The sound of the motor reverberated through the white walls, mist circling around my mask, as I inhaled the aerosols. Memories from last night resurfaced and I tried hard to push them at the back of my mind.
You’re okay. You’re going to be okay, I chanted inside my head.
“Tapos ka na ba?” Geoff asked, observing me from the couch.
I turned off the nebulizer, took a deep breath, and nodded. Tinanggal niya rin ang mask at itinabi ang machine sa mesa.
This had been my routine since I was a child, but I still hate it. The smell and taste of the medicine always remind me of this cruel condition. Of this lifetime prison.
It took me an hour to finally breathe normally. Nanghihina pa rin ang katawan ko pero tumayo ako at pumunta sa terrace namin. Sumunod naman si Geoff habang dala ang dalawang baso ng kape. Umupo kami at tahimik na pinakinggan ang huni ng mga ibon.
Moments like this make me smile. Pakiramdam ko, okay ako. Pakiramdam ko, normal ako.
The coffee’s aroma filled the air as we sipped from our mugs. Coffee helps me breathe and relax most of the time but sometimes, it worsens my condition, so I could only drink it once or twice a week.
“Papasok ka ba?” tanong ni Geoff at tumango naman ako.
“Absent na ako kahapon. Baka magalit na boss ko.”
“Siguraduhin mong dala mo ang inhaler at mga gamot mo.”
“Oo na,” I muttered.
Naiwan ko lang ang inhaler ko ng isang araw, akala mo buong buhay ko nang ginagawa ‘yon. Still, I was thankful that he brought it to my office despite his tight schedule. Kahit na minsan ang sarap sapakin ng taong ‘to, may time din naman na nagpapa-kuya siya.
Nauna naman siyang mag-prepare at nag-stay ako sa terrace. I breathed deeply and felt the fresh air coming through my lungs. I felt happy as I looked at the trees, shrubs and flowers growing healthily in our backyard and I was grateful for our parents for choosing this house surrounded by nature.
I looked up the sky and tears started falling from my eyes as I watched the sunrise.
Ah. What a great reminder. I was alive for another day.
Watching the sun rise and set had been a habit of mine since I was a kid, but as I grew older, it also became a huge source of comfort. As the first rays of the sun touched my skin, it radiated hope, a chance and a new beginning. It was as if it was telling me that I survived the night and darkness, and I was given a chance to live and breathe for another day.
Last night, I had a terrible asthma attack. It was a normal thing to me, but that night was terrifying. It happened when my demons were creeping in and whispering dark thoughts in my head.
My parents and Geoff went to my room and did the standard protocol. I was getting lightheaded from the lack of oxygen in my body, but I could still see their worried faces as they got my inhaler and medicines.
My tears fell as I tried to breathe air.
“C’mon, Ren, breathe slowly,” Geoff whispered.
I never told him but I hated that word with all my heart. People would tell me to breathe, as if that was the easiest thing to do.
Little do they know, that in this kind of moment, for people like me, breathing becomes terrifying . . . because every breath feels like the last one.