It’s been over a year and a half since my dearfriend had her out-patient procedure. The one that gave us the words that we go back to and use with each other so much.
She went in to have the procedure and was put under anesthesia. She doesn’t remember a thing until she started waking up. She was in some sort of recovery room and hadn’t come fully to yet. The nurse was doing things to take care of her and encouraging a person named Shirley at the same time. As the nurse took vitals and made notes, she continued to say aloud, “Breathe, Shirley. You can do it. Breathe.”
My dearfriend, in her semi-conscious state, felt awful for this other lady in the room who was having a very difficult time in recovery. After all, Shirley wasn’t even breathing.
And then, as she came to even more, it hit her. The nurse was talking to her.
Only her name isn’t Shirley.
The story is a lot funnier when she tells it. (Especially the way she says, “So then I asked the nurse, ‘Are you talking to ME?'”) But most things are. She can take those everyday mundane and even hard things and have us both laughing over them by the end of the story.
I love having folks like that in my posse. Don’t you?
We have laughed and laughed over that one. There she was feeling bad for poor Shirley who wasn’t breathing well enough on her own, and turns out it was her.
Oh me. Y’all hang on, I gotta wipe my eyes from laughing so hard.
I told my Mama this story shortly after my friend shared it. We had a good chuckle over it ourselves.
And then came Mama’s HospitalStay, the one where she was on a vent and many of our days consisted with them attempting to take her off the machine that was helping her breathe. I found myself saying on more than one occasion, “Breathe Shirley. Breathe.”
That’s not my Mama’s name either, but I was hoping deep inside, beneath where she was resting so peacefully, that maybe it would stir a giggle and she’d remember and be able to breathe on her own again.
And maybe, just maybe, like my dearfriend, I was the one who needed to be reminded to breathe. Sometimes in the midst of hard times and stress and anxiety-filled days and nights, we tend to forget to do just that, don’t we? And we need to be reminded. To stop. And take a deep breath.
I have another sisterfriend who writes and shares stories about “finding balance and grace in the midst of life,” over at Centering Down. I am blessed that I get to share stories both on-line and off with her. She has a calming spirit, and she knows all about breathing. As a matter of fact, she has published her 100th post, and it is about breathing. Y’all take a minute and go read “Calming Anxiety with Breathing Techniques.” It’s good stuff, and I can attest to the fact that breathing does help with anxiety and stress. I just have to be reminded sometimes.
After all, if it’s good enough for Shirley…..well…..
Congratulations to my friend on her writing triumph. And thanks to my dearfriend who allowed me to share her story and gives me the gift of an hour with her each week while we wait for our girls–where we laugh and remind each other to breathe. And we call each other Shirley.
It’s become a term of affection now…..
Love to all.
And don’t forget to breathe.