Sarah struggled to breathe. She had suffered from asthma for most of her forty four years. Her nebulizer had always eased the breathlessness. Not this time. Oh God, help me! What’s happening? She forced herself to concentration. In…out. In…out. Where’s the phone? Where’s the phone? A sharp pain speared through her chest again and again. Fear and pain threatened to overtake her with every gasp. She tried to pray. With a deliberate thrust of her shoulder against the bedroom door she fell into the room. Sarah missed the bed and crashed to the floor striking her head on the bed post. ‘Ahhh...’ She wheezed repeatedly knowing full well it would just make things worst but it was becoming almost impossible to get air in and out of her painful lungs. Sarah thought her ears were pounding. No. It has to be Donald running up the stairs. ‘H...help.’
“Breathe, Sarah! Breathe!” Donald dropped to his knees. “In. Out. In. Out.” He looked around the room. “Where’s the phone?” He helped Sarah to the bed and checked her pulse. “Slow down, Sarah. Please focus.” He turned and faced the door. “Mark! Angela!” He prayed an urgent prayer while he waited.
Mark’s bare feet pounded the floorboards as he raced down the hall. “Dad, what is it?”
“Where’s the phone?”
“Angela has it.” He stared at the scene before him. His mother’s lips were turning a florescent blue and her face was bright red. “Mom?” Her eyes were wide and fixed in a stare.
“Get Angela. Get the phone,” Donald’s voice rose a few decibels.
The anxious teen snapped out of his trance and rushed out the door, yelling as he went. “Angela, quick. We need the phone. Hurry.”
Donald rubbed Sarah’s hands that were now squeezing his. “Breathe in. Breathe out.” With great effort he calmed himself so he wouldn’t frighten his wife further.
It seemed an instant that Mark was again beside the bed. “Angela’s called 911. She’s going to wait at the front door. What’s happening, Dad?”
Donald barely heard his son as he breathe in and out in unison with his wife. He pulled one of his hands free and opened the drawer beside the bed. He felt around until he pulled out a spare nebulizer mask. “Use this,” he said placing it with one hand over Sarah’s nose and mouth. He desperately wanted to slow her hyperventilating down. “That’s it. In. Out. I think it’s easing.” He knew he was grasping at straws and her eyes reflected disbelief.
“My…my chest.” Sarah forced the words out in a sudden gasp. “Sharp…”
Angela appeared to bounce into the room. “They’re almost here. I can…” Before she could continue, the sound of sirens grew louder. She turned and raced down the stairs with Mark close behind her.
“Thank God,” Donald whispered and took Sarah’s hands between his own. Keep at it, beautiful.” In and out. In and Out.” They breathed as one.
Pain stabbed repeatedly and suddenly Sarah went limp.
It was only seconds later when two paramedics entered the room with a medical bag and a portable stretcher. Donald moved aside and quickly described the symptoms and time since he found her. Angel and Mark stood silently outside the door watching and listening to the medical confab between the two uniformed men. One of the men raced out the door and down stairs, returning with another bag before they could ask what was happening. Donald stepped out of the room and paced up and down in the hall. He couldn’t bear to watch.
Moments later, one of the paramedics called him back into the room. A needle had been inserted in Sarah’s arm just above the wrist. Around her elbow was a blood pressure cuff. He looked into her eyes that peered over the top of a full oxygen mask, twinkled.
Later at the hospital doctors had diagnosed a severe asthma attack triggered by chest infection. The combination had put her in a critical but stable condition. She was going to be okay.
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