He told his story, how he lost his hearing, and then he said.
The most fascinating thing to me about all this, honestly, is not what's happened to me. The most fascinating thing to me about all this is how other people deal with it, not me. That has been the most mind-opening thing about all this that I could ever... The last thing I would ever think would be the big experience of, the big experience has been the way other people react to it, or don't. It has been a real eye-opener. It has taught me so much about people, various types of people, various human characteristics.As he's saying this, a light bulb turned on inside my head about what I have learned about asthma. If you do not have asthma then you cannot explain it to anyone else. You can breathe through a straw, but you cannot recreate asthma. You can see that a person has a broken leg, you can see a person is blind, but you cannot see asthma; you cannot see allergies.
That has been the real fascinating thing. And I know you're saying, "Well, what do you mean?" Well, I'll give you an example, just one. All of my close friends obviously know that I can't hear. But they don't know it. They don't know it, because I can. I have these implants, and they can talk to me. So they have no concept. A person that can hear cannot conceive of deafness. You can't manufacture it. Total deafness, I mean. You can't create it.
You can cover your ears. You can put cotton in your ears. You can do everything to plug them, but you cannot create total deafness. And, as such, you can't understand it. You can pretend to be blind and know what that's like. And you can pretend that you can't walk. You can put yourself in a chair and imagine not being able to move and what that would entail. But you cannot imagine not being able to hear, unless you can't.
And I mean total deafness, not hearing loss, and not hard-of-hearing. I mean total deafness. You can't relate to it.
It was for this reason that asthma was all but ignored for most of history, even though Hippocrates described it as far back as 400 years before the birth of Christ.
Surely you can breathe through a straw, but you cannot recreate, you cannot manufacture, what it is like to constantly live with knowing that at any moment you will lose your breath, or lose the ability to breathe normal due to inflamed airways. You never know what might set off sniffles and sneezes and wheezes.
So for most of history asthma was shrugged off as nothing more than an annoyance -- like a cold. So it ws ignored, not paid attention to. As a matter of fact, barely any money was allocated to asthma research until long after the medical community gained control of more serious, more deadly, diseases like tuberculosis, like dyptheria, like influenza were controlled.
Before that time, asthma was treated like nothing more than a cold. It was an annoyance. It was one of the seven psychosomatic disorders, and treated by inhaling dried and crushed herbs like stramonium and belladonna that worked like canibis and eased the mind more so than relaxed the airways.