• Tamillia Valenzuela

Breaths and Numbers

It started as a minor inconvenience, a congestion in my chest.

Fatigue, fighting to gather strength to do what I needed to do.


Inhale, exhale.

Fear and panic start to grow, could it be?

Nah, they said you’d feel like you have the flu.


To meetings I went, of course via Zoom.

Working on projects, don’t you know I have shit to do.


Inhale, exhale.

People are dying at the hands of oppressive systems, I need to fight.

Explaining why my people deserve our humanity with every breath I take, not realizing I was struggling with every breath I took.


Inhale, exhale.

Pushing myself to the brink, every single minute spent talking.

From morning until night, fighting the “good” fight.


The sharpness in my chest started to form, 

But when you get stressed out it can seem that this is just the norm.


Inhale….

Inhale….

Something isn’t right.


IN...HA...LE

IN...HA...LE


It was 101 the first night.

Vomiting, nose bleeds and the struggle to fight my own good fight.


I stayed home, I sanitized.


IN...HA...LE


It turned to 102, chills and body aches.  This can’t possibly be right.

Nosebleeds that wouldn’t stop, then came the cough.


I went to lay down to try to rest… IN……..HA………..LE


Panic filled my body as I rushed to the ER, hoping that my worst fears wouldn’t be true.


I felt chaos and fear and fear and panic and panic with sadness.

I didn’t want the last thing my family to see was me struggling to inhale.


89 is what that night became, but it wasn’t enough to get the help I needed.


IN...HA...LE 


Struggling to do every day tasks 73, 71, 69….

69 a number that usually brings on jokes, but killed any kind of hope I had for myself.

Panic and fear, anxiety while trying to breathe knowing I could not inhale.


Back to the hospital, 79, 78, 76…

Oxygen never felt so good, I could kind of inhale...just a bit…

But still I am having these damn coughing fits.


Feeling ignored, they won’t listen to me!

I need help can’t you see, I can’t breathe!


92, 94, 95. All temporary.

Because when I got discharged shit got hella scary.


78...coughing fit….78….


Throwing up, still having these chills knowing I can’t chill.


IN…

HA…

LE…


68, 73, 71, 73, 80

Taking a moment I can’t get over 83 on a good moment.

Numbers I’m watching, stressing me out.


Back out to hospital number three.


81, oxygen.

For five hours in a corner.

Another trip home.







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