Being a sick kid

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Alonna Johnson

Asthma is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in children and adolescents. All are words that writer, SENIOR Alonna Johsnon, associates with her asthma during the winter season.

It’s second and third quarter. During this time, the seasons are changing from fall to winter. With winter comes holidays, snow and cold air. For me, winter brings tardies, absences and urgent care visits. I have asthma. 

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs. When faced with triggers, people with asthma face wheezing, tightness in the chest, and hard time with breathing. Certain triggers like pet dander, pollution and exercise can cause attacks. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.5 million children have asthma. Many cases are easy to treat and don’t pose a problem for everyday life. For some people like me, it’s an everyday battle I face during the freezing and snowy months. 

For me, smoke, cold air and illness cause attacks. Some have figured out their triggers and know how to prevent attacks. For others like me, I can’t avoid it because cold air is everywhere. It’s outside, it’s in classrooms and it’s in my room. I can’t avoid it. 

I have always been a sick kid. I never cared as much as a child because I received attention a lot of people during that time. As I got older, I noticed how often I frequented a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital facility. I noticed that it is not a good thing that nurses know your name. I noticed how often I received the same urgent care doctor, how I went into the same room, three down on the left. I noticed that.

As I got older, there was more responsibility on me to prevent all illnesses and infections. It was on me to start preventative care when I had an itch at the back of my throat or stuffiness in my nose. It was on me that when I had a bit of wheezing in my chest, that I had to take an inhaler to relieve it. But it was also on me when my lungs seized due to cold air. 

Asthma is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in children and teens. This applies to stay-at-home sick days, urgent care, emergency room visits and intensive care stays. 

I didn’t write this to whine. I am a teenager and I am going to be an adult in a few months. At this point, after all these years, I’ve come to accept it. But I never let it stop me. I always kept up with my studies or at least tried to. I completed most makeup work but there’s been times where it got the best of me. I am a SENIOR, my time here is done. But this is for everyone else that comes after me. 

I am a SENIOR, my time here is done. But this is for everyone else that comes after me. ”

— SENIOR Alonna Johnson

People that have chronic illness or a low immune system don’t have it easy. Sometimes, we rush getting better only to get worse over time. Sometimes, we come to school while we are sick to take a test because teachers won’t allow makeup. Sometimes, we are trapped in a hospital room because we have been deemed unable to take care of your health. 

What I am asking for here is compassion. I am not saying that we deserve our homework absolved or we deserve a week to study for and makeup a test. I’m asking you to  keep in mind those students who are ill chronically. We’re not faking and we do have it hard. But that also means that we are capable of putting in the work. If one is truly a chronically ill person, they will have a system set up to where they can keep up.

Please don’t put us down. We have this. We got this. We just need your support. 

SENIOR Alonna Johnson