The Breath of Life
by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, August 5, 2021
When I was a young kid, I grew up with terrible asthma. As soon as I caught a mild cold, the stuffiness immediately went into my lungs. I remember being so congested with constant wheezing. I remember having dreams of feeling suffocated only to wake up way short of breath. I’d nudge my sleeping parents telling them I could not breathe. They’d get dressed groggily and jump in the car to take me to Kahuku Hospital.
Immediately there, the nurses knew exactly what I needed. They’d grab the nebulizer and inject the medication in and I’d be puffing away. Within minutes, my wheezing would subside and I could feel my airways open up giving me relief. My asthma was so bad that I’d spend several days there getting prednisone and nebulizers to manage the exacerbations.
These asthma exacerbations would happen multiple times and when that feeling of suffocation came on, I’d tell myself I was going to die. I thought I’d not make it to my 18th birthday but somehow, thanks to the great care I got as a kid, I made it.
As a mother, I now can empathize how my parents felt when a kid gets sick. To have to take my then 3 year old to the ER because his respiratory rate was over 50 breaths per minute, O2 sats below 90%, and heart rate racing over 150 beats per min scared the bejeebers out of me that I could lose my kid without proper care. I didn’t want to cry in front of him but I could not help it being so scared to not be able to provide comfort.
My baby in the ER in 2018
With school coming up and seeing COVID cases rise, I knew had to take action to protect my kids as well as my clients in home health. Their exposure could prevent me from caring for my homebound clients or potentially expose them. I was not going to take that chance.
There was a lot stress with trying to figure out what needed to be done to plan for this and fortunately, we were able to get into distance learning. Yes, it is not the same for kids, but for their safety it is worth the sacrifice.
What is even worse right now is the utterly disgusting self-entitled attitude among adults, including many parents, who are worried about their kids but are not vaccinated themselves. Then there are the teachers who have only 80% vaccinated but complaining about the DOE return to school plan.
There’s always some excuse as to why they have not taken the vaccine. If you are worried about your kids and your own families, you’d do everything in your power to protect them. I hate hearing the selfish excuse of “my body, my choice” because it shows they don’t give a damn about others they infect.
I knew that my exposures from last year put my kids and others at risk and I jumped to get vaccinated. I didn’t even consider not getting it despite the side effects. I learned early on that the risks of COVID was way worse that the effects of a vaccine. I grew up knowing how awful it is to be short of breath. COVID steals people’s ability to breathe.
The cases continue to rise and kids are now at higher risk. The years of disinformation has shown us how dangerous it is and many continue to believe it. Will we ever learn to trust the science again or will it take someone getting close to us very sick to realize that we have to follow the evidence?
It is looking like the latter.