Still Here – Another Breath Of Life

Still Here…..

Well here we are, the afternoon of 21st December 2012, and well, here we are!

According to the ancient Mayan calendar, the world should have ended this morning at 11.11am UK time, and we should all be dead.

For some of us that is very close to home.

For all the poor souls that got killed in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday, and for their families the world has ended.

They sent their children and loved ones off to school, that Friday morning, to a place of safety and for 26 families their loved ones never returned.

How will they cope with this?

How can they cope with this?

As I looked at the pictures of the children that they showed on the TV, their eyes and faces bright with the light of life and living, full of promise, I couldn’t even start to contemplate the hurt and pain they must be feeling.

For them Christmas will never be the same, and whatever your belief, just think about them on Christmas Day as we all sit around the table laughing and opening our presents, because for those 26 families it will be the hardest day in their lives.

Who’s to blame??

Obviously the crazed manic that marched in to the school and started to shoot anything that moved.

The N.R.A. ?

The right to bear arms is written into the American constitution, a constitution written when America was a lawless place, and a gun was a necessity.

Fair enough, I appreciate that for some areas, it is still a lawless place, and carrying a gun for your own self protection is essential, but the killer had access to weapons that only professional soldiers should have access to.

Bushmaster rifle

Semi automatic assault rifles have no place in the public forum, they are killing machines usually used by professionals, not your every day Joe, and the time has now come to restrict access to them before something like this happens again

Another Breath of Life….

Breathing… it’s the first and last thing you do, from that first deep gulp of air to the last gasp as your body shuts down…it’s also something that we all take for granted, until something happens and you can’t do it.

For quite some time now I’ve had a flu like symptoms, which has caused me quite a few problems, shortness of breath, coughing all night, sleeping downstairs on the settee so that I could be upright, and  not  disturb my wife, so after a couple of weeks of this I went to the doctors for a bit of help, thinking he was going to say “ Sorry Seadog, you’ve got the flu, it’s a virus, there’s nothing we can do about it, sling your hook! “ .

Instead he said I had a “bad “chest infection, put me on antibiotics and told me to come back if it hadn’t cleared up…

Which it didn’t.

So 2 weeks later there I was, back at the doctors again, who this time prescribed more antibiotics, steroids and an inhaler…. and a chest x-ray “just in case”

I was still coughing violently though to be fair the steroids and anti biotics had made a bit of a difference, but it just wouldn’t clear up, so 2 weeks later, back I went.

The doc was very nice, discussed the x-ray with me (clear thank God) listened to my chest and gave me some more anti biotics and steroids… which almost did the trick!

The course finished on the 5th December, at which stage I was ok, but as the days went on, I got worse and worse, until Sunday evening when the coughing was almost too much to bear.

The more I coughed, the more I took the inhaler, the worse I got, until I just couldn’t breathe.

The only was I can describe it was it was like being so out of puff that I was heaving breathing, and being right at the top of my breath, not able to breathe in anymore or get enough air, so by now in a state of considerably mounting panic, we called the emergency services, as I honestly thought that this was it.. The Mayan end of the world was correct, just a week (is) out, and all my questions about heaven and hell were soon to be answered.

The paramedics were brilliant, they gave me oxygen and nebulisers a machine that creates a mist of chemicals that opened the airways ) and stabilised me for an hour before popping me onto a trolley and taking to the local hospital, where they gave me more oxygen and drugs to open my airways.

After a few hours, my breathing had settled and I started to cough again, which made me breathless again so to cut a long story short they kept me in for 3 days when they let me out again, not cured, but certainly better off than when I went in, with the diagnosis of acute Bronchitis as a complication of the chest infection that I had.

Apparently because my bronchial tubes were inflamed, my lungs were producing loads of stuff to help to calm the inflammation down, which because my airways were narrowed, I couldn’t cough up as the stuff was too thick to pass through the tubes, so every time I coughed, I was blocking my airways and reducing my lung capacity so much so I couldn’t breath.

I’ve never had anything like this before, and the ability to breathe (out of water) is something that I‘ve just taken for granted.

I’m now on inhalers that I have to take morning and evening though a spacer device, watching my peak flow rate (a measure of how much puff I’ve got) and waiting for hospital appointments various specialists to see whether or not it is / was bronchitis or maybe Asthma, with the instructions “if you have problems breathing, get to hospital straight away”

When I was at school (along long time ago) there were kids there with bronchitis and Asthma… we all used to make fun of them, it  wasn’t a serious thing ho ho ho , but how must they have felt then, knowing that maybe the next breath might be nearly the last?

For me, my stay in hospital was ok. The doctors sorted me out, kept me in for a few days enforced rest and fed and watered me regularly.

Some of the food wasn’t up to much, and we won’t talk about the tea, but for 40 years I’ve been paying my National Insurance, and when the time came, I got looked after., so a big THANK YOU to the staff in the wards, and to Britain’s N.H.S. which sometimes (correctly) gets criticised heavily for lack of care and other issues not for right now.

Diagnosis wise my moneys on the bronchitis as I’ve been lucky and never had Asthma, or hay fever or really anything like that ( which is what made it so terrifying that Sunday night ) and I’m hoping that when I get to the chest specialist, he is going to give me the all clear, but it has made me think.

It’s made me think of a lot of things, sitting there on the ward surrounded by seriously ill people, some of whom were given the news that their next stop was either a hospice or somewhere to die, but the main one is that after all the trauma of last year and the upset of my Mum dying, despite the feeling of utter desolation and the depths of despair that nearly took me to the gates of hell, when push came to shove, and the choice to breathe or not to breathe had to be made, I chose life.

Perhaps this brush with the grim reaper is a watershed for me, an acceptance of life and death, and an appreciation that really, whatever you do, when your time is up, your time is up, and sadly for my dear mum, 14th July 2011 was HER time, and there was nothing I could have done about it.


I will always miss her and life won’t ever be the same without her, but life is just that … life.

Which is a whole lot more than 20 children and 6 teachers in Newtown  have today.

God rest their souls, may they rest in peace, heaven has got 20 more angels now.



2 responses to “Still Here – Another Breath Of Life

  1. Wonderful post, Nick. I do hope you’re on the mend now. I know things must still be hard for you, but Merry Christmas, my dear friend. *big tight hug* xx

  2. Pingback: Getting to know you – Canon John Redford | Introspection

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