Last summer we had the big western vacation. After an intentionally slow start, we headed to the (very busy) west entrance to Yellowstone. We were just 5 miles from the entrance when traffic stopped and crawled. No worries. It’s all good.
After over an hour, we were getting closer. All good, no worries! I see a Subway. We have a discussion; “Is there enough time?” I decide to hop out of the van and walk over to buy sandwiches while my wife continues to drive and wait in line. She waits. I wait. I look out the window. Traffic is picking up. But still stop and go. I wait.
My son texts…”Are you coming?”. I order 1, 2, 3, 4 sandwiches. I wait. I explain my dilemma. Traffic is moving. I cannot see my family. The shop manager assures me it’s probably fine, while hurriedly taking my credit card before the sandwiches are complete.
“We are turning left now and can see the entrance…”
I rush to pay. I’m sweating. I walk into the cool sunny day. I cannot see my family.
Here goes. I start running. One block. I’m thinking “Wow. I haven’t run very much in a couple of months.” Foot long sandwiches are bouncing with each step.
A car honks as I run in front of it. I slow to a jog and see more messages on my phone. I speak text something back. Just a couple words. I try to pick up the pace. I really can’t. I’m sucking air. Four blocks. I’m gasping for air. I turn left. I see them.
I jay walk and slide into the front seat. Barely made it. I try to talk. My chest is tight and hurts like bronchitis. Words are hard to form because I have no air. This must be what an asthma attack feels like. I google “Elevation of Yellowstone National Park.”
Holy altitude, Batman! It was 20+ minutes before I could say more than a word.
I felt normal in about an hour; the sandwiches were perfectly adequate.
–This is day 16 of a month-long writing challenge. Check it out over at twowritingteachers.org–
Yellowstone entrance, on day 2, when I was again breathing.