As I woke I hears it. The wind and rain pelting against the window seized my morning before I could even see it. My room remained dark but with two fans going I am still able to hear the weather, I knew it was going to be a bad day out there. I am afraid that today, I could have my newest exacerbation, because it was my grandson’s Baby Shower, and I wanted to be there.

Since my first Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sleeping with my phone on my bedside in case of an emergency, I wake to a beep,  A text from my niece saying that my grandson’s Baby Shower would be cancelled due to inclement weather, I said a suitable prayer thanking God, then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Waking leisurely an hour later I was having breakfast and thinking about the weather and how bad it could get today. I was listening to the storm whipping up the wind and watching the rain and sleet coating the windows. Knowing it was a day not to be taken lightly, I would gladly stay put.

The Text From My Niece.

Then the weather report changed and we were looking at a clearing coming our way for the afternoon. The shower was on again as too many people could not make the new date and were anxious to meet our new baby.

Being a trooper I always want to be in the thick of things and where the party was happening. It’s a trait among those of us that smoked. Smokers were always the “fun” people, so I wanted to part of it. I decided to be brave, I decided to go to the shower in spite of the howling winds.

Power Failure

By the time we got to the shower they are experiencing a power failure and there was no heat in the house. It wasn’t cold yet but it would get cold inside as the afternoon went on. All was well, everyone is having a great time. Of course the baby is being a baby and I marvel and the delight of him.  His great-grandmother held him for the first time along with all his first and second cousins.

And A Cold Tank

Then my first 02 tank ran out of oxygen and I needed the spare tank of 02. In the excitement of getting there, in the mist of a power failure, I had forgotten to get someone to bring my spare in.  It was freezing cold outside and my spare tank had remained in the car.  I had the tank brought in and started using it before it was warmed up, I became very agitated. Not realizing that the 02 was cold and my lungs, not being able to handle the cold, my lungs were shutting down once again. Gasping for air I felt it was best to leave before things got any worse. This was a huge mistake.

 My Nephew Was Kind Enough

He helped me to the car and I was holding on to him. He got me in and checked on me and closed the door tight, thinking everything was good as we both did. I can see him walking back up the driveway and I realized that everything wasn’t OK, as my throat closes and I cannot get any air in.  It’s a terrible feeling like a dark curtain coming down over you. One minute you are fine and the next minute you are struggling to breathe.  As you struggle, you can feel the life leaving you just like a balloon losing air.

I can not call out and ask for help, I can’t reach the horn. I can only struggle to breathe and concentrate on getting air in and getting air out as much as possible. My lungs are frozen and collapsing.

Meditation and Mindfulness

I try to meditate and tell myself I have been here before, done this before, and I will survive once again and I will be fine. But how long before I would be fine remained the unknown.

Trying in desperation to adjust my place in the seat trying anything to get more air flow. I remember reading that pointing your chin to the floor with shoulders back and palms on your lap pointing up ward would help open the lungs to receive more air.  I turn up the oxygen flow from 2 to 4. Nothing. I grab my Ventolin and try to get some in but I am too weak to inhale and my Aero-Chamber is on the kitchen table at home.

As soon as my daughter gets to the car and looks at me she asks,  “Do you need an ambulance?” and I nod yes.  I am all too familiar with what comes next.

As I Leave An Event

My lungs collapse, especially in the evening and when it is cold and snowy. The worst of it is knowing that my kids are witness to these episodes every time. I am afraid that my episodes will have a more lasting effect on them than they will on me.

This is my 3rd ride to hospital in 6 months but this time I got there in time, and without causing any lasting damage to my heart.  No breathing tube this time, instead I used a heavy-duty BiPap for 4 hours and was medicated with puffers and given sodium, potassium, magnesium and kept overnight.

It was my shortest turn around yet, being released the next morning.

Yeah, more grandson time!


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