Inez Castor

I've been called stubborn and pig-headed, and while I really prefer passionate and persistent, the results are pretty much the same, which can lead to my being passionately and persistently wrong. Then when all else fails, I leap to the wrong conclusion.

I thought I knew most local fungi, but apparently they don't all stand still or create blackspot on the roses. Some of them sneak up and attack when we're not looking. I spent last week treating thrush mouth, a fungus I was blissfully unaware of until now.

It all began three years ago when the nice pulmonologist tried to tell me I had asthma and that while it was manageable, it wasn't curable. I smiled and thanked him for his opinion while going "la la la" in my head. Then I bought a bike. I'll show you curable!

In my own defense, I'm the froth on the wave of the baby boom. Born

in the early 1940s, we were the first back-to-nature folks. We nursed

our babies, then fed them bread that outweighed them. We used herbal

remedies, refusing modern medicine and its side effects.

We're the ones who first addressed pollution and made enough noise

that DDT is no longer available. We fought so hard to implement the laws

of integration that our grandchildren didn't realize there'd ever been

segregation unless they studied it in school. And we produced Deepak

Chopra, the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. All and all, we didn't do too


So I rode my bike and ate my organic veggies, took my vitamins ...

and gradually got weaker. I had less energy and slept more. I figured

that was how our family aged, since none lived long enough to tell me

any different.

Then a local doctor recognized the sound of a cough as asthma and

called my attention to it. At last month's check-in with Carolyn at the

clinic, Michelle put what appeared to be a clothespin on my finger,

watched a dial, looked concerned and asked about asthma. The results

just kept coming in.

Apparently there was a serious shortage of oxygen in my blood and I

got an explanation of asthma and an inhalant to treat inflammation in my

lungs. The waning energy wasn't a family genetic issue, but untreated


Inhalants can cause thrush mouth, a disgusting fungus that turns your

mouth and throat into a cavern of bloody snowbanks by altering the

bacteria that's already living happily there. But a fungus is just a

fungus, whether we call it thrush or black spot on roses. And it's so

worth it to breathe!

I have new empathy for the roses. It's not garlic planting time, but

I'm going to poke garlic in around their roots to boost their immune

systems and give them a nice drink of acidophilus.

For what it's worth, just in case you happen to be passionate and

persistent, you can't cure asthma with a bicycle.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at