Breathing vs Cupcakes

It seems I am the asthmatic equivalent of the women who don’t know their pregnant until they go to take a poop and end up with an 8lb baby in the toilet.

Most people don’t know I have asthma.  It was bad as a kid, but it got a lot better in my early 20s and I stopped needing daily inhalers.

Yoga, adulthood and lifestyle help me manage it.  The only things that give me away are:
1. My daily nasal spray to keep my post nasal drip at bay & the lady handkerchief I always carry in my pocket.
2. Chest colds.

If I get a chest cold, it sits there angrily, taking my breath like a prisoner.  It lingers, making itself comfortable in my pretty pink lungs, ravaging them until they are red and weary.  They don’t happen often, so I get to forget about them as time passes.

I should know better.  Now that I have kids, I am exposed to every possible germ, bacteria, virus or other gross, communicable thing Out There.  I suspect my beloved offspring spend their days licking floors, toilets and doorknobs with the sole purpose of coming home to kiss me with their Petri Dish mouths just to see what happens to my immune system.

Thus, it was no surprise that on Monday I woke up with a little chest cold.

Quite frankly, I didn’t have time for it.  So I just went along with my business.

I had a lot to do this week, and a Valentine’s Day party to host at my home for about 30 people on Friday.

In what I can only assume was a secondary attempt to inflict ailment/injury upon me, when I asked Miss A to come over to me to get dressed that morning, as I sat on the floor, she ran with arms extended and gouged a hole in my eye with her daggers fingernail.

Happy Monday!*

* Luckily two moms in her class are a nurse and a doctor so they gave me a little exam, told me what to do, and I got on with my week.

So now I have both a chest cold I’m ignoring, and a blazing red dash of a hole in the white of my eye to ignore as well.

I made some tea, used my good eye to peruse my serious To Do List, and went on with my week.

cough cough

I had playdates to host and a house to clean and kids to watch for friends.

cough cough cough

I had laundry to fold and Valentine’s decorations to buy and emails to write to coordinate picking up a boxspring from a friend.

cough cough cough cough

I had mattress comparison pricing to do, ballet class to get to, dirty dishes up the wazoo.

Then yesterday after school I waited to get Miss A, whose class’ exit was delayed due to Picture Day running late.  I stood in the frigid air, gasping for breath, barely able to talk, for about 15 minutes.  The bell came and went, the pavement cleared of other parents by the time her little gloved hand was finally in mine.

cough cough wheeeeze cough cough

Knowing Mr T would be scared at my lateness (their school pickup is at the same time, but 2 different doors), I lifted up Miss A in her thick winter gear, stuffed backpack on tight, and rushed to the front door to be buzzed into the office.

cough cough gasp wheeze gasp cough cough

I dashed into the office with a smile on my face and a breathy explanation for my son, whose worried expression washed away at the sight of me.

Then I got dizzy.

We walked into the hall and I had to sit in the chair outside the office for about 5 minutes to catch my breath.

The walk back to the car in the dry, cold air seemed to take hours, and I felt no relief until I was in my warm house sipping steamy tea swirled with honey.  As soon as I could talk, I made an appointment with my doctor for this morning.

Today the walk from my parking spot at the medical center, across the lot, down the hall, into the elevator made me need to lean against the wall to catch my breath.  I could barely speak when checking in, and the nurse apologized for making me wait since it was clear to her that I wasn’t well.

More coughing, wheezing, gasping, and breathy answers during my preliminary exam with the nurse, before the doctor came in.

Just listening to me talk in jagged breaths in between coughing fits made her furrow her brow.  A lung check, oxygen monitor and more thorough exam made her step back at give me a look that said:

You are a dumbass. You have asthma and can’t breathe, yet it took you five days to come here.  You don’t keep an inhaler at home, which makes me want to punch you in the arm.  Stop being stupid, go get your meds, and check in with me so I know you didn’t die of putting Motherhood ahead of Breathing over the weekend.

What she actually said was that I have Bronchitis, an infection in my lungs.  I need to be on antibiotics, an inhaler, and do nothing but rest for a few days.  My asthma is making things a lot worse, and this whole not-breathing-well thing is very bad.  I am contagious and shouldn’t do anything that would make me breath hard.

My first thought was Oh My God I can’t cancel the Valentine’s party today!  The kids are so looking forward to it!!

I told her about the party, asked if I needed to cancel.  She said I am contagious and can’t breathe, so I should cancel the party.

I asked if she was sure?

She crossed her arms, scowled at me and said Do I need to give you a note?

Her sarcasm made me love her a little bit, and get her point.

I can’t breathe and my biggest worry is breaking the news to my kids – and their friends – that we can’t have a party today.  Once again I am putting Motherhood ahead of The Mom.  I am concerned about making things go smoothly, making my kids happy more than addressing my own needs.

I.  Can’t.  BREATHE.

Clearly, I am an idiot who needs to reprioritize.

Breathing first.

Then cupcakes.

Then kids.

I promise I’ll reorganize my priorities once I catch my breath.

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    • says


      I was about 20/21 years old when a work friend brought me to where she practiced Kundalini Yoga. The Yogi who led this huge group was amazing. I learned how to breathe better, get more in tune with my body, and be a different kind of physically fit. I’m not exaggerating when I say that taking up this practice made me able to control my asthma to the point of no longer needing inhalers regularly, greatly reduced my stress (I had road rage at this time & completely stopped), gave me a back/core strength that decreased the number of headaches/migraines I got, etc etc.

      Hatha & Vinyasa are the more popular kinds you find out there at gyms & yoga centers, and I’ve done those over the years (no Kundalini places close to where I live now, sadly). They’re great, too. But if you really want to try something to help you with asthma, find a place that teaches Kundalini which really ties the breath with the movements. If you find a good yogi who can teach you/the group how to breathe better, you will really see a huge change in your asthma. I sure did.
      About link:

  1. Peasy's Mom says

    I’m so sorry that you are sick and that you had to go through this to get to the point you made here: you need to come first. I think that is something of which all moms need to be reminded regularly. Thank you for doing it so powerfully. (I’ve been working on my emotional well-being, and it’s been wonderful to see how much happier and calmer my daughter is when I am happy and calm.)

    • says

      What stinks is that I’ve managed to contract something that takes WEEKS to recover from. Suckfest, 2011. When Life tries to teach me a lesson, it does it hardcore.

      Good for you for working on being calmer & happier!

  2. Emily says

    Sorry to hear that you are/were sick :( My son has asthma, and it flairs up horrible in the winter. He has as upper respitory infection now ontop of his asthma….it’s horrible. Last night my husband and I made up a song to get him into his bed for “bedtime” and out of ours and this excited him, so he started dancing……which led to him coughing his lungs out…a little vomit and a breathing treatment :( SO SAD….sigh. We felt awful, which led him right back to our bed for the night. So take it easy :) AND NO DANCING!!!

    • says

      This is what sucks most: I am very physical with my kids (dancing chasing running throwing jumping tickling singing laughing) and they never shut up, so expect me to be constantly talking to them. My silence and inability to play is really annoying to them! And me!
      Thanks for coming by and commenting. I hope your son breathes clearly again very soon….we need to get our dance on. 😉

  3. says

    How’d I miss this post? God this sounds like something stupid that I would do. I mean, not that you’re stupid. I’d do something similarly dumb. Er, you know what I mean. Sorry. I’m tired. Point: When is it going to really get through to us that we have to take care of ourselves? I totally don’t take care of myself. I truly feel like there isn’t time. I know I need to make time but the constant question is – how? I need more sleep. I need yoga. I need to lose 8 lbs. I need to eat better. I just don’t know how to do it and work and be a mom and and be a wife and keep a household running and do one or two things that I like to do, one or two times a week…ugh.

    • says

      I’m still feeling it, still having trouble breathing. My friends are literally hanging up on me because when they call to check on me I get all panting-dirty-heavy-breathing on them and they think I need to sit down and shut up until this Bronchitis goes away.
      Which means I can’t do any cardio, which I need to firm back up since I’m getting flabby which means I’m not burning stress which makes me want to eat sugar which adds more flab. GAH!!! Need. Miracle. More Time. Less. Responsibility.

  4. says

    Oh, I have done the same thing, well not exactly the same thing but similar. It was Thanksgiving week, I had a doctor appointment set up for me. I was having trouble catching my breathe when I walked up stairs (was taking me like 15 minutes to breathe normal again) and my daughter got sick with a sore throat. We go to the same doctor, there were no available appointments for her, so I gave up my appointment to give it to her. 3 days later I ended up in the hospital for the breathing issue.

    As mom’s we always put our children’s needs ahead of our own. It’s not a choice it’s something that happens when you first get those amazing little creatures put into your arms. Suddenly a switch goes off and you have to put all your needs aside.

    But the lesson that we both learned, you can’t always put your needs aside (such as breathing) or you won’t be there to take care of them.

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