Every first Tuesday in the month of May is tagged “World Asthma Day”.
Here is a poem to You from an imaginary asthmatic patient … who could very well be the person next door or the one you meet on the street. Just replace ‘mom’ with your name.
I am not weak. I am not lazy. I only have asthma.
You say I am not “wife material” because I cannot scrub, clean and dust.
No problem. I’ll rather be alive than be a wife.
I remember the first time I had an attack.
Just a ‘regular cough’ I thought, until it wasn’t.
It was ‘a cough’ deep in my throat but I couldn’t get it out.
You said I was lazy, I needed to try harder.
The harder I tried, the more I cried.
Like fuel to a fire, chest pain and panic combined.
They fuelled the tears and I felt more helpless.
Sinking, suffocating and drowning,
I needed air but it forsook me.
Or why was I the only one wheezing?
“Finally, air!” as the cold wind blew against my face…
I was sadly mistaken ‘cause it only made things worse!
My airways collapsed like clashing cymbals,
As my heart beat like a frenzied drummer.
My face tightened along with my chest, and my lungs were on fire.
“What’s wrong?” you asked.
But I couldn’t risk losing the little air in my lungs so I was quiet.
You took me to the hospital, thankfully,
And broncho-dilators put out the fire.
I was tired but I smiled weakly.
The doctor said I should avoid my triggers,
‘cause they’ll only launch an attack:
Smoke, mildew, dust and mould,
Cold air, pet dander, and certain foods.
Physical and emotional stressors were not left out too.
So I now stay away when Aunty Latifah is frying palm oil,
And beg Uncle Mikailu not to burn tobacco or grass.
I’ve learnt that I can control asthma so I lift my head high.
Share this with everyone ’cause I need them to know
That I am not weak, neither am I lazy; I only have asthma.
Written by Mercy Folayan.
This letter shows some of the things people with asthma face. I hope you understood it all and will be more empathetic to every one you meet.
One more thing you can do, share this so their voices will be heard.
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