The darkness as I lay in my sleeping bag on the bed of pine needles on the edge of the lake was broken by the brightness of the stars. One star caught my eye as it twinkled. I squinted slightly as my eyes were still full of sleep to see this star better and the light of it spread across the sky flashing like arms reaching to envelop me. In awe of the beauty of this vision I inhaled as if I had not been breathing for a few seconds honoring the spectacular light. The pain struck me like a bolt of lightning and my chest felt like it was on fire. Surprised by the pain I turned to reach for Bob who was not next to me.
I realized I was not in the woods by the lake but in my bed at home. The beautiful star was not shining over head only the darkness and pain remained. Again my lungs tried to expand and the immobilizing sharp pain began again. I tried to call out to Bob but there was so little air my voice was not strong enough.
My body instinctively tried again and again to breathe and the pain of a knife piercing my chest whipped through me. There was no knife as I lifted my hand to my chest to feel for any exterior cause but there was nothing. I continued to call for help. I tried to swing my legs over the side of the bed and had no strength to move my legs.
I could take tiny little bits of air in. I must be having a heart attack. I tried to call out and my little dog outside the bedroom door heard me and started whining. I felt the adrenaline rush of panic setting in. Stay calm I thought. I heard Bob come into the room and turn on the light. He could see me in my panic. I spoke in broken words as the air allowed only bits of words. "C all 9 1 1", I said grabbing bits of air between each sound. I indicated with my arms that I couldn't breathe. Knowing I don't take medication, not even aspirin, but thinking perhaps this was an exception, my dear husband brought me an aspirin. The water felt soothing as my throat felt dry. I gladly swallowed the medication. I kept breathing very shallow wisps of air and told myself I could do nothing more so I must relax and flow into this helpless state. I was going to die and I wanted to experience every last nano second of what was left and be aware of what was coming after.