I certainly wasn’t planning to include quite so much drama in this blog but life tends to get dramatic when you least expect it. Like in the middle of the night. Last night, I woke up twice coughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, and of course waking up my poor husband David and causing him as much panic as I was feeling as I gasped frantically for breath. Each time, after probably about a minute I was able to breathe again, but the third time, at around 5:20am, David called 911, and within a few minutes several large men dressed in yellow overalls and big heavy boots were making their way in through our front door carrying all sorts of equipment. By that time, I had found my breath again and felt bad that they’d driven a whole fire truck and a paramedic van up our cul-de-sac, but it was very reassuring having them here to check my lungs, heart rate and blood oxygen level – apparently all normal. The two paramedics who were helping me reassured me that their own wives had recently had similar coughing episodes that had eventually subsided, and that I just need to try to stay as calm as possible, since panicking increases the constriction. After I had relaxed a little, one of the fire fighters said, “Hey, I haven’t been in the house since I came to put out the fire you had. The house looks very different from back then.” He shared that he had wondered why it had seemed to take so long to rebuild the house and complemented us on how nicely it had turned out. Even though there was really nothing they could do to help with my problem they really couldn’t have been more comforting and reassuring. As they left we thanked them for coming – both this time and the last big time! – all the while hoping not to see them again for a while.
I did manage to sleep decently for a few more hours and haven’t choked all day so far (fingers crossed). When it came time to seriously consider what to give away today, I realized I wanted to give something that could provide comfort to someone else. I knew that our local police station collects stuffed toys to give to children in emergencies. I had taken Theo there to give them one of his teddy bears shortly after our fire. Today, I asked Theo to give another stuffed animal and I chose one of my own stuffed animals that I’ve had since I was a teenager, took them to the police station and handed them over to the officer there. Although our first responders are experts at helping people get through terrifying experiences like fires or floods, I hope that these toys will make the job of a fire fighter or police officer easier as they try to comfort a frightened child going through a tough and scary time.