Thursday, August 09, 2007

It Only Hurts When I Breathe

I don't know if it's the weather with its muggy stuffy air or my health deteriorating, but lately I've been having trouble breathing. That may have come off too sharp. It could be all in my head, but as I take deep breaths, I don't find my inhalations all that satisfying. It's like I'm taking breaths right up against a cardboard box. It's stuffy and I feel like I can't breathe at all.

Today, we helped Timotei's long time friend and commuter buddy Mr. Mikey buy and deliver a bed from CostCo. Before the task, he treated Timotei and me to dinner at Curry House where I destroyed my plate and felt oh so stuffed. Then after we loaded up the bed in the bed, while sitting in the backseat of the truck, I had the strongest feeling of claustrophobia in my entire life (and that is no exaggeration). In the backseat, the side windows were open, but I could not feel any air. The front seats sat right near my frontside, leaving little room in the back. The mattress covered the rear window behind me. My stomach hurt as I felt overstuffed to my throat with food. These factors, plus oddly enough, the fact that my hands were dirty, built up an incredibly scary sensation of crawling in my skin; I felt the need to just jump out of the car or I would jump out of my skin. I needed to scream because I could not breathe. I had to claw off my feet because they felt like they were caked in blocks of cement and I had been tossed off a cliff into the deep ocean; suffocating. I was seriously having a breakdown and it's giving me an anxiety attack just thinking about it again.

I asked Timotei to turn the air conditioner on so that some breathable air would find me. It only helped slightly. I still felt the need to stretch out and scream; to escape. I kicked off my shoes and laid my legs out across the backseat bench, which seemed to work; to calm me down. I focused on taking in the very nice, cool air; focused on a breathing pattern. Is this what asthma attacks are like?

I felt that I was okay again. Luckily the ride was on the short side or else I would have probably thrown myself out the back window and into oncoming cars. Things were getting back to normal until Timotei, as always, shut the air conditioner off 1/2 mile from our house (he does this as a habit because leaving it on when the car is turned off makes the air smell). I knew at once that he had done it because suddenly I could not breathe again. Instead of punching myself in the face, I shut my eyes and beared the minute left in the drive.

I made it through okay, but this feeling scares me. What could this possibly mean? I noticed this irregular breathing weeks ago, but thought nothing of it really. Yet in Mammoth, where the air is crisp and biting, I felt that I was breathing perfectly fine again. It's got to be the air quality here mixed with the Summer humidity. But whatever the case, I hope to never feel that sort of anxiety again.

Waiting to exhale,