When I Realized I Was Blaming Myself for My Asthma

“Why?” is really a very aggressive question… but I keep asking it.

My asthma has been very challenging for the last couple of months. I ended up being admitted to the hospital twice and also spent several hours in the emergency room on another occasion. The need to ask why is percolating through my mind and it is starting to get on my nerves.

I seem to think that if I can find out an answer to why, then I can make a difference to my illness. But, that actually isn’t the case with adult onset asthma. I have had this chronic illness diagnosed for about three years.

This has been a huge learning curve for me. I have learnt about relievers, preventers, steroids, spacers, oxygen saturation levels and peak flow levels. I have learnt breathing exercises to do to improve my lung function. I have learnt what triggers affect me. I have learnt to be cautious regarding my activity levels throughout the day. But, “Why?” still haunts me!

As a former teacher, I knew not to ask kids, “Why?” when they had misbehaved because it is aggressive. It implies blame. It automatically puts a child into defense mode. “Why?” is like an attack. And, now I am doing this to myself.

But, I keep trying to figure out “why.” At 68 years of age you would think I could apply what I know about “why” to myself. But, I still seem to seek a explanations.

Asthma is a complex illness. When it was first diagnosed the lung specialist reeled off a long list of things that could be causing it or contributing  to it: reflux, sleep apnea, allergy, exercise, dust, pollen, smoke, being overweight, hay fever, history of allergy and eczema... and then he said it was probably a combination. I could tick “all the above.”

Today, I have finished a 12 day course of prednisone. I have showered, done a bit of cooking and washed up. Then I started coughing non-stop. I am a cougher asthmatic. After eight puffs of reliever, sitting and breathing according to my exercises, the episode has passed. My chest is hurting and I now have that salbutamol headache that fellow asthmatics will recognize. And, the shakes. Then comes the “why” into my head.

It’s like I need to take myself to task for being ill. How ridiculous is is that?

I want to put “why” into the same category as “should” and give myself a break.

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