I'm playing catch up.
I knew when I signed up for the Scintilla Project, a two-week writing commitment, that it would be a challenge to write something every day.
I accept that there are going to be some days I just won't have time to write, especially since I usually have to roll a prompt around in my brain for a bit before I decide how to answer it.
I'm going to try my best to respond to each one, even if it means posting two on one day. But I'm going to cut myself some slack and not stress about it if I don't.
It's more important to breathe...
Scintilla Project Day 4:
Being trapped in a confined environment can turn an ordinary experience into a powder keg. Write about a thing that happened to you while you were using transportation; anything from your first school bus ride, to a train or plane, to being in the backseat of the car on a family road trip.
We tossed our bags into the cargo space of the charter bus idling in the church parking lot, said our goodbyes to our parents, and boarded the charter bus, excited about our week-long journey to St. Louis. Thirty or forty of us, barely teenagers, members of the youth choir, setting out on a summer adventure...with a few adult chaperones, of course.
I was excited about traveling through the midwest, the heart of the United States. I couldn't wait to see Dorothy's Kansas, Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River, and that huge Gateway Arch.
But before we even got out of Texas, my pubescent hormones and tree pollen teamed up to spoil my trip. It started as a tightness in my chest that climbed higher, squeezing my air passages until all I focused on during that long drive through the night to Joplin was breathing.
I sat on the arm rest of a chair, gripping the rail above my head, pulling as I struggled to breathe in, drifting into an uneasy sleep as I exhaled. I remember a dream-like stop at a random emergency room. Maybe two. Instead of sharing a motel room with my friends, I bunked with Mrs. Eaton, the pianist, so she could keep an eye on me.
No giggling, no gossip, no flipping through television stations for me, just sitting on a toilet in a steamy bathroom so I could continue breathing.
The only thing I toured in St. Louis was the mall across the street from our hotel, and the airport, where I at least experienced the excitement of my first airplane ride, all alone and feeling very grown-up, back to Houston, where my mother drove me straight to my allergist at the very moment my friends were probably gazing out of the Mississippi River from the top of the Arch.
And that story leads directly in to my next...
Scintilla Project Day 3:
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Write about a time you taught someone a lesson you didn't want to teach.
The wheezing. The coughing. The chest retractions. I knew the sounds and symptoms. Antihistamines, albuterol, corticosteriods, and other asthma and allergy medications overflowed a large basket on the kitchen counter. Beside it three nebulizer masks air dried, waiting for the next round. Two nebulizers were in position on end tables, taking the place of whatever decorative knick-knacks I'd once had there, before I had three kids with asthma.
The boys were easy. I'd slip on their masks and flip the switches on the nebulizers. They'd nestle on the couch with a picture book or a toy, or ask me to turn up the volume on the television so they could hear it over the hum of the motors, and then they'd do their best to see through the mist. At three and five, they were antsy about having to stay still so long, but they understood it was necessary.
TG was another story. She developed asthma before she was a year old. The nebulizer mask was confining, uncomfortable, and very scary to her at first. She didn't understand that it would save her life, but I did, so when it was time for her treatment, I figured out a way to secure her on my lap with one arm and a leg wrapped across her little body to keep her from flailing loose, while the other hand held the mask securely in place so the medicine could reach her lungs. I ignored her tears. I dodged her kicks and attempts to bite me, instead tightening my hold on her. Tough love because I loved her so much.
Over time, she quit fighting me during her treatments, realizing they actually helped. Over more time, they all got so much better they no longer needed inhalers very often, much less nebulizer treatments.
And then they became teenagers, needing that tough love for entirely different reasons. But that's another story.
Tree pollen, you don't scare us anymore!