Perhaps this is the first mother’s day where I really fully understand how lucky I am to have you as my mom. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved you and been thankful for you but not to the extent I should have. After going away to college and being apart for so long, I realized how lucky I am to have you in my life and how much I depend on you.
A little more than a month ago, you were on your way home from your much-deserved vacation in Mexico. I was scheduling for classes and realized that OChem 2 had completely filled up and there was no way I could get into the class even though I needed it in order to continue on the track I am on. Frustrated and unsure of what to do, I called the one person I knew could help me—you. Of course though, you were in the air and couldn’t answer. For that brief two hours I was restless trying to figure out exactly what to do and longed to hear your voice. As soon as you called back, you made me feel better and realize that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I had to wait a semester to take the class.
You are always the first person I call with any news. You are the first person I call when something bad happens because I always know that you will help me figure out a solution. You are the first person I call when something good happens because I always know that you will continue to cheer me on. You are the first person I call when I feel sick or am frustrated or scared or just need to talk. No matter what, you always know exactly what to say.
Weather you know it or not, you are my biggest role model. I look up to the way you solve problems and get things done; I try and emulate your assertiveness (especially with the insurance company). I watch the way you love, and admire the way that you and dad have been able to stay married for 20+ years despite the stress of life, which often drives people apart. I try and take after your selflessness. You are one of the most selfless people I know. I remember at Kol Emet when you used to head the Caring Committee and bring food to people who were sick or who had lost a loved one. On Shabbat, Rabbi Cove had asked who had done a mitzvah in the past week. You had been busy preparing food for someone that week and I raised my hand to tell him what you had done. You instantly pulled my hand down. You later explained to me that you didn’t do it for the recognition; you were doing it because you really did care. I hope one day I will touch as many lives as you have.
I know I am not always the easiest kid to care for and that I cause a lot of stress in your life. I am so thankful that no matter how hard things have gotten you have never given up on me. You have taught me that certain people and certain goals are worth fighting for.
I know that the mushy gushy hallmark card and strawberry plant that Annabelle and I gave you last night doesn’t really do justice to all you have given me as my mother. I wish I could give you the assurance that I will be ok in life so that you wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Maybe I can come close by promising to continue to do my best to stay healthy, promising to call 911 when I need it, and by promising to always have my emergency medications on me. If it is any assurance, you have set me up to live a very healthy, long and successful life. Thank you for always pushing me to follow my dreams even though I know if you could, you would stick me in a bubble and keep me home. I promise you, it is all going to be worth it!
I love you lots mom! Thanks for all the sacrifices you have made for me, thanks for drying my tears and thanks for always loving me. I hope that when I become a mom (don’t worry, not any time soon) I can be just as amazing as you are.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!!!
It isn't uncommon for people to make decisions based on their health conditions. I know plenty of kids who chose their college and future career path based on their health but to be honest that isn't me. When I was looking at colleges, my priority list was as follows:
1) Making sure the major I had was available (becoming a paramedic and then going to med school)
2) That the school was in the city
3) That the school was at least 3 hours away from home but no more than 6 hours (driving distance)
4) That the school had a good reputation
5) That there was a place for me to live
Food allergies never really played into my college decision. I knew that if I chose the school for my allergies then I probably would be unhappy. Theoretically if I was choosing a school for my allergies, I would have ended up at Temple University and commuting. I would have been miserable commuting from home not to mention the fact that they don't even have my major. In fact, I committed to Pitt before I even knew where I was living and if I was getting the accommodations for my food allergies that I needed. In the end I did get the accommodations I needed and had an amazing year. I do not regret for one second my decision and that is the way I like it to be. I never want to live my life with regret.
In a perfect world, I will become a pediatric emergency physician. I love helping kids and there is nothing more I enjoy than helping in emergencies and the challenge of managing an emergency. I am currently a volunteer EMT and run with my local ambulance squad when I am home. I think one of the things I love about being an EMT other than getting to help people is that it gives me a break from my own health issues and allows me to focus on the health issues of others. Hopefully in 2 years, I will have my paramedic and be on my way to med school.
I have been riding 911 calls for 3 years now. I have never had issues with my own heath until today. Unfortunately today I had a bad asthma attack from someone's nasty and super dusty house. While I was in the house I started having an asthma attack and attempted my inhaler once I got outside. Luckily the call ended up just being a lift assist and we didn't actually need to take the patient to the hospital so I was able to take care of myself. When that didn't work the medic I was riding with was able to assist me with some medications via IV and a nebulizer treatment. After about an hour and a half I felt much better and was able to relax at the squad instead of having to go to the ER. The incident was enough to remind me that being an EMT or any health professional for that matter isn't going to automatically take away my health issues; they will always be there. I know that if I can't take care of myself, I am going to be absolutely no help to the patient.
I have a good plan now for avoiding future attacks, which involves wearing a small allergen filter mask to help keep my asthma at bay. That being said though, as much as my parents would probably love for me to work a job that would completely keep me safe from both my asthma and my allergies, I know I would never be happy. I try to live my life without regrets because I don't ever want to look back and say, "why didn't I do this or become that?". Part of my life without regrets is following my dreams of becoming a pediatric ER physician.
In the mean time though, being an EMT makes me very happy. I love getting up at 5:30 am to go into work. I love learning and I love interacting with people. I look forward to spending the rest of my life as a health care professional. I guess what I am trying to say is if there is a will there is a way. If you want something bad enough, you can find a way to make it happen, which is what I plan to do.
To all you aspiring young food allergy and asthma teens, don't use your health as an excuse to keep you from following your dreams; the only person you will hurt is yourself. To all of the food allergy parents out there, we need you to help us. We not only need your financial support but your emotional support and your encouragement. We need you to tell us you believe in us and that you know we can do it.
In life, we each get about 42,048,000 seconds. Some will be lucky enough to have more and unfortunately others will have less. I guess what makes life life is that no one can tell us for sure how many seconds we will get. As an EMT I have had the honor to be with some patients during their final seconds. Even though I have witnessed death and have had my own scary heath emergencies, I don't necessarily agree with the whole live your life like every day is your last day. As we all know anaphylactic reactions and asthma attacks aren't just something that we plan and it is very possible that breathing or eating the wrong thing could make any day our last day. That being said, If I lived every day like it was my last day, I feel like I would never have the motivation to follow my dreams if I knew I wasn't going to live to see them come true. What I am saying is 42,048,000 is a lot of seconds. Don't waste them! Find what you love doing and worry about making adaptions for your health needs after.
Lily Roth Is a college student with food allergies and Nancy Popkin is her mother.