an asthma attack as curriculum

I hate using the word “curriculum” in relation to my children’s education because, well, we don’t really use any. They wake up, they live life, they learn, they go to bed. Repeat cycle 365 days per year. But I am well aware that the readers of this blog are not limited to unschoolers, so I will use terminology that everyone can associate with and relate to.

I am in Day 2 of what seems to have become a regular occurrence every 4-5 months: an acute asthma attack . This time, I am faring way better than the last few times because of an Action Plan my super cool family doctor came up with when I met with him to inquire about a peak flow meter. The attacks had been intense and terrifying, coming on incredibly suddenly every time, and they would leave me exhausted. As in unable to climb a flight of stairs without gasping for breath kind of exhausted, and sometimes needing a nap afterwards. I would be out of commission for 24-36 hours. As it turned out, the peak flow meter would be useless to me, because for 353 days per year, I’m fine. I can run. I can do yoga. I can swim. I can breathe in deeply, laugh hysterically, dance like a crazy woman, with no repercussions whatsoever. The peak flow meter is for people who have chronic issues, not for people with spaced out acute attacks like mine. So his plan was to get me to feel as comfortable as possible when these buggers came on. And so far, it has worked. When I know I’m having an attack, I take a corticosteroid three times a day, to prevent the attack from becoming so intense that the blue pump can only mildly relieve my symptoms (i.e. get me to non-gasping level). I am cool with this, as a drive to the hospital in the middle of the night or long-term scarred lungs are not ideas that make me jump up and shout “Hell yeah, I’m up for that, baby”…

Anyhow,  I had been following the aforementioned Action Plan since yesterday, and feeling not-too-shabby considering my breathing is at a pretty crappy level. I was baking bread and ran out of flour, so I had to go down to the basement and haul a 50lb bag upstairs. Over my shoulder. The way I always do it. Because it’s fun to prance up the stairs on your tip toes like some kind of fairy-ballerina blend with a 50lb bag over your shoulder.

Go me.

A few seconds after getting back in the kitchen, my lungs went absolutely crazy. I slid down to the floor and my 12-year-old ran to the bedroom to get my pump. I took it and waited, as she watched me, quieter than she had been all day. I asked if she’d hand me my mug of tea that was on the counter, and she did. And she slid down beside me, and we waited together, leaning against the cupboards on the kitchen floor.

She asked what happened with an attack. She asked how the pumps worked, and what each one did. I explained it all to her as best as I could. I also related it to how our trying to feed the kids healthy food would not prevent them from getting sick, but would lessen the intensity and frequency of their illnesses when they did get sick, much like the purple pump won’t prevent my airways from constricting altogether, but will give my lungs a boost so that the constriction won’t be as intense when it does happen. This seemed to make sense to her.

When I felt better, we got up, and finished baking bread.  And that was it.

If she wants to know more, she’ll ask more questions, or she’ll look into it on her own. Just like I, as an adult do, and you do as well.

Why do we think our children are so different?

4 thoughts on “an asthma attack as curriculum

  1. One of the things that bothered me as a child in school was knowing how disconnected it was from the “real world”. I was quite sensitive to the fact that it was an artificial environment, long before I ever heard of homeschooling. When I first heard of home education it immediately made so much sense, like a confirmation of something I already knew but didn’t have a name for.
    I think it is so good for kids to be part of everyday life, to not be separated from it. Even the upsetting stuff.

    1. Those have been my sentiments since disconnecting from “fake” (as I call it) life and detoxing towards reality. I was just thinking today about how much of the time I spent in the classroom as a teenager was spent simply waiting for the bell to ring. Sometimes it was almost painful… This never happened in drama class, or in art class in Jr. High, or when we were studying literature & classics in English. Ancient History was awesome as well. But that made up about 20% of my school experience, which is not much. 😦

      1. Oh yeah. By my senior year I was completely burnt out. I would read or stare out the window. And I was a “good student”.

      2. You are a lucky one. I was so bored I was getting into trouble, becoming depressed, and dealing with an eating disorder. My passion came back after working in a nursing home and deciding I wanted to become a nurse.
        We need purpose to truly embrace learning.

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