Friday, August 26, 2005

Am I taking breathing for granted?

I don’t know about you, but heat is not my thing. Thankfully the weather in NYC has finally started to cool down a bit, though it still has a long way to go to be as nice as the weather in, say, San Diego (I am required by my gf to say nice things about either, {1} her or {2} San Diego, on a regular basis lest, apparently, I risk forgetting that I’m supposed to be visiting there often).

Heat is a bitch. There’s no doubt about it. When I’m on my
bike and the weather is hot and humid, I find myself struggling and tired. Heck, when I’m sitting here in front of my computer and the weather is hot and humid, I find myself struggling and tired! But I should stop complaining, as I was on a ride the other night, a night when it was not even so hot and humid, and one of my teammates, a very nice woman who is a survivor of Hodgkin’s, was struggling very hard with her breathing while riding. And it made me think how much I take breathing for granted.

Yes, that’s a bit weird, isn’t it? Saying that you take breathing for granted? Well, a lot of us probably do, but some of us don’t. I know someone whose dad, for example, spent decades welding and was obviously exposed to something nasty over the years, has had some infections since, and now can’t breathe very well at all. And I’ve been on more rides than I can count where someone had not just a spare tube, but also a spare inhaler to help him or her through their rides. Yes, there are people who cannot take breathing for granted.

Asthma is on the rise in this country to the point where it’s something of an epidemic. Of course, the US continues to ignore the Kyoto agreement or anything else international that would require us to reduce greenhouse gasses or improve the air quality, so maybe it’s not a bad thing that gas is over $3.00 a gallon in many places. After all, I was at a car dealership recently where I was told I could get a great deal on a used Yukon or other giant SUV, since people are trading them in like they cause plague. If gas prices force people into smaller, less-polluting cars, that’s good, I think.

Why can’t we just ride more bikes? Go to Europe (Holland and Germany, especially) and you will find that people ride their bikes everywhere. Granted, flatter terrain probably encourages that, but so does having bike racks everywhere, and starting kids out young riding their bikes. Oh, and they don’t hand out drivers’ licenses until the kids are eighteen. Maybe that’s a workable grand plan for the US. Stop giving kids drivers’ licenses at sixteen; let them ride their bikes. That will take how many cars off the road? Plus, it will help kids keep in shape if they have to ride a bike to school instead of drive a car. This could be a plan! Except for the kids who can’t breathe, of course.

And here’s where I get to pitch a book at you again. (I’m getting good at coming around to the books in all these things, aren’t I?)
Control Your Child's Asthma: A Breakthrough Program for the Treatment and Management of Childhood Asthma, by Harold Farber, MD, and Michael Boyette, is one of those books that can change a parent’s life. In fact, read this review that was posted on Amazon:

I have never reviewed a book before despite always reading the reviews before buying a book. No book has ever changed my life the way that this one has!! My son was diagnosed in March 2003 and his doctor thought his asthma would just be something that was tacked onto the end of a cold and nothing more. Unfortunately he seemed to always have a new cough (classic asthma symptom). I bought this book because I was interested in learning more about the disease and becoming a patient advocate for my son. Having this book is a gift! It has changed our lives. We were scared and now we're prepared! My son has not had the cough since we started the program in June. We've been using the recommended daily monitoring and preventive meds and life is grand. If you're dealing with asthma, BUY THIS BOOK!

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Now, I am fortunate that I don’t seem to have any real asthma (perhaps a bit of “exercise-induced”), but I confess that I live in fear that I will someday have a child with asthma. It’s a terrifying thing for both parents and children. And the plus of this book is that it helps to get both parents and children get beyond the fear and deal with the problem.

Now, if the rest of us could just deal with the problem of air quality in this country, maybe a few less parents would need this book!

Now go ride your
bike to work!


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