We’re Stronger Than We Know

Sometimes, it takes an emergency for us to find out.

Karen Schwartz

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I know I’m anything but special, but life has given me lots to deal with over these past few years. I no longer see these concerns as problems, more like opportunities, but I wish these opportunities would stop for a while so I could stop and catch my breath.

Most of these issues have dealt with health. Mainly concerning my husband. While I’m a very nervous patient, being a caregiver to someone you love is nearly as worrisome.

On Saturday night, Ed couldn’t breathe. I called 911, searching for immediate help, but the service put me in a queue. How does this happen? We’re taught the emergency number is there for us in case of an emergency. We never think when we need it, we may have to wait.

My heart raced as Ed’s throat closed because of his COPD and a recent physical trauma to his chest. But something miraculous happened. I knew what to do and jumped into action, keeping him calm and warm as his body moved into shock.

When emergency services answered, likely three minutes later, Ed’s puffers had taken effect. Still gasping, the air was finally getting through.

The paramedics attended to him. Ed’s recent trauma to his chest prevented him from taking his rescue inhalers until gasping for air gave him the adrenaline rush he needed to dull the pain. That’s how I helped. I found for him his hidden medication, reassured him, and kept him from shock. The EMT gave him more blasts from a puffer and a chamber to keep and use in the coming days.

Ed opted not to go to the hospital, as his symptoms had subsided. We understood no medical treatment existed for a hairline fracture, an issue the paramedic stated was possibly first missed. Ed opted to hop into bed to sleep away one of the scariest moments of his life.

Yesterday, he was better; today, not so much. It’s a roller coaster of highs and lows, ups and downs. It’s a terrifying ride.

A few months ago, I took a first aid course at work and decided I could never save someone’s life. I believed my mind would swirl and forget all the training, but I was wrong. When a loved one’s life depends on you, logic steps in. Or maybe the training leapt from my subconscious. I’ll never know. But I did what I needed to do to bring Ed back to health in the moments that counted.

The paramedics sealed the deal.

We are stronger than we think. Know more than we think we know. Are capable of things we never thought possible.

Never sell yourself short.

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Karen Schwartz

Fictional writer, poet and personal essayist, kindness specialist, and lover of chocolate. Top writer in creativity.