Victorious - a Column by Brad Dell

hope, funeral, social, ableism, funeralBrad Dell is a Deaf 27-year-old with cystic fibrosis. He received a double-lung transplant from UC San Francisco in January 2017, then cochlear implants nine months later. He now lives in Hawaii, where he was raised. Usually he’s traveling the world, chugging coffee, mentoring college students, or studying theology. Otherwise, he’s working as the director of columns at BioNews, the publisher of CF News Today. (OK, he’s still drinking coffee while he works.) He writes to undo the taboo surrounding lung transplantation. Catch him on Instagram at @coffee.cats_

Are Emotional Spoon Shortages Driving Your Exhaustion?

I’m beginning to rethink the sources of my fatigue. Yes, sickness and physical activity are still real sources of exhaustion, but I’m realizing I’ve neglected a deeper flavor of struggle.   Many of us sick folk are familiar with the “spoon theory.” The analogy goes…

Shifting Through Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn … Healing

Now, years past the worst of it all — you know, the health crises — I feel safe enough to ponder my trauma and its lingering tolls. Psychologists identify four trauma responses: fight, flight, freeze, fawn. The fight response triggers aggression, flight manifests as avoidance, freeze as inaction, and…

Stories Form My Identity, and I Crave My Truest Identity

There’s a person I really like. (I’m her boyfriend, it’s nice.) And when I really like someone, I drop my defenses. We were discussing the building blocks of our identity, and I realized mine mostly derive from cystic fibrosis, deafness, and lung transplant. I wondered what it would look like…

Even the Sick Boy Found Peace in Sacrifice

I really did think it’d be my last Christmas. Sure, I was on the lung transplant list, but the doctors said I’d have to wait months before donor lungs became available. I was daily coughing up chunks of green gravel, trapped in a slow suffocation and ending each night wondering…

Such a Privilege That Someone So Young Should Be So Sick

“It’s not very romantic, swaddled in sweaty, soiled hospital blankets. It’s slow, it’s ugly. And it could happen to anyone — anyone — and likely will if they don’t meet a sudden, violent end. People don’t like to confront the inevitability of sickness, nor the inevitability of death.” Professor…

Don’t Discourage Your Hurting Friend’s Faith

When things fell apart, I screamed at God to glue me back together again. I’d been struck deaf, and putty clogged my lungs — airways literally gurgled when I inhaled. I puked several times daily between the panic attacks that ripped my mind to shreds. My whole body ached…

Unbearable Medical Costs Are a Systemic Injustice for the Disabled

My message is simple: It is a systemic injustice, even ableist, to heap unbearable financial burdens on people with disabilities (PwD). Before I continue: This column doesn’t critique political parties or provide solutions; it raises red flags so others are mobilized to finding solutions. This column focuses on issues…