Monday, April 18, 2011

Breathing Lessons

written by Stephie Goldfish

Today, I have both sliding glass doors open to let in fresh air. The doors open to a sunny view of the garden and I hear the water bubbling in the fountain.

I lay down after having wanted to write. I had gotten discouraged after I told my sister, Kim, not to read aloud. She, at the same time I was going to write, had wanted to read aloud from the Bible, Psalms 83:1-18. But I got upset.

“Don’t read out loud,” I said, “It will distract me from what I want to write!”

So I ended up lying down, and my sister went to the other room to read.

I felt bad.

“What have I got to say that’s more important than Jehovah God?” I thought.


Lately, when I lie down and try to sleep, my breathing has become labored. I start making sounds, as I am closer to sleep, which sounds like someone crying, or more like dying.

Last night, Kim woke me up and she was scared to death.

“Steph, you need to put on your oxygen!" she said. "You’re scaring me the way you’re breathing. It’s the worse I’ve ever heard you breathe. It’s worse than grandma’s used to be, and it’s worrying me.”

“Would you like me to get your oxygen tubing for you?” she asked.

And she went right away to get it for me, cleaning off the area with alcohol that goes into my nostrils. I immediately felt relief, and my breathing was quieter, and I no longer made gasping sounds.


Today, as I lay down, I was back to my normal labored breathing and making sounds, as if I wanted to cry. And something reminded me of my brother, Michael. When I was there with him at his deathbed he was breathing laboriously, making the same sounds similar to mine.

I opened my eyes, and felt a little sad, and wondered if this is a sign of impending death.

One moment, while I was with Michael, his nurse had come in and tried to make him more comfortable. And I asked her about Mike’s position of his arms and hands. I worried whether or not they were in a comfortable position.

And his nurse said, “He likes to keep his hands and arms in that position,” but she didn’t know why.

He had his arms folded on his chest. One of his hands was up around his neck, and was pushing on the area around his esophagus. It seemed this was helping him to breathe easier.


I continued lying down, and my breathing became once again labored.

So, I thought of going to put on my oxygen cannula, but felt too tired to even move. I immediately thought of trying to do what Mike had done, and I positioned my hands near my throat and esophagus, and I pushed in. I at once felt relief. My heavy labored breathing stopped.

I quieted down, and felt peaceful. I could easily breathe now.

I thought of Mike and how he must have been trying to get air and find comfort and relief from the gurgling sounds and pressure on his lungs and heart.

And this revelation comes as a sad note to my heart and soul.

Am I slowly dying, in a real physical way, as we all are dying, really, in a physical way?

But this scares me too. I know that there are things that will help me to live longer, and help me have a more quality of life.


I got up to write this down.

Kim came in from where she had been reading. She began making her another German hotdog.

And, in her sardonic sense of humor, trying to break the ice after our breach, said, “Van Gogh at Saint-Rémy!”

I breathed a sigh of relief, and we both began laughing out loud.

Sharing a PlayDate with Laura over at The Wellspring

The Wellspring
Also, linking up with Cheryl over at Culture Smith Consulting in her Simplify Journey.

Culture Smith Consulting


  1. Stephanie! Yay! I can comment here! When did you do the remodel? I'm so glad. It feels good to leave a thought for you :).

    Though, I have to say, this post makes me worry. I do hope you are in touch with your dr. and are staying on top of things. I fear for you, friend. Please take good care of yourself. I am glad that Papa God was there with you to comfort you. Even our moments of fear can be a special place when He is there, can't they?

    I will be praying for you.

    Adding this new place to my follows!

  2. Laura, I'm so glad you left a comment. I didn't expect it so soon :) Thank you!

    I'm scheduled to see my specialists tomorrow. I've been trying to stay on top of things, and need to be better at them.

    Yes, Laura, I know God was there for me and has been there always to bring comfort and a lasting hope no matter what happens.

    Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers! You've been a source of comfort to me in your writing :) Take care of yourself as well. You'll be in my prayers too.

  3. We used to sing a song, "Let Him breathe on me, Let the breath of God, now breathe on me!” Myself, I breathe pretty normally, but my husband does have a problem, so I do understand a bit. I liked the part where you found comfort in placing your arms and hands in the manner that your brother found that it helped him. My prayers are with you!

  4. Breathe is one of my words for 2011, so this post is particularly meaningful for me.

    I'm sorry this has been such a difficult time. I don't know the extent of your illness (is that even right), but will be praying. How did your appointment with the specialist go this week?