I don’t usually write about my childhood, because frankly, its too painful and because most of it is so outrageous, that a lot of people wouldn’t believe it anyway, but just for kicks I thought Id share one of my favorite stories.
To preface this, I have to tell to you that I came from a very dysfunctional family and had a very abusive stepfather, whom by the way, had asthma as well.
I can vividly remember on several occasions when I was 12 and 13 years old, of suffering with asthma so bad at night (because I had no medicine), that I would go through our garbage can outside with a flashlight, looking for old discarded Primatine mist bottles that belonged to my selfish stepfather . If I was super lucky, I would find one with a little bit of medicine left in it. Because there wasn’t enough propellant left in the canister to discharge the last spray, I would get a pair of pliers, put the canister up to my mouth, pull the stem out , and simultaneously suck out the very last drop of medicine into my lungs. And believe it or not, that one hit, would often save me from suffering a horrible night.
Now, if I was unable to find any “Bottles” in the trash ( that’s what we called the primatine inhalers….Bottles ), I would either have to wait till 2am when my alcoholic stepfather came home from the Bar, so I could riffle through his trousers (which he would always leave hanging on the bathroom door), in hopes of finding his inhaler and sneaking a few puffs, OR, I would tough it out till the morning, ditch school and have one of my friends shoplift me a bottle from the nearby Payless drug store. In fact, most of the inhaled medication I used as a teenager, was stolen. My mother couldn’t afford to buy me inhalers and my stepfather would only let me use his when he was home(which of course he was never), so I had to rely on my friends help. I never stole the medicine myself, because I was too scared. But my teenage friends were more than willing to do it to save their buddy from suffering so bad.
On the really scary nights where I couldn’t find any “empties” or my stepfather had run out of his own inhalers, he would sit me down in the living room and proceed to give me shots of whiskey that would make me so drunk, that I couldn’t complain about my bad breathing. One time that little trick didn’t work as planned and my lungs completely shut down and I started to turn blue. Thankfully, he had mercy on me and took me to the local county hospital where I almost died. Let me re-phrase that….. he dumped me off at the local county hospital where I almost died. My stepfather didn’t like me very much.
Hey, I may have not been the brightest kid to tolerate this kind of abuse, but I was certainly creative 🙂