Last night in hospital.

One week into the new year and I’ve already managed to gain a trip to the hospital via ambulance yesterday! Not what I was expecting for a Tuesday afternoon. I am off work today under the advice of the paramedics and doctors. A painful and poorly two weeks have passed where it was clear that either I was becoming ill or that I was patently run down. I have been having mild asthma attacks over the holiday but nothing so worrying that a doctor would be needed. However, since Sunday and after two nights without sleep, it was obvious that something was not quite right. 

Yesterday at work, around lunchtime, I noticed my chest had tightened so much that even standing up from my seat felt like a chore. My face had become slightly bloated and most frighteningly, the Asthma medication that I use to relieve any pain was not working. There was no relief. 

I left work early and made my way home. I called my mother on my way. It is safer to not be alone in these circumstances. Luckily, she was there and waited for my arrival. As soon as I entered the front door, my mother was alarmed. To her, I looked awful. I was finding it hard to string a full sentence together. She knew what to do. The doctors’ surgery wouldn’t give us an early appointment and in all honesty, I felt like I had to convince them of how ill I actually was. Not something you should have to go through when you can barely breathe. My mum called an Ambulance. It was too big of a risk to leave it.

They came immediately and quickly put me at ease. 

The paramedics were angels. They are amazing people who probably aren’t acknowledged enough for the job they do. With an oxygen tank beside me and a mask over my mouth, the medication quickly soothed my aching and wheezy chest. I felt calmer too as the paramedics joked with me. My chest opened up and I began to feel slightly normal again.

We all take breathing for granted. Such a basic thing we do day to day. Yet without the ability to breathe, life would not exist. Many people do not understand that Asthma is a life-threatening condition. The paramedic described it well. Imagine breathing underwater: no mask, no oxygen, just you, stuck underwater for hours and struggling to breathe, struggling to get your head above water. That is what it feels like inside an Asthma sufferer’s body during an attack. It is fiercely dangerous, and although we may look fine, we are not necessarily okay. Believe us when we say something is wrong. Some of the deadliest diseases and conditions are ones that lie silently and hide themselves well.

I was taken to hospital to be checked over. After four hours, my ordeal was over and I was welcomed home by my worried husband. My chest remains tight today. I have a dry cough that ends with a melodic wheeze. It is still difficult to breathe hence my choice to listen to the professionals and stay at home today. Hopefully, with the help of antibiotics, it’ll sort itself out by tonight. 

I wake up every day and I think, ‘I’m breathing! It’s a good day.’
Eve Ensler 

Friday 20th July 2012 – The visit.

My father-in law had kindly offered to drive me, David and my mother down to the hospital to see my Dad. My mother came for several reasons. She predominately came to support me. I was highly emotional and fragile; she knew I needed her. As soon as my Dad told me the severity of his condition, I called my mum. She had to know. Her hate for him ran deeper than any ocean but I knew she would regret it for the rest of her life if she did not go and see him one last time.

Being back in the same hospital that my father was admitted to when he tore the ligament in his thigh, was unbearable. I felt stifled as soon as I entered the doors. I wanted to run back into the blazing sun and let it burn my face. Anything felt better than the way I felt as we walked sombrely to his cubicle. My mother and father-in law waited in a quiet area. My husband held me tightly; he knew my fear. My stomach was in knots as we approached his bed. He was sitting upright; his shallow breathing prompted my own chest to tighten. I knew what I was supposed to do so I did it.

He hugged David too.

It was a shock to see him like that. He was a shadow of the man he was three weeks ago. The powerful, frightening image of him was fading. The sad smell of sickness enveloped me as I sat down in the hospital chair. My father began chatting to us and although I could hear his voice, I was not listening. I looked around at other the other patients The room was bare and lonely, only beds and the odd T.V to keep one company, nurses drifted in and out with medication and comfort for the ill. I knew I could not stay there for very long, I felt suffocated, exposed and vulnerable. The sound of muted coughing and painful wheezing choked me. I wished for the exit and the breeze on my face. I felt hot and nauseous but what could I do, I had to face my fears.

I soon discovered that my sister was on her way. If she arrived before I left, it would be our first meeting in over three years. It only added to my suffocation. I did not want to feel imprisoned.

“Ma’s here,” I whispered.

“Why is she here?” he seemed surprised.

“She wanted to see you, speak to her Daddy”.

“Maybe another time, I’m not ready.”

“There won’t be another time. She won’t shout, she just wants to say goodbye”.

“Fine,”

He agreed.

I thought it would take more convincing.

I left to get her. She too was amazed he allowed it.

They were both mature, incredibly mature. It would be the only time in my whole life that I would see them respect each other. They spoke in English at first and then in their native language Bengali. It was emotional for my mother; I could feel her breaking as I held her close. The conversation was short and as we walked away I could not have been more proud of my parents for that one moment in time.