Journal 09/14/08: "The Most Unappreciated Thing On Earth"

11:20 a.m.= Late morning,  very late. I have two of my apartment windows open, to catch some of the changing breezes that accompany the seasonal move into autumn.  When I stood up, I heard the sound of something being knocked over.  Nothing big, just  a light silver-colored long tube that harbored my incense sticks.  Quite a nice ornament for my bigger window collection.  Since I detest gaudy ornaments and prefer subtle yet smaller pieces, I had set that tall slim cannister of quietly-spoken beauty upon the bigger windowsill months ago.  I don't know, it just seemed to fit there.  But the wind gust was too strong for that light weight cannister, so it laid upon its side until I walked over there and set it back upright.

Hmph, the wind:  How refreshing it can be.  And how deadly.  I've been on both ends. The rejuvenation I'm granted when a light to medium breeze gently kisses my skin on a humid day is both priceless and timeless, provided I am open enough to appreciate it. And, my body's been impolitely moved from one spot to the other  by the howling gusts coming from the tail-end of a tornado.

Ah yes, memories, breathing in particular:  I was living in Florida, if You want to call it "living." I was in a hospital operating room, already prepared for a minor procedure.  Sodium pentathol was going to be used.  The anesthesiologist had shot some liquid into the I.V. line, to clear it of any air.  Then I was moved aside for a few moments.  I began to feel very strange.  My eyelids started fluttering, and I felt like they were being filled with water for some reason.  Then my eyelids started to close as I sank down into my hospital bed, and I could not control my own body.  This was both a new feeling and a frightening one, for I could not stop myself.  At first, I thought that perhaps the anesthesiologist had given me some sort of tranquilizer.  But the next terrifying moment told me that it wasn't valium or some other anti-anxiety drug.  The air was actually leaving my body, quickly seeping out of my lungs.  Though I felt myself running out of air, there was no way I could hold it in; it's as if  some unseen giant vacuum were sucking it out of me.  Then, there was no air at all.I began to panic, of course; this was a sensation totally foreign to me, since I've never experienced my lungs unable to function.  I might have died, had I not taken one of my feet and fervently pounded on the bedpost, which seemed the best way to call for help.  Both my physician and the anesthesiologist came over to investigate the pounding.  They saw me clutching at my throat, mouthing the words "I can't breathe!"   These two dumb fucks just stood there, as if I were making this all up.  Could they not understand that I literally could not breathe?  What kind of medical education or training did they possess that made them this stupid?  Suddenly, this invisible giant vacuum put air back into my lungs, the eyelids stopped fluttering, and within 30 seconds my body was back to normal.  After I had told them what happened, I was furious with these two arrogant apes for suggesting that what I was going through was only anxiety.  I think I was practically screaming at them.  At that point, I insisted that the procedure end here, that I be taken back to my hospital room.  Later on, I attempted to complain; I stated that the anesthesiologist was seriously screwed up, that this won't happen again.  I can't remember if they assigned another anesthesiologist to me or not--the procedure was re-scheduled--, but the next one didn't inject that liquid into my line again, as per my vehement insistence.

Truly:  That experience eleven years ago was a time when the next breath meant more to me than silver or gold.

Most people are brought up to treat air as something to be taken for granted. Air is just there, why should I be grateful?  This is what most of us think; no one rarely stops to inhale its precious life force deeply, then thank the air for blessing them as it leaves their body and moves along to the next person, hoping that they, too, will appreciate it, and let it come inside.

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