Breathing Blue

About nine o'clock last night I was sitting on the couch with my kids, listening to the usual chatter and clamor of six (not so) small people vying for the spotlight, procrastinating bedtime, enjoying the breeze from outside when I realized it was getting progressively harder to breathe. Coughed off and on for a while, like I'd inhaled a little too much water.  Pretty soon I didn't recognize the sounds coming from my own chest. I was whistling with my mouth closed.

Say what?
Historically speaking I'm not an asthmatic. Never have been–as far as I know. The wheezing and coughing stopped after an hour or so but ever since I feel like I can't take a full breath–or I can, but the oxygen isn't quite reaching my lungs. Realized this is why I haven't been able to sleep since we got back from the mountains. Why I couldn't sleep before we left–because I feel like I'm smothering.  Fortunately the smothering sensation wakes me up and I remember to breathe.  Unfortunately I'm not getting much sleep. 
I've been awake since shortly after midnight. It's five in the morning. I've read an entire John Grisham novel. (The Appeal–some coarse language I wouldn't use myself but an intriguing look at corruption in judicial elections; read it if you consider yourself an informed voter.) Now I'm googling phrases like "trouble inhaling". Interesting stuff. Sounds like asthma–and apparently I'm not breathing enough of the used air out of my lungs, which is why it feels like no matter how deeply I breathe in, there isn't enough oxygen–there isn't; too much CO2. still in there using up space. 
Maybe I'm allergic to this town. I've heard they are cutting hay. Hmmm. Family Doc is out of town for two weeks. Doc on call is a quack. And I say that most charitably. He's the one who has negligently read at least three x-rays in the past. Came up with solutions like oh, just walk on the broken leg, it'll feel better in a day or two; diagnosed the common cold instead of a collapsed lung. You know who I'm talking about–and if you don't, call me before you make any trips to the walk-in or urgent care here in Moses. It's your life we're talking about.
Off to try some extended exhaling exercises I dug up on some obscure blog. It promises that if I breathe out long enough, the inhale will come all by itself as a natural response. We'll see. If you find me lying on the floor with blue lips in the morning, you'll know it didn't work.

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