Breathe

I would start with line from a song. (But I couldn’t choose from the 76 songs just entitled “Breathe!”) Holy Cow, breathing easily and without labor is not something I take for granted anymore! Those who are on oxygen can sympathize.

I experienced oxygen, a ventilator, and I possessed a ‘wonderful’ trachea after the stroke. (Wonderful is a sarcastic term, but it did successfully keep me alive so I can’t totally dis that God-forsaken contraption.) I know what it’s like to struggle for every breath. The ventilator assisted me at first. While I was on oxygen and the trach, I was tethered to that cumbersome tank. Lines, tubes, tanks, machines. Seriously, it was a three-ring circus. Luckily, I had a few Respiratory Therapists who were gung ho and tapered me off quickly. 

I had the trach (a hole in my neck with pipey-tube stuck in it) for four and a half months, and I prayed the incessant coughing would just stop. With a trach, I followed an approximately twenty minute cycle of clear and smooth breathing to increasingly mucused clogged, making the intake of oxygen difficult to impossible until I would either cough it out or, at the worst, I called them to manually clear it out. I would wait for help while fighting to draw in air. (Ughhh! Not a pleasant process! Not to mention the strap choking you to keep it on!)

When the clueless doctor told me near the first of December, (in 2016,) I would have it many more months. He triggered my stubborn obstinance. (I couldn’t speak with it, but the actual words on my lips were, “Baloney!”) From that day on, I self-started the ‘Trial,’ which meant I was required to wear it totally capped shut for three days with no clearing or any assistance. (Not an easy task!) If I could successfully do that, they would yank it out. You forget how to breathe by yourself when you have a piece of plastic helping for months. About a day into wearing a cap, completely closing the airway, frequently coughing it off, and shooting it across the room, the Therapist said, “Oh, you are serious about this!” She told me there was a trach cap that screwed on. (Thanks for that!) She officially started the ‘Trial.’ So really, I endured five days with the weekend. It was not a walk in park, but I was going to prove that doc wrong. Sometimes I came close to quitting and giving up, but I was h—-bent on getting it removed and returning to a facility near home before Christmas. When they did remove it they covered it with a bandage, and I would have to hold it or the bandage would raise up and down. I felt like a frog! 


I guess if breathing means that much – you’ll do anything.

Now, about a year and a half later, my breathing is quite normal, but a bit on the shallow side. Every so often I take a huge catch-up breath. It sounds like I’m sighing. (I am not exasperated or bored. I’m just taking a big breath. Sometimes it might be mid-sentence. That can be awkward.) I must be careful when I eat, and occasionally I cough for no reason. (I suspect it’s due to a trach scar inside my throat.)

Therefore, every breath I take is appreciated. It’s a blessing from my Heavenly Father. My friend calls the trach scar an ‘Angel Kiss.’ I think she’s right.


Don’t take your breaths for granted.

Consider the Lilies – 6/20/17

As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the people who have gathered around. In Matthew 6, He is telling them that God loves and provides for everyone in His own way. Verse 28 says, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, (it’s a parable) how they grow; they toil not, nor do they spin.” 

There are many theories regarding this verse. But I learned spinning thread was a large task of daily life at this time, and He was referring to wildflowers in general, which are mainly purple in that region. Jesus always spoke in terms the masses would understand. He was endeavoring to teach the people of God’s unconditional love for flowers in the field, birds in the air, sheep in the meadow, and all the way up to us. He blesses those “lilies” with sunlight, nutrients in the soil, and rain from the sky. (They don’t do much, just grow.) But if He cares for such inane objects and gives them beauty (for nothing,) how much more do you think He cares for His spirit children?  

Part of the song goes: “He feeds the lambs in His fold (we are the lambs,) And He will heal those who trust him, And make their hearts as gold.” I venture to say our trials, big or small, are hard for our Heavenly Father to watch. (Just like a parent begrudgingly utilizes tough love.) But we agreed to come to earth, and be tested. (We signed up for this.) Some tests are more difficult than others. That’s how we grow, and become valuable, like gold. That’s how we prove ourselves to Him. Our Heavenly Father blesses each one of us according to our needs. We all get certain blessings and others are added based on our dedication (and trust) in Him and His Son like healing, for example.

There were early inspirational versions based on this scripture, but this song’s lyrics were written in 1980 by a gospel singer through the Spirit and out of appreciation. Roger Hoffman, the songwriter, explains his feelings toward the song, “This is the way of the Master. He tells us plainly that he has given us weakness to bring us to him. When we come unto him, he teaches, counsels, and heals us, replacing evil with good, pouring himself into us, a spiritual transfusion where his light replaces our darkness. The light he has put into us works its way through everything we know and feel and draws us to yet greater light.” (Heavy, but I believe it.) The Mormon Tabernacle choir has embraced this song and sing it often. I think it’s the best version.

I know that the wonderful blessings I am given come from God, our Heavenly Father. The lilies are blessed. The birds are blessed. And we are truly blessed. 

I have looked around myself and understand the tender mercies in my behalf, and I am humbled by the great love He has for me. (I suggest you look and see your blessings, too.)

I will always appreciate and adore this song. (And I will never gaze upon lilies the same way again!)