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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

For the birds

Two brown thrashers built a nest in the camelia outside the sunroom window. For the past few weeks, as I sat at my desk, I watched them venture out into the world and return with presents. They started their workday as I did my respiratory therapy, and together we welcomed the sunrise.

And as I observed them with a level of enthusiasm I never thought birds could provide, I heard the faintest rhythmic chirp. Only the chirp wasn't coming from thrashers preparing to leave their nest.

It was coming from my lungs.

It's the high-pitched sound of inflammation — my own brand of wheezing.

And it's so stinkin' annoying.

I try to ignore it, but it's present in every inhalation. So, the idea of just focusing on my breath — a phrase meant to instill calmness — only increases my anxiety.

My health has improved tremendously in the last two years, thanks to medical advancements. And, as I’ve said before, I'm one of the lucky ones. This constant chirp is just an annoyance, a frustration, a tiny reminder that my lungs are sassier than most.

I no longer cough until I see stars. I’m not confined to the couch, my face throbbing from sinus pain. And I haven’t been on IV antibiotics in more than two years. But I still have cystic fibrosis.

I haven't seen the thrashers all day today. Maybe their babies have departed the nest to start their new lives. If so, I'll miss their company.

But I hope this nagging chirp is ready to spread its wings, too.

There's still time to donate to this year's campaign!

photographic evidence of my bird enthusiasm


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