Friday was the Studio Concert. The turn-out was great; Eskom (despite threats) spared us with load-shedding, and our top-it-off surprise at the end, a friend of mine who is a Spanish dance instructor, went down exceptionally well. The finger-food of the reception was not too shabby either; brought as always by the participants, and they had not skimped!
This system works well. The next event for the Studio should be either a Ceilidh or a house concert with advanced performances only and an entry charge. We’re probably looking at mid-winter.
And so, on Sunday with fresh enthusiasm and the pressure that this had to happen before exams started for the kids (which was today), I dove into the “spider room” to start clearing – and the dust attacked me. I got a massive case of what I can only imagine must be asthma. My lungs closed up so badly that I felt as though I were breathing water; and it stayed like that through the night, getting worse every time I tried getting up and moving around (of course, if one isn’t getting enough oxygen, raising the body’s demand for oxygen is not wise). I was still basically choking by noon today, when Hubbs returned from his “rounds” and brought me an asthavent.
The stuff is magic. Nothing else worked; it (salbutamol sulphate, not everything you can’t pronounce is bad for you, some of them save lives) instantly opened the tightly-shut little alveoli, allowing oxygen in where it needed to go again.
An asthmatic’s lung apparently always feels “full” (well, mine did, so I understood what asthmatic friends and fam had told me before), as though you can’t breathe out, and breathing in is not the problem. And that is exactly what happens. The air is trapped in the alveoli (those “grape clusters”), because the pipes leading to them are swollen shut, or almost shut. This air is used up and gets very stale. The CO2 content triggers the “take a breath alert” of your body, non-stop; but it doesn’t help breathing, because the oxygen isn’t going where it should, and the CO2 isn’t budging, and no matter how you hyperventilate, it does nothing. The scariest, most panicky sensation next to, probably, actual drowning.
I feel so sorry for my son who is an asthmatic since he was eight. I’m still not sure if there is something I could have done to prevent it.
Anyway, that salbutamol makes one shaky and a bit confused. So once I had my breath back, I didn’t get anything decent done today anyway. It’s the weirdest thing just sitting and breathing, and focusing on staying alive; and the relief of having your lungs open again is so massive it sort-of wipes you out.
Moral of the story: Never tackle a spider room unarmed, or alone. Next time I’ll go in with reinforcements.