Friends or family with asthma?

Howdy all, 

I was reflecting yesterday about the light and dark of living with asthma and some of the stumbling blocks of helping our loved ones also accept and learn about our diagnosis and treatment. It occurred to me after a tiff with the dh, that maybe this is hard for him because he doesn’t know anyone else with asthma and I asked him today. Sure enough, he doesn’t know anyone else with asthma! In my own life, I’ve only known two friends with this disease. 

This realization made me remember the importance of being patient with family because they are learning too (and adapting) and how grateful I am to be in this community of wise and friendly people to help me navigate the ups and downs of this disease. 😉 thank you! 

Always, em


Comments 10

  • LK

    Em,  You make a very good point about how hard it is for family and friends to learn how to help us when they haven't had anyone else in their lives who has severe asthma.  I've know a handful of people with asthma but it was mild intermittent asthma where they had one or two triggers and any symptoms were taken care of with a puff or two of a rescue inhaler. 

    Guess we all need a good dose of patience, forgiveness and understanding.

    I know for a fact that I would not be where I am if it weren't for the many folks here who have walked the same road and have been willing to share their experiences, offer unlimited support and encouragement.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Hi everyone! I have no family members or friends who have asthma, or COPD. In my life, people quickly dismiss my diseases because it is out of their grasp. I guess if you don't have the diseases, you cannot fully understand what is going on. My DH will say…Yeah, I know…if I say I am not feeling well. No empathy or anything. Better off talking to the wall. My docs have tried to explain things to him, but he has ADHD. Forget it. 

    Yes, we must be patient patients. We are the ones that understand. Without this forum, I think we all may have a harder time getting through our days. We have to realize that people who don't have asthma cannot know what we are talking about. How could they? 

    This forum is a blessing. 


  • StephM

    Interesting! Background definitely makes a difference.  We've had that experience trying to orient my wife to my father's severe food allergies.  The concept of airborne food allergens sticking around for a couple of days, for example.  She had been (mis?)diagnosed with food allergies as a child based on skin prick testing and the family just ignored the diagnosis.  No issues– her hives were actually environmental. 

    I grew up among a fair number of people who had asthma to various degrees, although none in the family. I definitely remember kids who were taken to the ER periodically in my childhood, although treatments are probably better now.

    As an adult, I don't think I have had any close friends with really severe asthma, like needing biologics, but certainly friends with persistent moderate asthma.  That is, people who need daily maintenance meds, specialists, always carry supplies, have nebulizers, have colds always turn into hard-to-treat bronchitis, etc.

    I have the good fortune to have teachers and health care workers in close family ("You sound like you need to go use your inhaler." "No, I'm ok." "Yes, you do. Where is the albuterol?"), so they've been helpful at being a set of eyes to re-orient me to what should be normal.

  • K8sMom2002

    I guess the silver lining in having a family with lung issues is that I do have a lot of experience with asthma and COPD. My dad has asthma and COPD, and my aunt has asthma. My mom and her sister also had asthma and COPD. 

    And of course my DD has asthma as well. 

    That experience has helped me to understand two things:

    • Everyone's asthma is different and individual — mine may not be like yours.
    • Everyone with a chronic disorder is going to have bad days and needs patience and understanding, regardless of what that disorder is.

    Hoping that folks here have families who will learn to be patient and understanding if they're not already!

  • LK

    StephM,  I like the part about "they've been helpful at being a set of eyes to re-orient me to what should be normal."   We do become accustomed to different levels of "normal" so it is wonderful that others are aware enough to keep re-orient us to what normal should be.  What a great way of putting it!  

  • Kathy P

    It can be hard when others can't understand what it's like. Even the most empathetic person can't really understand unless they experience it. Add to that, one person's asthma is not the same as someone else's.

    There is a great video in that has 8 tips for communicating with family and caregivers. I highly recommend signing up for the free course. There is so much great info in there!

  • dory2005

    I've been fortunate in a way because I developed asthma as a kid, so my mom was an advocate for me long before I was for myself. Both of my sons have asthma, DS13 has mild/moderate asthma, but my older son's asthma was very severe as a baby (hospitalizations, nebs every day until he was in kindergarten, etc…), but he hasn't had any issues for the past five years or so. My mom now has asthma, so I now try to make sure that she's taking her meds and inhalers. Talk about deja vu!   

    It did take my DH a while to understand how severe my asthma is. When it flipped from moderate to severe about three years ago, I think we both didn't realize how bad it was until I was hospitalized. It's a huge adjustment, and family members need time to acclimate to the new reality. It's hard not just for those of us with asthma, but also the family members who have to help us navigate this new normal. Deborah's right–we need to have patience with our loved ones. 

  • Pljohns

    Fortunately no one in my family has ever had any type of respiratory issue at all so they don't understand anything about it.  My asthma is adult onset-6 years now, so it's a challenge-especially when no one understands it.

  • LK
    Pljohns posted:

    Fortunately no one in my family has ever had any type of respiratory issue at all so they don't understand anything about it.  My asthma is adult onset-6 years now, so it's a challenge-especially when no one understands it.

    Yes, mine is adult-onset, also, almost 7 years now.  No one else in my immediate family nor extended family has any respiratory problems either, so it really is a challenge for them to understand.