That's what I tell my patients when they are going through a procedure or trying to process difficult information. I know it hurts, just breathe. I know it's a lot to take in, just breathe.
Oftentimes that rhythmic in and out is enough to slow their heart rate, calm their nerves and allow them space to handle just a little bit more. Because sometimes even when they are overwhelmed and obviously are at their breaking point, there is just a little bit more that has to be done and I am there to make sure they have the best chance. It's my hand they squeeze, my face they see, my ears they yell at, and my skills that need to be at their best in order to prevent unnecessary suffering. Whether it is a physical skill like placing an IV or an intellectual skill like explaining exactly what it means to be in left sided heart failure. It usually helps to breathe.
You might not have control over anything else, but you can control your breathing.
Your chest x-ray shows a left lower lobe consolidation. Your doctor is here to explain exactly what that means. Just breathe.
Your second set of cardiac enzymes came back positive. That means there was most likely cardiac muscle damage. Just breathe.
They need to place a central line in your neck and I am going to stay with you the whole time. Just hold my hand and breathe.
I tell Knox and Pursy this when they are losing their little minds over the reality that they might not be able to ride the carousal one more time. I know it's hard and you REALLY wanted to ride the dolphin. We have to leave the zoo now. Just breathe.
When bath time ends way before Knox wanted it to and he is throwing his wet little body out of my arms as I carry him into his bedroom. Just breathe, buddy.
When Knox is having dessert in front of her because he ate all his dinner and she on the other hand refused to eat her tomatoes and rice. Pursy, I know it's hard but those are the consequences of not listening and you are out of chances. It's time for bed anyway, so when you are ready to stop screaming, just breathe and I will tell you that your animal crackers will still be there tomorrow. You can try again then.
It is much easier to give this advice to other people. I haven't written much in the last few weeks because I have been busy just trying to breathe. It is harder then I thought.