Recently, I attended a women’s conference in a neighboring state. I was very excited to go, as women’s conferences and retreats are one of my most favorite events to go to. This particular one was my first large-scale event that I signed up to go to with a group of ladies from our church that we have been attending for the past year and a half since we moved across the country. I was very excited to attend but also a bit nervous. I would be sharing a room with 3 other ladies for 2 nights. I knew the ladies I would be sharing space with, but I was super nervous about how that would affect my asthma. I can control what is in my space at home, but sleeping in the same room with other people definitely had me on edge. I wasn’t concerned about judgement for my medication regimen, but there were still so many “what ifs?” What if they wore perfume that would set me into an immediate flare-up? What if I have a bad asthma night and keep my roommates awake with my coughing? There were so many unknowns and questions that were circling in my head. Instead of worrying and dreading the unknown, I decided to be completely open and honest and start the dialogue with the ladies I would be spending a lot of time with over the 3 day weekend. The four of us met the week before the conference to talk logistics (and compile an amazing road trip playlist!) and to my surprise, I was asked what sensitivities I had so they could be sure to not bring any products (lotions, perfumes, etc.) that might cause difficulty breathing. One of the other ladies is a type-1 diabetic and we made sure to discuss any needs she had as well. While I realize I was very lucky in my weekend roommate situation, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes we go into situations surrounded by the unknown, I know I’ve been there many times. What I have learned over the years is to try and be as prepared as much as possible ahead of time.
Do Your Research
Whether it’s an overnight, weekend or weeklong retreat or conference, take the time to research as much as you can, especially when it comes to logistics of the event. Think of any and all sensitivities you have and things that might set off your asthma. If food will be served and you have food allergies, be sure to let the leaders know of your limitations and ask if there are alternatives to accommodate you or if you should bring your own. If pollen/fresh flowers are a trigger, find out ahead of time if they will have them on the tables. Most places nowadays are non-smoking, however, it wouldn’t hurt to double check and avoid any areas that allow it.
As asthmatics, we always need to be prepared for the unknown. Be sure to have your rescue inhaler with you at all times and know where the exits are if you need to step outside for some fresh air. I brought my own bedding because I wasn’t sure if the hotel’s laundry detergent would cause my asthma to flare up. It would also be a good idea to find out where the closest ER/hospital is just in case. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because when it comes to your health and breathing, it is so important. Don’t hide your asthma from people around you, especially those you might be sharing a room with. They can help you if needed!
As for the Women’s Conference, I had a wonderful time of friends and fellowship! My asthma was great, thanks to open dialogue beforehand as well as being prepared for any unseen circumstances.