You can say what you like in this town!
Working through the emotions of another person while they struggle with the death of their baby is a powerful incentive to keep those close to you special because life, especially for some, is short. This job wakes me up every so often. When I slumber under the illusion that all is good and there’s nothing more important than me and mine, I get sporadic reminders through other people’s realities, that, and without being permanently morose, I should keep myself grounded. What I am exposed to makes everyone in my life special to me.
I’ve been criticised, but not too harshly admittedly, for once again being less than sensitive with the issue of hyperventilation. I’ve responded to this comment, which I know was made without malice and I want to share the essence of it.
The diary is a process for me; I write it when emotions about specific things; calls I work on, people I encounter, conflicts I am involved in, or whatever, affect me in an immediate way. I can reflect upon them all I like but recording them for posterity to humanise them is essential, otherwise this is not a diary – it’s a reflective essay.
Yes, I have been a little off-hand about certain aspects of ‘illness’ that I’ve come across and one of those is hyperventilation panic attacks, but not because I don’t see them as clinically relevant – more often than not, individuals who call ambulances for these events are not having much more than a little dizzy spell accompanied by some very well acted out breathing routines. Sorry but it’s true. They want a day off work. They are upset about something. They want attention. Quite frankly, the emergency ambulance service is not here for that. It’s here for dying babies.
True hyperventilation, the spontaneous without warning type, is very scary indeed. The person suffering it will think that they cannot breathe and that they are about to die – I know because I’ve experienced it myself. I stopped breathing in my sleep (sleep apnoea) and when my brain caught on to this, I woke up suddenly and over-compensated my breathing – this resulted in hyperventilation, which was not funny. I had to calm myself down before it resolved and getting back to sleep was a worrying prospect, let me tell you.
That happened once only; I haven’t experienced it again since but I can at least draw on real life to justify my remarks. So, I deal with those suffering from hyperventilation that is changing their lives sympathetically and clinically but I have no time for those who are simply emotional. We are all running out of time for people like that and I’m not talking about mental illness; I’m attacking selfishness. We all have problems in life – most of us… the vast majority of us, get on with it and deal with it. We don’t bleed our emergency ambulance service, GP or hospital dry of funds and personnel by creating illnesses around it.