"Keep breathing." She tells me. "Cristina, you're hyperventilating." She whines into my ear.
I grip her hands tighter, trying to focus my energy on my respirations. It's not breathing. Breathing is for normal people and I'm a surgeon. I am a scientist. I don't breathe, I ventilate. I take in a mixture of 79 nitrogen, 21 oxygen and the oxygen travels to my lungs where it mixes with blood and is pumped into the left atrium of my heart then out to my body.
A few hours ago, I was fighting to breathe. A few hours ago I was a nervous bride, fighting for every reason not to run away from her groom in fear of what the future could hold. A few hours ago I was a shadow of what I know I'm supposed to be.
I can't be that shadow any longer.
I focus on slowing my respirations. I know that if they continue at their increased rate that I'll end up in respiratory alkalosis. At this moment in time, that might not be a lesser option.
At least I'd have something to blame for the weakness in my knees and the ache in my chest.
I gasp again, swallowing down another mouthful of nitrogen and oxygen. Before, when I've heard people use the phrase 'stale air' I used to roll my eyes. I thought that they were melodramatic and overly emotional.
I know now that they were wrong.
The room spins around me but the strange thing is that I only see the things that are missing. His scrub cap. His albums. His trumpet. The picture of his grandmother. Everything he values is gone. Everything he's ever cared about is with him.
And I'm here.
A high pitched wheeze escapes through my tightened airway as I gasp for another bit of air. The taste of saline lingers on my lips from the tears I cannot seem to stop.
Every ventilation is a fight. Every heartbeat feels like a bullet searing through my chest. Every tear is another shattered piece of me.
I wonder for a moment if I can't rationalize his actions because of the lack of sufficient oxygen to my brain or if it's because I don't want to understand them. I settle on the former.
I have to fall back on science. I have to fall back on the anatomy and physiology and the pathology. I have to fall back on logical explanations. Easily explicable chemical reactions. I have to fall back on subject matter that has only one right answer.
One would argue that living by the laws of science is not living, it is only existing. One would argue that the true meaning of life is love. That loving in and of itself is living.
If that is the case, I'd rather not live.
Because I fell in love. I fell for love. And I fell on my ass. I fell on my ass and he's not here to pick me up. He's not here to take away the pain from the lack of oxygen to every cell in my body. He's not here to soothe my respirations, to slow my heart rate and to wipe away my tears. I don't have him anymore.
All I have is science.
Now I have to focus on my respirations. I have to focus on getting the oxygen to my brain. I have to focus on stopping the tears. I have to focus on slowing my heart rate.
I have to focus on picking up the shattered pieces that is left of a strong woman that once was and putting them back together.
I have to focus on forgetting love.