The other night, Life in the Boomer Lane came perilously close to joining her ancestors in the Big Shtetl in the Sky. The events were as follows:
While having a conversation with her daughter, a virus and annoying cough she has been dealing with all week triggers a severe asthmatic reaction, resulting in LBL’s inability to do anything other than gag and regret that she never went all the way with Steve Jacobs back in 1967.
Daughter takes one look at LBL’s state of distress and rushes into the master bedroom, where Now Husband is sound asleep.
“Wake up! There is something wrong with my mom! Hurry! She’s choking or something!”
Now Husband leaps out of bed, runs directly into the family room, and gives every indication of having come immediately awake in all ways except brain functioning.
“What should we do?”
“She looks like she’s choking. Are you choking, Mom?”
LBL, concentrating entirely on an inability to breathe, is unavailable for comment.
A note here to anyone who is perched on the edge of death’s abyss: Try not to listen to what anyone around you is saying, unless you can have a direct impact on the conversation.
“We have to do something.” (Daughter, getting to the heart of the matter)
“Like what?” (Now Husband lags behind)
“Maybe one of those walk in emergency clinics. They have them all over.”
“I don’t know. Everywhere.”
“Like CVS? I think they are open 24 hours.”
LBL immediately switches gears from honing in on a vague image of death to a specific one of expiring between displays of ribbed and lubricated condoms and “As Seen on TV” frying pans. She manages to choke out a word she hopes sounds like “hospital.” It arrives as “hobble.”
“I think she wants to go to the hospital.”
“I’ll call 911.”
LBL prefers to avoid 911, given she is wearing pajama bottoms decorated with dried glue, a torn tee-shirt with no bra, and, as informed by daughter several hours ago, is in possession of a strange-looking two-tone neck as the result of sloppy self-tanner application. Unable to do more than flail her arms at this moment, she flails in the direction of the street, where Now Husband’s car is parked. Now Husband, by this time in possession of a minimally acceptable number of functioning brain cells, understands.
LBL and Now Husband leave the house and head for the car. LBL recalls the last time she experienced an emergency that required a trip to the ER. Now Husband, in his concern for her welfare, had inadvertently closed the car door on her hand. This allowed LBL to shift her thoughts from having a possible blood clot in her leg to a murky future with one hand. This time, she keeps her hands hidden from view. She is able to arrive at the hospital with both hands intact.
One emergency breathing treatment, a dose of steroids, and one lung x-ray later, LBL is released from the hospital with a rescue inhaler, a prescription for Prednisone and a brief lesson from the ER nurse about successful self-tanning.
The next night, she is awakened by a coughing fit. This time the coughing is the normal kind, in which oxygen plays a part. Now Husband jumps out of bed and announces “I’m getting dressed!” LBL asks why and Now Husband tells her it is to go to the ER. LBL tells him to go back to sleep. In 10 seconds he is snoring.
LBL is grateful that she has a life partner who, even more than loving her and being devoted to her, has now hopefully learned that life threatening emergencies should be dealt with by someone other than a CVS pharmacist.