Coffee talk and bronchitis.

June 28, 2023 By mysistermademebuyit

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I woke up at 6:30 and just decided to get up and drink coffee and read my book on focusing. And coughing. I have been coughing a lot lately. The last 3 weeks I have had the worst case of bronchitis I have had in years. No other symptoms – just wheezing, coughing and bad headaches. When the Canadian wildfires impacted air quality in Central Ohio at the start of June, I did not really think much of it. We have had air quality alerts before – we usually get them in August when it is hot as blazes outside. I ignored the warnings, assumed they did not apply to me and took Rebecca and her best friend to the pool all day because this is my pool mom era.

About a week later my chest started to feel heavy. Like I was getting sick. Then it went from heavy chest to coughing, wheezing and having a hard time catching my breath. Luckily, I already have a standing prescription for an inhaler so I just started to use it. It finally improved and then yesterday I woke up to another coughing attack. And James said ” Man, my allergies are terrible this morning – my eyes won’t stop watering.” An alarm sounded on our phone – another air quality alert because of another wildfire.

Woah, woah, woah. Is my bronchitis caused by the wildfire smoke? I know correlation does not equal causation, but I can almost predict to the day when I will get asthmatic bronchitis because of my allergies – and it is not in June. Damn. I always just assumed those air quality alerts did not impact me. I never even bothered to learn more about them. I just figured since I did not have asthma nor was I old or have a young baby, I could still carry on with my life. But this? I have not slept well in weeks and am so sick of having a tight chest. When Rebecca asked if we could go to the pool today since it was supposed to be our summer tradition now that I am off, I had to tell her – no. The air quality is too bad and it makes me sick.

It is such a bummer to have to spend one of our best months weather wise inside. The gray wildfire smoke reminds me of winter gloom. And winter blues. This is what the West Coast deals with all the time?! Last time the air quality was impacted in the East Coast, I saw a lot of dialogue from those on the West Coast almost mocking the East Coast because wildfire smoke is something they deal with all the time. Usually there is a wildfire season and they know to be prepared for it and that there is a chance they will be spending a lot of time inside. It reminds me of when Texas weather was below freezing and snow in some places and their electricity failed. East Coast was like ” you losers – it is just a little snow! Try getting 28 inches of it at one time!” Okay, maybe nobody said that exact quote, but it felt like what they were saying.

You may be thinking “Okay, Sarah. What is the point of this blogpost besides you whining about the air quality?” I don’t know. It just seems like a conversation I would have with my friends. I just started writing because I felt compelled to talk about how even though I think I am more empathetic than most people, I still struggle to understand the impact of any risk until I actually experience it. Or once I have experienced it, I mock those that are newly experiencing the thing that I am such a pro at experiencing. Say that five times fast.

Instead of being quick to mock or judge, I want to be quick to support. While I mainly mock people in my head (rarely aloud), I want to be more empathetic to what it is like to first experience something. How confusing it is at first. How hard it is to understand the impact of the situation. How scary it can be. A lot of times the voice in my head is the most influential voice I hear. I always forget that you cannot get better at something unless you practice it. And do you know to practice it unless you take the time to acknowledge it? I guess that was the point of this blogpost. Acknowledging that I can do better. That I can seek more stories to understand. Stop assuming things will not impact me and start learning from others how to prepare.