Sometimes Kids Know Best
I remember running to the door when he would be leaving for work - asking him if he had his inhaler and his "emergency medicine" which to this day I don't know really exists or not. It may have been something he told me he had to stop me from worrying - but I vaguely remember him saying it was a pill of some sort.
I remember the nights when I would hear his feet hit the floor in their bedroom, then haggard and raspy breathing in the hallway. I would always run to the door to find him struggling into his shoes in the dark, suffering from an asthma attack, but driving himself to the hospital. Don't even ask me why he drove himself, my mom always said he wouldn't let her - at least the hospital was only about a minute from our house.
I would always ask if he was alright, scared out of my mind, and he would just hold my face and smile because he couldn't talk, then run out to his truck.
I always asked my mom if there was something else he could take or do so that his asthma wasn't so bad - she said that every time she talked to him about it he would just get mad, so she quit talking about it.
In 1999 I was home from college for the holidays, and my dad had 3 asthma attacks on Christmas day. I guess with all the running around and company he had worn himself down. When he came home from the hospital the last time I told him that enough was enough, and that something had to change.
The next day we sat down at the table, me with a little checklist for asthma that I had pulled out of a magazine. He was mad right away, telling me he wasn't filling out a checklist. We had a 5 minute screaming match, while my mom stood with her mouth hanging open staring at us. When I finally lowered my voice and snarled that I didn't want to be 19 years old without a dad, he stared at me, sat down, took the checklist, and filled it out.
At the bottom it said if you checked even 1 of the 5 off then your asthma was out of control - he checked 4.
I told him that he had to go to the doctor the next week, tell them how bad his asthma was, then ask for this new medication, and if it would work for him. He was pouting because it said you had to take it twice a day, every day, and that it should be at the same time each day - he said he couldn't possibly do that. I told him that if a woman could remember to take a birth control pill every day at the same time so she wouldn't get pregnant, then didn't he think he could take a medication every day at the same time that would save his life?
That's when he grinned because he knew there was no sense fighting with me anymore.
He went to the doctor the next week, they gave him the medication, and I have never witnessed an asthma attack since. A few weeks ago when I was home he grabbed me and whispered that he was glad I had been such a "pain in the ass" about his asthma - he said he loved me and that I had changed his life, and apologized that it had taken him so long to thank me.
See? Sometimes adults really don't know better.