On Saturday, I woke up and my chest started to hurt. It was achy and burning and felt tight. It got worse throughout the day. On Sunday I woke up with a fever that I couldn’t get rid of all day. I spent much of the day in the shower breathing in steam and in bed with a hot water bottle on my chest.

Growing up, I had a lot of trouble with asthma. For whatever reason, I seemed to grow out of it around the end of middle school. I still have attacks now and then (cats, allergies in the spring, or sometimes exercise) but they are so rare and end immediately after taking my inhaler. In elementary school, I took a lot of medicine for asthma, but still had regular attacks. I’d forgotten how scary it is to feel like I can’t breathe, like there’s a pressure pushing down on my chest and pushing in from my back. I take a deep breath, expecting to find relief, but it just hurts. I’m not wheezy right now, but that same tightness is there.

I stayed home from work today, even though it’s so stressful to miss school, because I couldn’t bring myself to get up. David drove me to the doctor. After listening to my breathing and taking a chest X-ray, it was determined that I do not have pneumonia! I have bronchitis, though I’m not coughing a lot.

The inhalers I was prescribed are making the tightness in my chest feel less scary. My three prescriptions cost me $60. I thought that was a lot, but then I looked at what my health insurance company paid–just one of my inhalers cost $162.99. It makes me sad to think about all the people in this country without health insurance.

David has been taking care of me. He’s made me endless mugs of tea, brought me tissues, filled my hot water bottle, and is making dinner right now. He is so good.

I was sick a lot growing up and my mom always took such good care of me. I am smiling right now, because I remember feeling my mom’s fingers running through my hair while I slept in my parents’ bed. Thank you, mom.

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