Monday, July 13, 2009

Taboo and Trauma

Last night the four of us gathered in the kitchen for a mega tournament of Taboo. (My favorite game.) It was the males vs. the females and although Sarah and I took off with a strong lead, the males eventually came back to beat us by a few points. (It was nothin' but luck!)

Nathan was amazed and annoyed in turn by the "feminine mind link" that he claimed Sarah and I had going on. She could say just four or five words as a clue and I would instantly know the answer.

Nathan kept on saying, "How you do you guys DO that?"

Sarah and I would just give each other our secretive smiles and do an occasional fist bump in celebration of the amazing, intuitive female brain.

Although we will probably mix up the teams in a little in future games, one thing that we will never do in a family Taboo game is to put Steve and I on the same team; he and I are downright "scary good" when we play together. Having been married almost twenty eight years, we have our verbal shorthand down to a science and that comes in really handy in a game where you have to communicate a lot of information with minimal words.

So anyway (I AM going somewhere with this post, believe it or not), we were having such a great time playing last night; there were shrieks, yells, hoots of laughter, and plenty of fist bumps and good natured teasing to go around.

At one point in the evening when I was giving the clues to Sarah, we got so raucous that the game broke down into complete, unmitigated chaos. I had given an absolutely ridiculous clue to Sarah and to everyone's great amazement she got the answer correct, which just added to the general mood of mirth and merriment.

You know how you sometimes get to laughing so hard you can't breathe? Well, that's about the place we were at. And I've been there many times in the past--it's a fun, hysterical place to be until eventually everyone settles down and gets back to whatever was so funny in the first place.


Except for last night. Last night was different.

Because last night when I got to laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe, well, I really couldn't breathe. All evening I had been noticing a sort of funny feeling in my lungs and when the waves of laughter hit, and my lungs were pushed into doing that extra work, they just sort of rebelled.

The air got sucked out of the room.

The laughter vanished in an instant.

Steve came crashing around to the back of the table where I was sitting beside Nathan and tried to talk me through some pursed lip breathing. I managed to tell him to get my rescue inhaler from the kitchen cupboard but once I had that in my hand, I was having trouble taking a deep enough breath in order to use it.

Things got kind of wild there for about thirty seconds and when I was finally able to focus in on the room again, the first thing I saw was Sarah's stricken face and the tears in her eyes. Nathan was patting my arm and looking traumatized and Steve was rubbing my shoulders and saying loving, calming things.

By that point I had tears streaming down my face from a combination of laughter, trauma, and crying. Not a pretty picture, I assure you.

After we had sat and caught our literal and figurative breath for a few minutes, I insisted we keep on playing. I sure didn't want to end a fun family night on such a low note. The kids said, "Are you sure you can keep playing. Mom?" and in response, I repeated the funny clue that had started the whole brouhaha in the first place.

They grinned in relief, obviously figuring that if Mom's sense of humor was still working she was gonna be okay.

And so we played another half hour and although it was a bit more sober than the first part of the evening, it was still a sweet time to spend together.

Now lest any of you start worrying too much, I was never at a point where I felt like my life was in danger and we were not on the verge of calling 911. It was just a quickly passing, fairly scary episode.

But as I told Steve, it really hit me hard emotionally because it's the first time that COPD has really entered my everyday life. I know it affects me all the time when it comes to going to the gym and taking a walk and doing active, physical stuff but it has never before intruded on my real life, my "day-to-day working and playing with my family" life.

Going from merry mayhem to borderline panic in the space of a few seconds--that was all courtesy of COPD. It reached out its long fingers and made its presence known in a way it never had before. And it wasn't fun.

Not being able to breathe easily isn't fun. In fact, it's downright scary.

And what's so discouraging about this whole thing is that as a life long nonsmoker, I should never have gotten COPD in the first place!

But it is what it is.

I have COPD and it's probably not going to get better.

I have COPD but I also have a family who loves me enough to cry real tears over my real trauma. And that kind of family can get this kind of gal through a whole lot of tough stuff.

Taboo and trauma.

Both seem to bring out the best in this family.


12 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

That is so scary! Your struggle with COPD has moved me to action. I have had a cough for about 12 weeks, and since I've had two colds in that time I haven't worried too much about it. But the colds are gone, the cough is still there, and I feel a rattle/squeak sometimes when I breathe deeply. After reading about chronic bronchitis and its links to COPD, and thinking about your difficulties, I made an appointment to see the doctor on Wednesday. And that's before I read this story! Thanks for sharing everything with us.

Rachael said...

I am so sorry that COPD is affecting your life. I have emailed you before about my sister-in-law with LAM disease and just wanted to let you know she is doing fabulously now. She had a lung transplant in December and it went perfectly. She was even doing so well that she was able to get out of rehab early. Now she is living her life the way she wants to. I hope all goes well for you.

Pam D said...

I was hoping that the Taboo was the game. I was hoping, also, that the Trauma wasn't real, either. I'm sorry, Becky. I had pnuemonia several years back and had an episode where everything closed up and I couldn't get breath into my lungs. It was truly one of the scariest times of my life. Adam has had croup to the point of having to go to the ER.. definitely right up there on "scariest times" list. Breathing=Life. So not breathing? Is not good. And after all that my MIL went through, I truly do feel your pain on this one. Actually, I guess I feel more of Steve's, Nathan's, and Sarah's pain; watching and not being able to really help is hard.
I'm praying for answers.. and not just any old answers, but answers that bring solutions. Relief. Hope. And air.
Love you SO much....

Sue G said...

Like Pam D, I'm praying for answers, too. Answers to why you had three days of chest pains last week and then this week a bout with being unable to breathe. But for answers to come, one must ask questions...of specialists...you know, the kind of people who go to school for mega years to --can you believe it--come up with answers.

I don't like being a pest (although it obviously comes naturally to me), Becky. But as the glue that holds that precious family together, you owe it to them and to yourself to pursue those answers.

Just a thought. From a harpie. But a good friend harpie at least.

Debbie Jean said...

My hubby has COPD and is on oxygen 24/7, so I know what you are going thru. COPD is not fun. I also have asthma so I have had that feeling before, Very scary!! Take care of yourself, Becky!! Maybe it's time to call your pulmonologist. You and the family are in my prayers.

God bless~
Debbie Jean

Anonymous said...

Alright, NOW I'm going into full worry mode. I'm also going into my full blown bossy mode and telling you that you had better get to a Dr somewhere and have them take a good look at you. You might also mention that you have a worried, bossy sister lurking up North and they DO NOT want to make me come down there!

Love,
deb

Sue G said...

Dear Worried Bossy Sister Living Up North:

You go, girl.

And, Becky, now YOU go, girl. And get some answers.

Lesley said...

Wow Becky, what a scare for you all. I find that with most of my patients with COPD, the anxiety about the difficulty breathing is as much of a problem as the actual breathing issues.
Just wanted you to be aware that the mental anxiety may need to be addressed in the future as well.
I am hoping your 'trauma' does not repeat itself anytime soon.
Hugs....

Anonymous said...

I am also worried this is tied to last weeks heart pain. Pulmonary Embolism comes to mind as one thing that both symptoms could be. At least call your Dr and ask to speak with a nurse. Keeping you in my prayers as always. Jill

diary-in-ds.livejournal.com said...

(((HUGS))) Becky... how scary. I can relate to the breathing a little, in that I have adult-onset (I'm 24!?!) asthma that at times becomes very frightening. I can't imagine the added upset of wanting to shield your spouse and children from it, and the heavy feeling of knowing you didn't "ask" for COPD, and not knowing what the progression will look like.

I can relate to being over-doctorfied. Once you've gone in several times for different tests etc... and you've gotten the "all clear" a few times around, sometimes people find it hard to understand why you wouldn't want to double/triple/quadrupple check - again when you have new symptoms. With the added burden of paying for medical stuff (I'm Canadian), I can only guess that would make it even less appealing.

Please do take care of yourself. You know your body - you know the alarms. If you have "that feeling" then do please get in and check things out. In the mean time, keep those inhalers and phone with a speed dial close by. I'm sure it must help to have your family home more during this, security wise.

Take care, thinking of you, and wishing you better days!

Nancy said...

Becky
You yourself are a warrior. I can only imagine the panic and fear you must have had. I hop eyou are okay now.
My love always
Nancy

Chill said...

The Lord has brought you through many tough times and I am sure He can and will bring you through this too. Praying for you guys.
Tom