The Blue Pump.

The train is packed with people.

I’m panicking. I can’t breathe. My chest feels tight, as if I’m stuck under a pile of rocks, unable to move, think, feel, breathe. Tears start to swarm in my eyes. My hands are shaking. Everything around me starts to blur, the people sitting next to me, standing in front of me. I can’t see their faces. I can’t hear the noise of the underground, I can’t hear my music.

I’m hyperventilating now, sweating, shaking from head to toe. I think I’m going to pass out. I can’t move. I can barely process what is happening to me. No matter how much I gasp for air, no amount of oxygen is soothing my airways, my lungs tight and restricted. My head is spinning, swarming with a million frantic thoughts.

‘This is how I’m going to die.’

And then something is being pressed into my hands. My pump, its blue colour seeming brighter in this hazy and disorientated light, and I bring it up to my lips. My hands are shaking so much that the person next to me, my friend, my best friend, has to help me inhale. She looks like she’s about to cry, but she stays calm for me.

Puff. Puff. Puff. Puff.

Deep slow breaths, in and out.

Puff. Puff. Puff. Puff.

Breathe, slowly.

Puff. Puff.

And slowly, my heart rate begins to return to its normal pace. My airways open and I can breathe. I gasp for air, grabbing at all I can take.

And then, I’m crying.

I’m crying out of relief, because I didn’t die, because it hurt so much, because I was terrified and lost. And then, I’m being hugged, the pump clasped in my hands – its blue tint reflecting in the train window, winking at me, ‘I’ve got you.’

 

It’s a small thing, my asthma pump, but it’s saved my life more than once.

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