Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Jag

I was thinking about my breathing limitations while writing this, and wondered if I could describe the intense distress and fear that come with having to fight your body to gulp a mouthful of air and ease the agony and the ache as first the periphery (hands, feet) feel the loss, then the major muscles and the core take note, and finally confusion and darkening of vision arrive. It is like drowning or being smothered. It is perhaps less intense and distressing for me, because I've lived with bronchial asthma since I was five years old, but the fear and the pain are real.

When I showed this to Marian, she was against sharing so much detail about the experience — that people don't want to know what it feels like, even slightly, to be me. However, let me be clear on one point...I am one extremely lucky guy! In my discussion with my doctors, it became clear that all experiences with blood and marrow transplant and the ensuing Graft vs. Host disease (GvHD) are different. The vast majority do not make it this far, and most are not in nearly as good health as me.

The Lord must be powerful to have carried me so far already!


The Jag

Slumped within his swivel chair, he ponders
Rheumy eyes half-closed and breathing shallow;
Dining on his life, and other wonders:
Pain and fear to chew, and pills to swallow.

Half through his thought, begins a coughing jag,
Enough to make his mighty muscles squeeze,
From murmurs in the dark in his air bag,
To whooping barks sprung from a tiny wheeze.
The hacking links together, to form chains,
Until their massive weight triggers despair;
As every muscle in his body strains,
Til he near passes out from lack of air.
Coughing leaves him shattered, dizzy, gasping,
A quaking pile of clothing in his chair.
His mellow voice is breathy and rasping,
Gulping what little zephyr remains there.

Stairways are not friends, walking is not fun,
Washing dishes leaves him weak as jello.
Ev'ry one knows, it's difficult to run,
When it feels you're breathing through a pillow

Mick McKellar

November 2012

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