Cough, cough, cough

Rex lived in a big city on the edge of the desert. It was a busy, colorful, dirty place. His house was right beside a busy street with cars, buses, and motorcycles whizzing by. Every day when he walked to school clouds of black exhaust smoke would billow out of their tail pipes It was a dirty city with trash on the streets, a stinky river with stuff floating in it and the gray smelly air. He had seen pictures of places with bright sunshine, clean air and clear water, but he could only dream about living in such a place.

Cough, cough, cough that was a common sound he heard in school, at home and at church. Rex did a lot of coughing and wheezing himself. Sometimes he had trouble breathing. It would scare him, he felt like he was going to suffocate. People said it was from the dirty air but what could they do about it, they had to live near Daddy's job?

One day Mommy said, "Tonight we are going to go to a special meeting. A lady is going to talk about how we can be healthier and I think we should all go and listen." And so they went. The lady used a computer and projector to show many interesting pictures. That first night she told about how beneficial it is to drink pure water. In the talk she mentioned that drinking plenty of water helps to keep the lungs cleared out by making the fluid in the lungs thin so it can move easily." Rex decided he could drink more water if it would help him breathe better and keep the gunk out of his lungs.

The second night she talked about good food. Again, Rex was surprised to hear that eating fruits and vegetables makes stronger eyes, helps to keep a person from getting sick and makes the lungs stronger. He was very interested in what she had to say. He had never heard that food helps to keep the lungs healthy. And so he told his Mom on the way home that if she could buy more fruit that he would try to eat at least 3 pieces of it each day plus his salad and vegetables at dinner.

The third night the teacher talked about air. Rex was wondering what she could possibly say about their dirty air that was useful. But she said that even if the air is dirty is important to have good posture . She suggested that joggers and exercisers get outside as early in the morning as possible to deep breathe while there is less traffic and the air wouldn't be as dirty. She also suggested that during the time of the day when the air was the most polluted they stay in the buildings. She even suggested that if they walk or work outside they cover their nose with a piece of cloth or filtering mask. Rex decided he could do the breathing exercises she showed them and even stand up with correct posture, but he wasn't so sure about wearing the mask; he thought that would look a little funny even though he did see people driving by sometimes with their noses covered with a bandana or a strange little cloth cover.

On the fourth night the teacher talked about sugar and how it weakens the body defenses and makes it easier for germs to cause colds, sore throats, aches, fevers, coughs and sneezes. Rex wondered if that meant wheezes too. Mommy decided the family was no longer going to get to eat the candy and sweets she often bought. Instead they were going to spend that money on fruits.

Almost a year later at supper one night Rex and his family were talking about all the changes they had mnade after the teacher had talked about health. Now Rex and his family ate more colorful fruits and vegetables. Mommy would buy mangos, tangerines, oranges, grapes, apples, papaya, bananas and whatever fruit or melon that was in season. How he loved eating it. He hardly missed the sugary sweets they used to eat. And even though he didn't enjoy the broccoli and Swiss chard very much he would eat them to try to heal his lungs because he was tired of being sick. He also made certain he filled his orange water bottle up twice during the day and drank all the water.

Later that evening his Dad said, "Has anyone noticed that this winter none of us had a cold or the flu? And Rex you seem to have less trouble with your breathing problems. I really believe that changing our diet, drinking plenty of water and following the advice of the teacher has made us a healthier family." And with a big smile Rex had to agree. He hardly ever coughed anymore. He really was healthier and happier.

Copyright © 2000 - 2019 by Dawna Sawatzky