I don’t feel as though I have much perspective right now, with the pandemic slowing our world down.
The time my mom spent in an ICU with so many breathing issues in late 2017/early 2018 is something I had compartmentalized in a sort of “medical/quality of life” box in my head. It also gave me a tremendous appreciation for respiratory therapists. I guess I had previously thought of this profession as “easy” in a way — you go to a program, get a certificate, and help people breathe better.
Now I know that it involves a blend of excellent math skills, sharp technical abilities, the energy to be dogged about finding solutions AND incredible people skills (to deal with frightened patients, alarmed family members and medical personnel who often don’t coordinate well with each other).
I know that it’s life and death (because my mom eventually died because she couldn’t breathe (not at the fault of a respiratory therapist, to be clear — I just mean I now see the stark difference between “helping someone breathe easier and helping someone stay alive”)).
I am so fortunate to still have my job (and that Wayne still has his). If anything, I feel guilty that things are so relatively easy. We aren’t being caregivers for a person with dementia right now as so many are. We don’t have little kids at home who we need to homeschool. It’s just us, going through pretty much our normal routines, deciding (me) which beer to have for our afternoon time on the porch (Wayne always has the same thing), watching “Tiger King” (I know — it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!).
But if I get this illness and can’t breathe, I know it’ll be in the hands of a respiratory therapist and the Great Physician to decide if I survive, and that makes me want to turn every day into something that’s memorable and nonroutine.
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.