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Wed., Sept. 11, 2013, 6:10 a.m.

The Wednesday Slice

I have never given birth, but I have experienced straining till I almost passed out as a nurse stood by and exhorted me..."PUSHPUSHPUSHPUSHPUSH!"

Lots of times.

Of course, almost any asthma patient can say the same.

You see, one of the ways medical teams check our lungs is by having us wheezers purse our lips around a mouthpiece and violently exhale into a device that measures air-flow and pulmonary elasticity. To register a useful test, one need continue exhaling even after it seems that all the air has already been expelled.

Red faces are common. And it is not unheard of for some patients to conk out, according to several nurses I've known over the years.

I'm actually fairly good at this test. Or so I am  told. So I suppose it will sound a bit self-serving when I say I would like to see the breathing test become an Olympic event.

But it's not for me, mind you. As always, I'm thinking of the kids.

Here's the thing. I would like to be involved in coaching.

"Tommy, this is your moment. Your whole life as an asthmatic has been leading up to this night. You are going to exhale like a boy who would send birthday-cake candles flying across the room."

"Madison, they're saying the Chinese girls are a lock for the medals. But I think the reporters and talking heads have overlooked something. I happen to know that the bravest, toughest exhaler in the world is a 7th grader from Spokane, Washington."

"God and your parents' genetics made you an asthmatic, Ethan. But son, you have made yourself a champion. You were born to be an out-breather. All that's left now is to blow away all the phonies and pretenders. All that's left is to go for the gold."

OK, maybe it's not synchronized platform diving or the 400-meters final.

But I'd watch.


Today's Slice question: What did they not tell you when you were in your 20s?

A) Those dental fillings aren't going to last forever and you are going to need to have them replaced eventually. B) Trying not to be a jerk is fine. But assuming that she is giving you the green light and then discovering that she was not is still way better than letting self-doubt keep you from ever finding out. C) You might think of yourself as an adult but your emotional maturity is, in all likelihood, still a work in progress. D) There's no rule that says you are required to have the same friends forever. E) The music you're listening to is never going away. F) The size of your volleyball shorts will one day haunt you. G) Other.   

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The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.