ExcerptAs I step under the spray, the water hits my face in hard pellets. It feels good. Begrudgingly, I reach down to grab a bar of soap. A sharp pain shoots down the left side of my arm. For a moment, I feel paralyzed. My immediate thought is to yell for help, but I can’t find my voice. I try to take a deep breath, but can’t. I crumple to the tub and feel a strange, tingling sensation zip through my fingertips.
“Mom!” I let out a bloodcurdling squeal in a voice I don’t even recognize.
My mother runs into the bathroom and slams the shower door open.
“What is it?” She is the color of her bleached white towels. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s my heart! Something is wrong. Call the hospital.”
“I’ll be right back!” She runs out and I wait, helpless, as the running water beats down on my back. A few seconds later, she returns, holding the phone, her hands shaking as she dials 911. She soaks her sleeve reaching into the shower to turn off the running water. The phone is on speaker and is wedged tightly between her face and neck as she pulls me from the tub.
“911, what’s the emergency?”
“It’s my daughter! I think she’s having a heart attack! I live at 42 Chauncy Way.”
“We have an address for you, Mam. An ambulance will there right away. Is your daughter breathing?”
“Yes, she . . . she has a heart condition.” Kate rips our “show” towel off the rack and drapes it around my arms and neck. She drags my limp body to the couch. I wish I had the strength to help her.
“Ma’am, do you have any aspirin in the house?” the voice on the line asks.
“That’s not going to help!” Kate shouts. “I’ll wait for the ambulance, but I need to call her doctor now!” Kate ends the call.