“Just concentrate on your breathing!” both of us reminded this inmate worker who was hyperventilating as he sat on the cold steps of the stairs in the prison’s main kitchen.
It was his first night to start work and he was doing well, learning to work with others, as they all prepared the meals that would feed the thousand others and same with the prison staff. All of a sudden, he was very short of breath, according to the Kitchen Deputy. He ended up sitting on those cold steps and was not moving except he was breathing so rapid. The call on the radio that broke was not clear at first as we heard someone needed medical assistance.
I grabbed all the medications I could possibly think of to aid this inmate they said was having “asthma attack” as the other nurse grabbed the emergency kit.
He was breathing too rapid. His fingers were all turning bluish and getting more stiff. He panicked more upon seeing his fingers. Judging from the looks in his eyes, I could sense it wasn’t a true asthma attack but more of an anxiety attack.
“Were you taking Psych meds before?”
He nodded as he was not able to talk, paralyzed in fear as he saw his fingers getting stiffer and stiffer.
“Listen, you have to help yourself. Only you can control your breathing. We can’t give you any medications at this time because you just need to simply relax,” reminded the other nurse.
I got a makeshift bag and held it close to cover both his nostrils and mouth and instructed him to concentrate on breathing slowly. He tried. And as his chest began to slowly rise and fall, we decided to bring him to the Infirmary so we could continue to monitor him. He was already referred to Mental Health Services.
How scary it must be for anyone to be not in control of anything. Most of the time, we don’t know what will happen. A lot of times, we are uncertain of the future. But Jesus reminds us “not to worry for worrying won’t even add another hour to our lives.” Worrying takes our focus off on God and that makes us more scared, more worried and not helpful with our own physical, mental and emotional health.
May we remember that even if we have no control of things, there is Someone we can rely on Who does.
"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~Matthew 6:34 New American Standard Bible
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." ~Psalm 46:1 King James Version