I might have taken some drug. I don't remember. I don't recall to this day. Perhaps I didn't, and just feel guilty. It's been suggested by professionals that anxiety could have caused this. In any case, I believe it's a story worth telling:
I awoke in the middle of the night, unable to breathe. But moments later, I was breathing again, so I passed it off as nothing significant.
The next night, again, I was unable to beathe. My lungs wouldn't take in any air at all. I lifted my arms as if to say, "Help me!" After that point I must have gone unconscious. The last thing I recall was seeing my son in the bed next to me. I swear he was smiling.
Two weeks previously, I told him to remember the number, "9-11." I repeated this number many times and had him say it. I told him, "If your mother is ever on the floor and isn't moving, if strangers, robbers, enter the house, if there's a fire, call 911. They will help you." If I hadn't told him that, just before the incidents, he would have dialed 119 or 999 instead.
Over the phone, the operator told him to check on his mom and see how she was doing. "She's not good," he said. "Okay, if you have a dog, put the dog outside, and unlock all the doors." For Jimmy, at seven years old, this was very difficult. He had to stand on a chair to unlock the latch on the front door, and could still barely reach it. I had put the lock on so the little boy wouldn't leave the house and get lost, or worse, abducted, which was my greatest fear.
I remembered my son grabbing my face, hard, and yelling, "Breathe! Breathe!" This annoyed me, but I don't know if this was the reason I swore at him, barraged him with expletives, pejoritives, insults. He didn't seem to care. I was in a state of mind I had never been in before. I had never spoken to him that way before. I was only half conscious, or in some other-worldly condition.
The paramedics arrived with a cop. An image flashed into my mind - one I would never forget. Surrounding me were giant grapevines with large, purple grapes, round and robust, filling my world. The vision was somewhat dulled by its quickness, but it was indescribably beautiful. It filled all the room, the outdoors, all of the sky, eternity. The paramedics began speaking to me. I had no idea what they said. But the vision disappeared. "Get out of my grape factory!" I yelled loudly.
I had been buck naked at the time, and began slamming my body against the wall. These people didn't want me to do that. An EMT approached me, and I began struggling and fighting with her. The cop put me in handcuffs. They led me outside and tied me to a stretcher. They didn't even give me a blanket. I was brought to a psychiatric hospital - ECMC, of course.
My son had saved my life.
But I considered myself as strong, tough, and durable as any cat. I calculated this was my 11th life.
At the hospital, I was kept in restraints for over an hour. No one remembered that I couldn't breathe and had gone unconscious. I'd been transformed into a mentally ill person, a sick woman that needed pyschiatric help.
My son and his grandmother came to visit me. All Jimmy remembered was blood on my arm due to the IV.
For months, my little boy wanted to be on TV. After all, he was a hero. He saw cases on television about children saving their parents lives, and wondered why he hadn't received recognition and attention, too. He certainly received it from me, and the rest of his family. But he wanted to be on TV, he wanted to be put on a pedestal. It frustrated him. But finally, months passed, and he said, "I'm glad you're alive, Mom. That's what's important." Still, I sensed that wasn't enough for him. But I felt somewhat better hearing that.
I lived two or three more lives after that one. I have more tenacity than any wildcat. I could never leave my son. God might hate me, but he doesn't dislike my son - a beautiful boy who needs his mom.
I wish I could have stayed longer among those grapevines.