Crack the Spine - Issue 109

Page 54

Lucille Lang Day Pneumonia

“It sounds like a washing machine,” the pulmonologist says, stethoscope to my chest. The CT scan shows a meshwork of cobwebs where alveoli should be clear. Clots of mucus make my bronchi appear bright white in the image. Oh, dear! With every breath I feel and hear a rattle and wheeze. Diagnosis: lobar pneumonia. My mother’s mother, Emma Bumpus, thirty-seven years old, mother of four, died of lobar pneumonia in 1919. And Emma’s mother, Angenette Sampson, died of pneumonia in 1892, the year Cleveland was reelected, before she turned forty-three. I see the yellow mucus from their chests each morning

and wake with them in the middle of the night, coughing, struggling to breathe. Oh, to meet instead in a field where winecup clarkia blooms pink as a baby’s lung while dragonflies zip through delicious air.

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