I wake up, the hotel room is pitch black. I am disoriented, but my main concern is catching my breath from the coughing fit that woke me up. I sit up straight in bed hacking a way, feeling like a lung is going to escape from my throat.
Finally, the cough subsides, but now I can’t catch my breath. I step out of bed breathing in deep and hearing only the wheeze of my throat as the oxygen attempts to find its way to my lungs. The harder I try to breathe, the harder it becomes to breathe. I lean into the wall, using it as support when I hear Boyfriend get out of bed to investigate. I am doubled over in pain and before I am aware of what is happening, my throat constricts as it fills with the foul taste and smell of vomit.
Breathing becomes more difficult. I am scared, and wondering what to do, how can I get oxygen into my lungs? I am panicking as my daughter, woken by the commotion, steps out of bed. Oh dear! I don’t want her to see me in this state. Thankfully Boyfriend takes control and tells her to stay in bed. She, surprisingly, obeys.
Again, I’m vomiting, all over the red carpet of the hotel room. I feel Boyfriends strong, warm hand on my back, providing support, strength and hope in a single touch. I stand up and point to Baby and wheeze out the only word I can formulate. “Pee”. Even in a state of panic, Mom is the dominant personality.Boyfriend ushers her to the bathroom while I continue struggle for breath.
When he comes back out, the wheezing has stopped, but then, so has all intake of breath. Breathing is no longer difficult, its impossible. I signal to Boyfriend to make a call and try to gasp the word ambulance. After 2 attempts, I figure 911 is more plausible.
I hear the panic in his voice as he rushes across the small room to the tiny phone on the desk. I hear as he answers the dispatchers initial questions. I vomit a third time and as I straighten up I find things beginning to spin. I am getting dizzy and if I do not get oxygen to my lungs, soon, I will pass out. Then who knows what would happen? I have to stay concious. I have to be strong. For Boyfriend, for Baby who is now back on the bed she shares with Brother, witnessing the entire ordeal. I do the only thing I can think of in a hopeless situation. I fell to my knees and said Dear God. Please.
Those are the only words I can gasp. But its still more than I could 30 seconds ago. I also know that I do not need to speak out loud. God knows my heart. He knows what I want and what I need, before I do.
Over and over again I whisper “Please” and in my heart I am screaming “please don’t let me pass out!” “Please, let me breathe!” “please, hold my Baby and give her hope.” “please, stand beside Boyfriend and give him strength.” Please. Please. Please.
Somewhere, far away I hear Boyfriend saying they will be here soon. Stay calm. But still I continue my mantra.
Slowly, I find that with each attempt more and more oxygen is filling my lungs. I begin to calm down. I take another breathe, and my heart rate slows. I still can’t talk, so I grab my purse and reach for the antibiotics prescribed 4 days prior, knowing the paramedics will be asking if I have taken any meds. (It is, of course at that exact moment that I realize that I mixed antibiortics with a strawberry daquiri. That would explain the foul odour of the vomit that is splayed out on the floor.)
The paramedics arrive and they sit me down to check my vitals, which of course, are fine. Slowly, I peice together the evenings events for them, handing them my prescription. My breathing is laboured, my heart rate has sky rocketed. As I talk, I can feel my panic subside and my heart rate slow and my breathing return to normal.
I go to the hospital, relaying the same story to the triage nurse, then finally the doctor. I was able to get some Ativan as a precautionary method. I return to the hotel room where Kid, Baby and Boyfriend are all asleep.
I know that it was the prayer that calmed me down. Was it because that God heard my heart screaming out for Him and He responded? Or was it because it was SOMETHING I could do in an otherwise hopeless situation?
I don’t care. It worked. And when it comes to religion, that is what I tell anyone who asks. Is it *truth*? I don’t know. What I DO know is what works for me. And that is good enough for me.