It was the following week during physical therapy and everything seemed about as normal as normal can get these days. I was once again walking across the gym when my chest felt tight.
I let the team know I needed to sit down in my wheelchair and once seated I gasped to catch my breath. I tried several times and just could not get a deep breath in. After a few more tries it really went downhill, going from bad to worse! I gasped to catch my breath and no air was moving in or out of my lungs.
I looked around at the team members and I was not able to talk. It seemed like hours were passing by and I began to wonder if I was going to make it or not. My physical therapist jumped into action and grabbed the inhaler located inside the bag attached to my wheelchair.
She gave me a couple of puffs but that did not make the situation any better. I was really wondering if I was going to pass out or what might come next.
The team quickly called in a code which meant all available emergency personnel in the rehab hospital were to go to the gym immediately. It would be a matter of seconds before a team of 10 or so doctors and nurses came rushing in.
Before the team got into the gym I said to myself ‘ I am in a good place ‘. If this were to happen the best place would be in a hospital surrounded by professionals. But before the team arrived, in those precious few seconds, I was able to get one small gasp of air in.
One led to another and then to another and just as the team rushed in I was slowly breathing on my own. They put me through a barrage of tests and my heart-rate and blood pressure had jumped up pretty high because my heart was trying to make up for the lack of oxygen in my blood.
I did not require additional medical help and I am so grateful for my team taking quick action which led to a desired outcome. When I got home I spoke with my doctor and we are keeping close tabs on these diaphragm spasms which seem to unexplainably prevent me from breathing.
I know you might be wondering why the title says x2? Well this episode had happened once before at my home during the Covid crisis. That was the scariest day of my life hands-down! It had never happened before and we were caught off guard. I wondered what would happen to me because even if the team dialed 911 the ambulance would not get to me in time.
I can’t even tell you how frightened I was that day not knowing what was going on and not being able to breathe. We had no idea how to fix the situation but my wife Michelle was upstairs working from home and she had heard the commotion downstairs. She rushed into action and grabbed the inhaler that had been sitting in my drawer for the past year and knew exactly what to do with it.
I have never suffered from asthma but a year ago my doctor had prescribed the inhaler in case I would ever need it. And that day I did! How Michelle knew what to use and why we should use it to this day I have no idea. But it worked. It somehow relaxed my breathing mechanism enough to allow a couple of precious breaths of air.
Like many things in life this taught me a precious lesson. When things are going great and you are in your stride anything can happen so be prepared to face down adversity. You need to tackle it head on and be strong. Anything is possible!