One Breath at a Time

By , Hartland, WI
Amy is sixteen as she, her mother, her 6 younger siblings, a niece and a nephew head to Ohio for a family visit. With Karalee in the driver’s seat, Amy in the passenger, the kids playfully bantering in the back seat, and the beautiful Missouri scenery passing by it, seems that nothing can go wrong. That is until Karalee’s heart suddenly starts constricting.

Amy looks at her mother, watching as her face pales and her hands shake unsteadily on the wheel. Karalee closes her eyes and struggles for breath, and control. Quickly, she pulls the car over.

“Mom? Mom! Are you okay?” Amy looks over her shoulder, “Be quiet, Jared!”

“Honey, I need you to drive. Quickly. I know where the nearest hospital is. I need you to get me there. Now.” Her voice is quiet, weak from the lack of breath.

“Okay. Are you… are you going to be okay?”

“Fine just fine, it’s not my time yet.”

Nerves rush over Amy. How long had she had her license? A few weeks? Maybe a month? She took a deep breath. She could do this. Trading places with her mom she quickly pulls out on to the road. Her mom’s breathing becomes more labored and she keeps one hand pressed on her heart while using the other to point out turns. Slowly Amy presses on the gas, her nerves and worry over ruling her fear of the law.

“Turn here, the hospital is on the left. Emergency entrance, Amy. But park first.”

Amy does as she’s told. She parks the car, rolling down all the windows before running to the doors to grab a wheelchair. Helping her mom into the chair she looks over her shoulder.

“Keep the kids under control, Tristan!”

Once in the hospital she hands all responsibilities over to the capable hands of the doctors on staff. She takes a deep breath filled with stress. The doctors come out, murmuring words of comfort and knowledge. Cardiac arrest, it will only be a little bit, she will be just fine. She breathes again, this time with relief.





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