We’re surrounded by air. It wraps us in its gentle, soft embrace that is so soft we hardly even notice unless it runs past us, knocking into us, pushing us about. Mostly though its there and it wraps itself around us and into us, tasting us, extending itself down our throats, into our mouths and embracing us from the inside as well.
But sometimes it doesn’t want to leave the warm wetness of our holding, and it stays, wrapping itself in our warm alveoli, filling all our tiny bronchioles, backing up like an invisible tidal wave along our wide bronchii and it’s then, filled with this wonder that our trachea starts to tighten and pull and we cough and cough and cough.
I have a cold. Well I had a cold, the blocked nose and the headaches have gone. Whats left now is the rather disgusting phlegm that seems to have moved it’s way into my lungs, which, along with my constantly trying to tighten bronchioles, does not bode well for my breathing. I wake up regularly with bruised feeling lungs, and take a pull on my inhalers (both brown and blue). I then go through the day coughing up lumps that look like they belong on the set of an Alien movie, possibly bursting out of someone’s stomach; my breathing never manages to get a whole breathful but little shallow breaths as the alveoli at the top of my lungs are the only ones that manage to exchange air. This is not an altogether unusual state of affairs.
But I got a fright yesterday.
In the middle of my kitchen I discovered I could not breath in. My lungs were full of the winding, embracing, gentle air. I couldn’t breath in, so I tried to breath out, and began to cough and cough and cough. And all the while my housemates were talking to me and around me and making pancakes. Eventually I was on all fours on the kitchen floor as they ran around looking for an inhaler. I was convinced I was going to keel over with my friends around me unable to do anything.
My inhaler was gotten to me, harden pellets of phlegm that had been obstructing my airways were expelled and I found myself able to breathe out; and then of course, breath in. And the air flowed freely through my lungs and left me and returned to me as it iswont to do, without trying to set up its home within my body.
Asthma doesn’t usually scare me, but just occaisionally I get reminded.