Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Asthma, Allergies & the Ambulance – Part I

"Run from the police? Picture that. N***a, I'm too fat…
I f**k around and catch a asthma attack (*heavy breathing*)
" – Notorious B.I.G.

So, there are a couple of essential plot points that need to be established up front. First, as most of you know, I was diagnosed with asthma a few weeks ago. Hilarious, right? Well, it gets better. On Mother's Day, while unhooking my kid from his car seat, I tweaked my back. It bothered me for the rest of the day and, because of all the meds I'm already on, I didn't take anything stronger than Tylenol for the pain.

We join our story on Monday, May 11, already in progress:

5:15 PM - Much to my surprise, ten hours of pushing papers from an uncomfortable 10-year-old chair hasn't alleviated one bit of my back pain. I shuffle off to call it a day, but not before one final round of casual office flirtation.

5:20 PM - I share my back anecdote with a gal in my office. She recommends simple, innocuous aspirin and offers me a pair of Bayer. I pop the pills.

5:45 PM - Dinner is leftover Mother's Day BBQ. There's not much left, so it's finished off fairly quickly. I sneak a piece from Mrs. Bootleg's box of chocolates for dessert and then walk outside to keep an eye on Jalen.

5:55 PM - My stomach is not…quite…right. I leave the boy with a half-assed directive to stay out of the street and head back inside. I'm a little foggy on this part, but I somehow ended up in front of the TV with the Mets/Braves game on ESPN-HD.

6:00 PM - Jalen sees baseball and comes running in. He proceeds to crawl all over me, while peppering my senses with questions like "whose stadium are they playing in?" and "why is the pitcher batting?" and "which one is #5?" At some point, I shove nudge the boy off me and head to one of the upstairs bathrooms.

6:02 PM - And, there goes the leftover Mother's Day BBQ. And, the chocolate. And, the chicken sandwich from lunch. And, now the dry heaves. And, some more dry heaving. And, I'm spent.

6:05 PM - Thinking the worst is over, I stand up to leave and realize that my breathing is a wee bit labored. This has happened before – several times, in fact – in recent months, but not in the two weeks that I've been on my asthma meds. Besides, whenever it's happened before, it's gone away on its own.

6:10 PM - Not wanting to get Mrs. Bootleg too concerned; I'm still in our shoebox-size bathroom upstairs. It's about 64 degrees, but I'm sweating like, yes, 42 minutes of old-school Patrick Ewing. My so-called "panic inhaler" is close by, so I take a couple of puffs.

6:15 PM - I've never been what you call "cool in a crisis", so when the panic inhaler doesn't take, I pretty much…panic. I'm officially wheezing and race downstairs to the front door for some fresh air. I notice, of all things, Jalen is already fast asleep on the couch. He never passes out before 8:00 PM these days. Thanks, National League!

6:20 PM - I've dropped to my hands and knees, violently breathing in and out. Believe it or not, I'd never had one of these attacks in front of Mrs. Bootleg, so of course I find a way to time the worst one for her audience. She insists on taking me to the emergency room, but between frantic gasps, I resist. My thinking: we'll sit in the waiting room for two hours, by which time the attack will have passed. The doctors will tell me I have asthma ("Really? Gee, thanks!") and we'll get to pay $100 for the privilege.

6:35 PM - Still outside, still on all fours. I can't tell if the wheezing is getting worse, but it damn sure ain't improving. I'm inexplicably burning up and seem to have lost the ability to respond to Mrs. Bootleg's repeated requests to get my Black ass off the ground and to the ER. When she asks about the ER for the hundredth time, I finally relent.

6:36 PM - For some reason, I had taken my shoes off while I was in the bathroom, so I went upstairs to retrieve them. Maybe it was the simple exertion from scaling those 13 steps, but all of a sudden, the wheezing stopped.

And, so did the breathing.

I began making a weird clicking sound and, of course, panicked some more. I managed to choke out an "I can't breathe!" to Mrs. Bootleg, before I couldn't talk, anymore. Mrs. Bootleg told me later that my lips and fingertips were a lovely shade of blue, by now.

She asked if she should call 911 and this time, I wasn't putting up a fight.



Tom said...

That game put me to sleep and I was in the stadium.

Mark Smo in CT said...

So you've turned blue and she's still asking you if she needs to call 911? I think she's reading the blog more often than she's letting on.