Sunday, 25 November 2012

Karma and The Heavy Breathers Club


Women speak an average of 20,000 words a day, Men only 7,000 I'm not an average guy and  with Twitter and Email some days if dont say "Thankyou" when I pick up my take away I can get it down to 3.

Considering I have been a salesman all my working life I am a man of few words I avoid talking to people unless its absolutely necassary or they want to buy something from me, that could have been the reason I was trying to sneak past my Gardener or equally it could have been that I wanted to get away without paying him that week however as I tried to reach the safety of my car he spotted me and blocked my exit.

He was a lovely Guy, he had worked for me for a few years and although he seemed to know all about my business and activities I knew nothing about his he started to tell me about his Wife it was obvious that he was very proud of her, she had a high powered job working for a local firm as P A to the Managing Director her responsibilities even covered the trade disposal off their company cars, that was when my ears pricked up.

In a later conversation when I was again trying to escape without handing over any cash I found out that he’d had a really good job too, but he'd got fed up of the Rat Race and decided to do something that he really enjoyed I admired him for doing this but at the time I thought he may just be exaggerating a little about his Spouse, he said he would get get her to call me the next time they wanted to sell a car” I never expected to hear from her, but I was wrong.

The phone rang and the caller introduced herself, she was my gardeners Wife and she wanted to know if I would be interested in buying a very high specification and equally high mileage BMW 525 Diesel Touring Automatic, normally the answer would have been no, but  I was l looking for a new car to use myself and this would also fit my mountain bike in for the trip I had planned at the weekend, “Can the vehicle be bought today?”  I asked, she said “Yes, at the right price” so I jumped in my car and drove straight there. After being interogated over the intercom at the main entrance I was buzzed in, allowed to inspect the vehicle documents then given the keys and directed to the vehicle.

I am always amazed how fate takes a hand in peoples lives, especially mine! a few seconds early or late, being in the wrong place at the right time seemed to be the story of my life, sometimes you’re prepared for it sometimes you’re not, but this day I couldn’t have been better equipped to deal with the situation that presented itself.

I had just checked the oil level in the engine and as I didn’t have a rag I’d wiped the dipstick with my fingers I was still looking under the bonnet of the BM for somewhere to wipe them when I heard the door to the offices open, two women came out one had her back to me and she seemed to be in some distress the other girl was trying her best to comfort her, I could see the girls shoulders heaving up and down as if she were sobbing her heart out, I just assumed that she’d got the “It’s not you it’s me” phone call from her boyfriend, she had taken it badly, was upset and her Boss had told her to go home before she Negged the rest of the staff out.

The comforter propped the girl against the wall and held her finger up as if she was trying to teach a puppy to  "stay", she turned ran back to the door entered the pin code to open it and she disappeared back into the receptionist-less foyer leaving the girl alone, ( I learned later that she had forgotten her car keys and had to go back to her desk) I didn’t want to stare in case i made eye contact and gave her the opportunity to tell me how” anyone with a “Y” chromosome was a bastard” and then marched over to sock me one for just being there, I put my head down and carried on inspecting the car, that’s when I heard a sickening thud, the girl had collapsed banging her head on the concrete, I ran over, mobile out dialling 999, she was lying on her back making a deathly gurgling sound, she was out cold and she was about to swallow her tongue.

Using the fingers that weren’t covered in well used engine oil I opened her mouth, pulled her tongue forward and flattened it, then rolled her on to her side into the recovery position, I finished the call to the Ambulance service, folded my jumper up and put it under her head, I scanned the area looking for assistance there must have been a dozen other businesses on that industrial estate but I was the only one who was outside and there was no one within earshot, I didnt want to leave her but I had rung their telephone number from my mobile and no one was answering so I ran to the entrance door and banged on it with all my might, I also gave the buzzer an elongated annoying answer this buzz now press, but I still had time to run back to my patient before I heard a crackle and the receptionist voice come out of the external speaker  “Can I Help you” I shouted words to the effect of  “Man Down Need Assistance Quick”,.
The girl was coming round and although I was sure that her airways were now clear she was still struggling to catch her breath, putting 2 and 2 together, heaving shoulders, teary eyes, shortage of breath I recognised the symptoms immediately “Asthma Attack” the Bain of my life when I was a kid, but the good thing was that I knew what to do for this girl because when I was at school I had belonged to the “The Heavy Breathers Club”

No we didn’t make Obscene phone calls, but while the rest of the school was in “Assembly singing Hymns and saying prayers, I got to lay on a mat in the gym doing breathing exercises and learning how to control my "diaphram" with the rest of the unfortunate kids who had asthma. It had been a long time since I’d had an attack but the headmaster knew who'd had been affected by the ailment in the past and we were all  pressganged into attending whether we liked it or not.



I used to get to school early everyday to play football and Instead of doing breathing exercise I liked to have a nap before the start of lessons, for everyone else in the gym the exercises consisted of taking a deep breath and then exhaling as slow as possible making a whistling noise through your teeth. The classes whistle's were punctuated every so often by the odd snore  or grunt from me, there were many occasions when I either woke up in an empty Gym or was woken up by someone putting the badminton nets out for the first lesson, There was a terrible stigma attached to being a member “The Heavy Breathers Club” as my mates had nick named it, and I used to get the micky taken out of me mercilessly but as bad as it was I still preferred to be there than go to Assembly. Luckily for this girl between naps  I had managed to pick up some valuable information that was going to come in very handy.
When I was a baby apparently I'd had a few really bad attacks and my parents were worried that I was going to knock off, from then on my Mum seemed to want to wrap me in cotton wool (she still does) and I was getting pissed off feeling like I couldnt go out of the house without my trusty  “Spin Haler”  I had become so dependent on it that just by forgetting to put the device in my pocket before I went to school would make me anxious and actually be the cause of an attack when I realised that I hadn’t got it with me, your mind can play terrible tricks on your body and I didn’t want to live like that so I decided that I would bin all my Inhalers,  if the next attack killed me then so be it but I was determined that I would never become reliant on anyone or anything again, as it happened my next attack followed pretty quickly and I survived it, but I only just escaped with my life when my Mum found out that I had thrown my medication away, as the months passed my attacks got more and more infrequent.

It occurred to me that I had never had an Asthma attack while i was doing things that I liked , but soon as any exams were mentioned I couldnt breath. I believe that a large percentage of an Asthma attack is psychological and is down to your brain telling you that you can’t breathe, you feel like you’re drowning and end up gasping for breath and getting more and more worked up which in turn makes you feel worse and so begins the vicious circle, If youre the one who is summoned to help the victim of an asthma attack the worst thing you can do is panic or look like you’re worried that you can’t handle the situation and youre not in complete control.

I was sitting on the floor cross legged with the girls head on my knee, stroking her forehead, I needed to take her mind of the attack and I tried to think what my Mum would have done, when I was a toddler she used to sing calming lullaby’s to me but I decided that this was out of the question, unless I could think of a different tactic the girl would have to die, so trying to be as nonchalant as possible I asked her if she would like a piece of Chocolate, her eyes had been flickering and dimming as she fought to stay conscious but they opened wide and her pupils dilated as her look of fear changed to one of incredulity, Her thought process had changed from I’m going to die to -  “ Do I look like I want a piece of F****** Chocolate you moron”  so I broke a couple of pieces off chucked them in my mouth and then asked her if she knew any jokes, that did the trick she was now determined to recover, and recover quickly so that she could strangle me and see if I thought having a block of galaxy waved under my nose while I was choking was funny.

Her breathing had slowed it was now in time with my hand stroking her forehead and I was just in the middle of explaining to her the benefits of Air Conditioning over a Sunroof for people who suffered from Asthma and Hayfever when the entrance door flew open and the firms nominated medical officer came flying out accompanied by another Asthma sufferer who used the same medication and had volunteered it, I administered the substitute Ventolin Inhaler stopping short of pretending it was a plane like my Mum used to do and then I asked the medical officer if she would like to take over, It wasnt actually a question it was more of a statement but to my surprise she said “No, you seem to be doing a pretty good job without my help, you carry on”

I did so until the ambulance arrived, the ambulancemen decided to take her to hospital to be on the safe side and keep her under observation in case she had another attack, now she had her Ventolin crutch I knew she would be ok but as they were putting her on the stretcher I asked her what had brought on her attack, “I was looking in my handbag for my purse and I realised I had left my inhaler in my other bag that I used last night” seemingly It wasn’t just me whose brain played cruel tricks on them!

Long story short if I had been quicker getting in my car my gardener wouldn’t have stopped me, I wouldn’t have been the proud owner of a BMW estate and the girl would have probably swallowed her tongue and died alone on the Car Park.

Karma !

Barrie Crampton

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