I was called to Laura’s school yesterday morning to give her a breathing treatment, which was disconcerting. Her teacher made it sound very urgent, as if she was gasping for breath. Usually when Laura is having a hard time breathing, she just coughs a very short, barky cough, and is never short of breath. In fact, the cough is so annoying that I selfishly find myself wishing that she had a different symptom. Horrible, right? But the Army Man can back me up on this-it’s grating and slowly chips away at your sanity. Just when you think she's done coughing, nope, here comes another one! The cough pits people against each other. Grown adults find themselves wanting to do things like run into traffic, jump off the roof, or at the very least go clean the bathroom, just to escape the cough.
So when I arrived at school (in rainy 39 degree weather with soaking wet hair, I might add) I was panicking. Was it going to be as bad as my breathing gets when I have an asthma attack? Was Laura going need to go to the hospital? I rushed in and found Laura calmly getting ready for snack time. Her teacher had a somewhat crazed look in her eyes as she told me, “She has been coughing ALL morning”. All of the sudden it clicked. The teacher couldn’t handle the coughing. She was willing to do anything to make it stop, even if that meant calling me away from the shower and my errands, and not giving me time to get ready for lunch with the Army Man. I understood her pain, although it meant that I then had to go to my fancy lunch with the Army Man while wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, with soaking wet hair. After I gave Laura the breathing treatment, the coughing subsided somewhat (it usually seems to last another hour or so) and I went on my way.
As I drove off, I wondered to myself: Who will save me from the coughing?