On breathing

This is what I love about Brooklyn – turn a corner and spot a random art installation, in this case in DUMBO.

On another topic, I promised myself I wouldn’t burden you with tales of my minor oral surgery.  Oh, too late.  But it turns out my dentist and her entire staff have the warmest, most soothing bedside manner ever in the history of professional toothery.

I had pretty severe asthma when I was really little.  It’s very scary to be so little and feel incapable of drawing a breath.  Well yesterday two shots of novacaine had paralyzed the muscles in the back of my throat and my tongue, prompting not only the sensation of being unable to breathe but an imminent fear of death.

I had a panic attack. The doctor had to wheel in a tank of oxygen and put a pulse ox on my finger.  The weak-sounding “panic attack” in no way represents its visceral impact in the moment. Of course I realize now the paralysis had triggered a cellular memory of those old bouts with asthma.

I wasn’t giving much attention to my identity as a humor writer just then, but did demand the staff acknowledge that goo was pooling in my throat.  They insisted it felt like goo, but that my limp muscles were just acting extra limp.

There was goo.

I believe this discussion took place more than once.  Dr. Winter’s demeanor was steadfast and reassuring.

However, if the situation had been more serious and I’d felt my goo concerns went unheeded, I would have grabbed a notepad and written in capitals, I UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE LIMP MUSCLES AND I AM TELLING YOU THERE’S ALSO GOO, OK?

I chose my dentist based solely on the fact that we’re both named Jacqueline, an apparently excellent maneuver that I’d recommend.  So, to the compassionate caregivers, merci.

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