I am still amazed at how quickly things go very wrong. My breathing was fine and I was laughing and it feels like seconds later my chest had an anaconda wrapped around it and I was choking. Chris was sat at his desk two metres away engrossed in his raid and I had to whisper him and say ‘blue inhaler’ as I just couldn’t make it work. I was panicking and fumbling and dislocating stuff and still I couldn’t breathe. Inhaler was useless, couldn’t breathe in at all. And then I realized that I had reached that moment of calm. I am being rolled by that gigantic invisible wave and there was no air. I was drowning. I whisper Chris in-game “adrenaline shot now”. I whisper a guild officer “breathing problems need a minute”. I don’t bother trying to say anything on Skype, when the wheezing stops suddenly, everybody knows it’s gone from bad to awfully serious. I am still insisting that I can play and not-breathe. I almost downed Illidan last night and do not want to go. I fool myself into thinking that this happens often enough to make it less serious. Sure I’m allowed to get used to something that happens once a week? Surely I’m fine afterwards every time, so why panic? Surely breathing isn’t really that important?
My husband has the presence of mind to stab my right thigh rather than my still-bruised-from-the-last injection left thigh. He’s also finally perfected the art of doing it when I am not flinching away and using just the right amount of pressure. I dc. Great timing. Log back in whilst waiting for adrenalin to take effect. I hit my afk button on realizing that the shot is not kicking in. I’m whispered “rez please”. I reply “moving away from computer, having breathing problems”. Then I realize that it’s been too long and the adrenalin shot is not kicking in. I panic. The adrenaline shot is not kicking in. Second shot? Not after the violent post-shot reaction I had last week. I turn blue and Chris calls an ambulance, logs me out of WoW, logs himself out of WoW and says on vent ‘have to go, calling an ambulance’. At this moment, it suddenly becomes real. I can’t breathe, I can’t talk, I can’t move, I am most definitely panicking and the ocean of eternal calm is suddenly there, seducing me. I want to just not worry. I want to drown so that I no longer feel this unquenchable thirst for air. I want to let go.
Paramedic arrives shortly with his bag of goodies. Very nice paramedic. Does everything he is suppose to do and more. I worry more about the paramedic that I worry about my breathing. I have a rare medical condition that people can’t even spell. Any serious medical conditions? he asks. I can’t talk. Brittle asthma, Chris says. I have asthma, paramedic replies. Great, I think, just great, one of those that don’t make the distinction. Need an adrenalin shot to jump start your breathing? I don’t think so. I do. Please understand that. Please. Anything else? Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Chris says. EDS. Eyes furrow. Oh boy.IgA Nephropathy, Chris says. Blank stare. Not good at all. More frowning. Supraventricular Tachycardia, SVT, Chris says. Eyes light up. “That one I know”, he says. We stop there. I refuse to ramble off a laundry list of secondary diagnoses. I have EDS which creates complications. These are relevent for this visit. No need to overcomplicate matters.
Nebuliser out and oxygen cylinder out. ECG out. Pulse oximeter out. BP cuff on. One hour and two doses of nebulised medication later and I can talk. Amazing. I can laugh. Even better. I dislocate my wrist. Good thing we talked a little about EDS already. I stick out my arm. Chris, whilst chatting away, walks around the couch, sits down and reduces it. Paramedic watches intently. Apologises for staring and says ‘Its not that I’m staring, it’s just… interesting. Neat trick that. Learn something new every day.” Great stuff, teaching the paramedic who is not allowed to reduce joints how to pop wrists back in. Such as silly restriction. Sats remain above 90%. Above 95% would be better, but wishful thinking with my medical history. Nice paramedic asks if I think that I’m okay or whether I’d still like the ambulance. I vehemently say that I am okay. I can talk, I can breathe, I am fine. No ambulance, no hospital. Please. He makes me promise to call sooner next time and to call back if my breathing worsens during the night. I promise, smile politely, sign the paperwork and watch him leave with great relief.
I don’t like calling an ambulance. I enjoy the realization that I need to call an ambulance even less. I really hated having to abruptly leave a raid group without much of an explanation. It’s not something I do lightly or with ease, but it’s also not something I have a great deal of choice in. We could have tried to wait it out, but it may have gotten worse and not better and that could be fatal. We could have tried to drive down to A&E, a 30 minute drive at best and if it got worse, it would be worse within much less than 30 minutes. We called an ambulance. I was treated on site. I was reassured multiple times that I have a real medical condition that is being taken seriously and I really should be calling an ambulance every time this happens and preferably a little sooner. I don’t like crises mode. I don’t like the attention and I don’t like the fuss. But I realized tonight that both the fuss and attention is preferable over the alternative. I may not like the attention, but when the nebulizer were glued to my face and the ocean retreated as Chris sat stroking my back and the nice paramedic watched intently, I was really greatful to be alive, conscious and breathing.