Friday, April 02, 2004


I am an asthmatic. Have been, since I was five. A quarter of a century later, I am still fighting for breath.

It's funny: whenever you read a book or watch a film with an asthmatic character, the asthmo always has some kind of emotional problem. They're never really sick; they just have parents who're over-protective, or abusive, or whatever. They take pills or inhalers to feel better, and it's this whole big thing until someone comes along and shows them that all their problems are In Their Mind (TM), and then they get better.

I beg to differ. I do so in a very sarcastic tone of voice, just so's you know.

One of these days, I'll explain what "asthmatic" actually means in very little words so's you made-for-TV-film making chowderbrains can get it right.

Right now: I can still breath. It's not easy. I have to fight. I can't forget about it and just let it happen. I have to do breathing. Like writing; like painting in oils; like having a baby; like baking a cake. Like making love. Some are easier than others, but all of them have this in common: They don't just happen. You have to do them. Right here, right now, I have to do breathing.

Breathing in is easy. The problem with ashtma is breathing out. That's an effort. Your lungs suck in air easily; it's pushing it out that takes effort. Masseurs note that asthmatics have a signiature: a roll of muscle across their back.

I'm fighting. Demons. PHLEGM DEMONS!

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