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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: Breathe (ii)
By Christine Gaudin



"Breathe in, hold it, breathe out," the doctor says, as he moves the only slightly warm stethoscope to selected spots on Molly's front and back. This is a routine that Molly knows well. She's had problems with her breathing as long as she can remember. It started when she was born. Her Mum, Mary, has told her about how the hospital was full, and about having to lie on a stretcher in the hallway when she was in labour. Then a nurse came to assess progress and yelled, " I can see the head. Get her to the delivery room quick." So followed an inelegant trip in a lift, with the nurse holding Molly in, before a quick delivery in the theatre. And there she was, a skinny little red-head, 5lb 15oz, who needed a slap on the bottom to start her breathing, in, out, in, out.

Molly can't remember her first asthma attack but Mary can. The night spent worrying, listening to the coughing, wheezing child, is etched into her memory. Molly seemed to be always sick. She caught every bug - chicken pox at 18months, then mumps and measles, and endless colds, all of which set off her asthma big time. The winter was the worst. Cold nights set off coughing fits that kept the whole family awake, till it was discovered that if Molly slept sitting up, she was more likely to have a cough free night.

So the stethoscope routine was well entrenched. Then came the medication, and sometimes physiotherapy, all to help Molly breathe in and out. She was prescribed some little yellow, vile tasting pills. It wasn't the pills that Molly hated most, but the fact that she needed them. Why, she implored, did she have to get asthma? Why did she have to come inside and lie down when all the other children were running around having fun outside. But there was no challenging the fact that when she tried to breathe, not much air was getting in, as she wheezed away and inwardly fumed.

It was at about age 9 when Molly started having piano lessons. This turned into a mighty blessing, because in her forced breaks from physical activities, when she'd much rather be outside, she took to playing, practising scales and arpeggios, set pieces, and all manner of old music from the piano stool. Not that it sounded very musical at times as she thumped out her frustration, on the keys of the second hand piano her parents had saved hard to buy. After a while her frustration would ease and she would find herself immersed in the music, in another world where she could have enjoyment, a different enjoyment from the one she thought she wanted.

Fortunately, Molly largely grew out of her childhood asthma, with some setbacks and relapses along the way. But she still gets solace, and enjoyment from playing the piano. Looking back she is grateful for the time she spent practising. She regards her piano playing as one of her greatest blessings, and it was largely due to the troubles she had in breathing in and breathing out. She knows in her heart that God used the situation she was in, and gave her a way, for her inner rebellion to come out, in a positive way.

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This article has been read 404 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/09/09
How frustrating it must be not to be able to breathe!

There were several instances where you had unnecessary commas, somewhat lessening the "flow" of this story.

You did a good job of helping your readers to empathize with Molly.
Yvonne Blake 05/14/09
Interesting. Perhaps if you focused on one asthma incident, it would help the reader to relate to the feeling of it. Keep writing.