, a wrapped gift, or a capped unlabeled bottle. Seeing the actions of an autistic person doesn’t tell what happens inside.

Day dissolves into dusk and I continue to read, needing to pause once for a drink of water and once for an inhaler break. Naoki answers questions that appear almost rude, with style and grace. He is thirteen. He cannot speak. He uses an alphabet board. Not all autistic people are alike any more than all people are alike.

One experience Naoki relates concerns listening to others instead of looking at them. Eye contact is too overwhelming. He sees with his ears and that is sufficient stimulation. Thanks to Naoki for helping me to focus, using my heart, paying attention to someone else instead of my own petty miseries.

Here is the Amazon link to his incredible and beautiful story: http://www.amazon.com/Reason-Jump-voice-silence-autism-ebook/dp/B00BVJG3CS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384473869&sr=8-1&keywords=the+reason+i+

walking in someone else's shoes

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