On days when the universe seems to be making things a little challenging, it can also be unexpectedly generous. This afternoon, I was out at the Science Center with Theo waiting for our friends to arrive and suddenly felt my throat tickling in a disturbing way. I have had what is probably bronchitis for the last two weeks and on several occasions, I have started coughing so hard that I can’t breathe for a frighteningly long time. I went to Urgent Care and the ER last week but was told it was a virus and I’d have to wait for it to work its way out. In the meantime, it’s pretty terrifying knowing that at any moment I could start choking from my cough. And that’s what happened today at the Science Center. The tickle in my throat built up to a cough that irritated my throat so much that I felt it constricting. I couldn’t get air through my nose either and grabbed onto Theo’s arm in a panic. As I struggled to find some air, he kept asking me if I was ok. I didn’t know what to tell him. The last few episodes had eventually passed, so I trusted this one would too and tapped on my throat the way the ER nurse had taught me when I went in last week, and my airways gradually started to open up again. Once I’d recovered my breath and composed myself, I bought a cup of tea to soothe my throat, and we went on with our visit to the Science Center, me monitoring my breathing carefully and Theo asking me if I was ok whenever I coughed.
We returned home around 5pm, me pretty exhausted. I had just told David I was a bit worried about managing my Giveaway when the doorbell rang. It was two young women from the Walter Hoving Home, a shelter in Pasadena that helps women recovering from alcohol and drugs by offering them a home, food, Christian spiritual training and various practical courses (www.walterhovinghome.com). I’ve known about this organization for years, passed by their table many times when in Pasadena, and even taken pamphlets to read about, but never given them a donation. Today, as I talked to the two young women, both currently enrolled in the Home’s recovery program trying to get their lives under control, I realized that after my ordeal today, it was time to try to help. These women had probably experienced more than a few seconds of fear for their lives, and were now taking refuge in this organization to help them feel safe again. After writing a small check, I asked if they could take a small cosmetics bag I had been saving to give to such a women’s home. They gratefully took the bag and went on their way down the street. After they left, I felt grateful to them too for allowing me to make my Giveaway and relieving me of the stress of having to think of a recipient today. It helps me breathe a little more easily, and today that means a lot.