The Many Colors of Cystic Fibrosis: Beige (Part 1)
Last updated: November 2022
If you haven’t read my columns before, allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Nicole Kohr. I am a cystic fibrosis (CF) patient, a bilateral lung transplant recipient, and a passionate musical theater fan. In this column, I use “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” as a guide to view my journey with CF. I have compared my ups and downs with the colors of Joseph’s coat.
Let’s talk about beige!
Beige is not the most memorable color. In the past I would have described it as boring, sad, or traditional. However, this color has so much more to give.
My dog, Roxy
For a time, my doctors advised that I avoid pets and animals. My lungs have always been vulnerable due to back-to-back respiratory infections, so I need to avoid respiratory irritants. Doctors considered fur an irritant. With that in mind, my mother and I always adopted Yorkshire Terriers (yorkies). They have hair instead of fur, which made them hypoallergenic and respiratory-friendly.
All four yorkies passed away of old age, so my family had been without an animal friend since 2018. My husband and I were itching for a new furry friend to love after my bilateral lung transplant in 2019. As a post-transplant patient, he and I decided it was safe to take the leap and adopt a large breed dog (with fur). Luck would have it, a litter full of half German Shepherd and half black lab puppies were available, and two of them won our hearts.
They shed like crazy, but my lung function remains the highest it has ever been. So, I’m happy we took a chance on them. The beige dog loves to do big jumps. We named her Roxy Par Kohr. (Get it? Like Parkour?) She and her sister greet me each morning with big awoos!, and her big jumps encourage me to stay active.
Beige walls, beige sheets, beige blankets… oh my!
Adult hospitals and clinics are always beige. It is simply an easier color to upkeep? Perhaps beige is popular because it goes with every color scheme.
From a medical perspective, I’ve been told that light and wall color can affect a patient's skin color. Because I’m at risk for kidney and liver disease, doctors check to make sure I don’t look jaundiced (a yellowing of the skin or eyes that can indicate liver failure) during admissions. If bright wall colors can affect the accuracy of this diagnosis, they avoid those colors. Others said colors like red can be too stimulating, distracting, or triggering.
While that makes sense, I would argue beige inspires a tired, old, and uninspired aesthetic. Like I discussed in one of my previous articles, colorful pediatric units create a welcoming and calming environment. Plus, bright colors hide pieces of the room that require touch ups.
Fun Fact: Did you know there is no beige awareness ribbon? The closest colors are brown, cream, and copper.
In the next article, I will explore the importance of fashion, food, and inclusion among the cystic fibrosis community. Can you think of other beige objects in your health journey in the meantime?
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