Author Archives: Brad Dell

Have Our Backs and Push Against Ableism With Us

In 2013, miles above the Pacific, flight attendants and passengers stared silently as a man yelled — literally yelled — at me for coughing too much. In meltdown mode, he didn’t care for my explanations that I have a noncontagious lung disease, nor that cough suppressants make me sick.

Interventional Treatment for My Social Sickness

Life is hard, ain’t it? Sometimes all you need is a long cry session over hibachi in Toronto. And so that’s exactly what I had with fellow Cystic Fibrosis News Today columnist Lara Govendo. She has a mental health counseling degree, so she carries those good life-altering words. Over…

How to Gain Weight: 7 Less Traditional Methods

“I wish I had that problem!” If you’re pancreatic insufficient, you know what that dreaded joke is in response to. Gaining weight ain’t easy when your pancreas doesn’t function properly, your lungs and heart pump much too rapidly, and you’re slammed by side effects like appetite loss or nausea.

How I Failed to Cheat Death

When feeling hurt or sad, I find my escape in rereading the books of my youth. They divert my mind from my woes and remind me that at least I’m not facing Voldemort or a clandestine agency bent on pulverizing civilizations. While scanning for a read in my e-book library,…

Finding Fate in the Fallout

In my last column, I described how nearly dying made me a better person. That might imply that I flipped a brain switch to become a more rad version of Brad overnight, but that’s not how it happened. During my lung transplant journey, I strived to better my character,…

How Dying Taught Me to Live

His little ribs rose, then fell, then rose, then fell, then stayed still. The spark left his green, curious eyes — I swear it wasn’t a trick of the light. They were dull … dead. I loathed myself for letting my first cat be put to sleep without me by…

Stuck Between Nostalgia and Reality

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” said Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore. He proceeded to describe bombing a hill, and how the resulting carnage “smelled like victory.” He then frowned and said sadly, “Someday this war’s gonna end.” Kilgore serves as the war addict archetype for the…

Maybe I’m Not Fine. Are You?

I’ve been bored during my six weeks of isolation. But sometimes boring is a synonym for peaceful. Yes, it’s been a peaceful time of silence and introspection. For example, in all my sitting around, I realized something really cool: I’m an amazing liar! I’m so good at it that sometimes…

Some Calm Thoughts Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Pandemonium

A surreal winter, huh? Pandemic pandemonium. Over and over. “I can’t believe we even have to think about this stuff. COVID-19 is like fiction.” It’s real. I write this during week three of self-isolation. I ain’t scared for myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve defended against “biowarfare.” My…