I have mentioned before in about this Blog how I was the black sheep of the family because my brother and my sister are so similar with their super dark hair and super dark eyes. Well, my brother and my sister both also have pretty severe asthma. I think my brother had it especially bad as a kid while my sister struggles more with it as an adult. Either way, it was something I didn’t have to worry about…well I suppose that isn’t totally true.
When my brother and I were younger he would have seasons where his asthma would really flair up. I vaguely remember one time on Halloween night when our family rushed him to the hospital. I think I was just stunned into silence at the whole experience; my dad speeding into the hospital parking spot, my mom (dressed up as a teenage werewolf – facial hair everywhere) carrying my brother’s lifeless little body into the emergency room. I got to see him later in a hospital bed – everything was white except for his little floppy stuffed puppy doggie. I felt sorry for him.
After a few years, he would be in an out of ER’s for years with the occasional hospital stint. I have to admit, I started feeling pretty jealous over all the attention he would get. Church friends would visit him and bring him toys. Even the nurses would play games with him if he ever got bored. “All I have to do is push this button and tell them that I am bored, and then nurses come and play games with me. My favorite nurse is ‘Alice’.” He would often tell me. Meanwhile I still went back to school every day and had to take time to pick up his homework, carry his books and so on. I wished I had asthma too so people would pay attention to me like they would with him. Why did the poor, little, rich, White, Mexican have to be born so darn healthy?
One morning when I was in Middle School I was running late, I had my backpack AND his backpack (both loaded with books), my saxophone and tried to hustle off to school on bike. There was a steep hill and I totally face planted at high speed, scraping up my entire nose, upper lip and chin. (The school kids called me “Beak” for MONTHS after that!) Luckily it all happened very closely to my house so I trudged back, bawling my eyes out. When I got home my folks cleaned me up and I remember seriously resenting that I couldn’t even get a doctor’s visit out of it. It turned into a real pity-party for a while. It was pretty ridiculous.
Today, my son inherited the gift of ‘lots of attention while being sick with asthma’ (just ask his super-healthy sister). In fact, I am writing this blog from home because this morning he woke up in a real panic not being able to breathe. It’s so sad. I hate to think of how it feels to begin suffocating.
My daughter, who is a very kind and thoughtful sister on most occasions, also struggles with resentment when her brother steals the spotlight with his asthma. I know exactly how she feels but I do not know how to handle it. I don’t want her to think that she deserves extra attention every time her brother gets sick. Why should she benefit from his pain? I do have a little guilt since I understand her pain but is this just part of life? – Life isn’t fair after all, right? Am I helping her by forcing her to deal with and balance out her own emotions?