Chapter 12 : Country Walks

“I had just enough air to keep me going but knew I needed more…..”

A week or so after I collapsed I went to visit my godmother for what could feasibly have been the last time.

She lives just on the outskirts of a village called Royal Wotton Basset in a cottage on a farm.  It is the epitome of typical English countryside and I love it. Being brought up in the West Country I always get a sense of respite when I visit her. It’s like going home and I refer to her as ‘Mum Number Two’.

When I got there we went for a short walk in the woods nearby to chat and go over everything that was happening. The main topic of conversation was whether I had made a decision on which valve to have. “It would be best to come to terms with that and accept the decision before you go into hospital,” she said.  I was leaning towards the tissue valve and could tell this was not what she thought was best. She did well to hide her thoughts but her reaction was clear to me.

Secret woods
Secret woods

We walked for about 10 minutes through the woods. There was a lovely autumnal air indicating that winter was well on its way. The trees had shed all their leaves and provided dominating skeleton structures against the foreground colour of tinged brown, red and yellow of the remaining leaves held on by a thread. Nature, especially woods and forests have a certain magic to them when the seasons are changing.   

We walked back to the car and I started yawning, normally to start with but it progressively increased. For every few words I uttered, mid conversation or after a couple of unsure steps I would yawn.  I just couldn’t stop yawning.

We drove back to the cottage and the yawning continued. I would take a deep breath of air and then yawn, like a fish gulping to be put back into water.  I was struggling to breathe and needed more oxygen.  My godmother asked if I was ok as something was obviously up but I didn’t feel tired and although I thought it was a bit strange just answered: “Yeah, I’m ok”.

It was an unusual feeling to yawn continuously and feel out of breath at the same time. I felt like I was underwater wanting to go up for air and not being able to, somehow I was held down. I had just enough air to keep me going but knew I needed more. Desperately I wanted to come up and take a breath, I could never quite take in enough air so kept yawning.  Eventually it stopped and I appeared to return to a normal breathing rate with much gratitude.

I spent twenty-four hours there and headed home to London.

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