It's my last night in North Carolina for now. It's been a week of quiet and naps and books and food and medicine and my family-love and praying and sorting out thoughts and wrestling emotions... all the while, breathing in and out with intention and purpose.
It takes a lot of energy, you know - slow, deep breath in, slow exhale until empty, breathe in all that good, salty aerosol. The respiratory therapist named Rex called the mouthpiece for the nebulizer my "peace pipe." I smoke it like a good asthma patient, silently trying to imagine what the moisture-fog is actually doing inside me... I'm told it reduces inflammation in the lungs, so in a way I guess it brings peace to some of the angry and anxious places deep down. So in and out I breathe and pray for the Spirit to bring peace, to ease inflammation, in other places, too.
After the nebulizer comes vibration - shake it up! In the hospital ICU, there was a very fancy bed that vibrated and moved all over... When I was promoted to 6th floor status, the bed was not so impressive, but there was a huge vibration piece that reminded me very much of the buffers used to polish the Tin Man in the merry old land of Oz. At home, we have a thing that looks like a big wand that does the job. In Fort Wayne, my bed can vibrate, so that will do the job. At any rate, my left side gets a nice massage and my voice sounds all gravely if I try to talk. Again, I wonder at what is going on inside of me... mini earthquakes, an unsettling, like tilling the ground to make sure it stays soft and airy. Lord, do this in my heart, too. Don't let it get too settled and hard... keep it good, loose, healthy soil that you can use.
Then I must let the cough-assist machine blast a full lung of air in and suck it back out quickly, and try not to fight it but go with it and allow the force to enhance my strength to cough. Rattle? Wheeze? Squeak? (yes, I have done some squeaking.) Clear the throat, cough again from deep down, deep breath again... four sets of five. Mentally, it is hard to relinquish control over the inhale and exhale... like the daily surrender of my control and expectations and schedule and confidence in self. It is not natural, but necessary. So in this exercise, I pray that I will allow the Lord to move me according to his will, and infuse his power into my weakness.
Who knew that breathing treatments twice a day could teach disciplines that would draw me closer to my Lord... breathing in, breathing out...