Breathing at altitude

Coming out of surgery, the nurse shaking me awake to tell me to breathe, I guess I had stopped breathing. I have always been a shallow breather.  In the mountains there are quite a few cafe’s that offer beer, espresso and oxygen.  At the corner stores they sell Boost which is 150 puffs of oxygen in a can.  There is even an IV clinic that will hydrate you with a bag of fluids and oxygen at the same time.   My fiance is quite fit and has a huge lung capacity.  He has been quite an athlete in his life running triathlons and is an avid skier.

Here in the mountains he is struggling with breathing. He has decided to go to the IV clinic today called Vida-flo.  He was looked after by an emergency nurse, that also works at the IV hydration clinic.  She told him that altitude sickness only occurs above 8,600 ft. He got a bag of saline with B9, B12, B6, Zinc, Vit C, Zofran, famotidine, Glutathione, Vit D and Toradol for his headache.  All this was accompanied by oxygen for 45 minutes.  He says he feels great.  Only in America would they offer all your vitamins by IV for $50. If you went into an American emergency room for an IV and oxygen it would be hundreds of dollars. It makes me wonder how sir Edmond Hillary coped with the altitude when he climbed Everest?

I was interested in a more holistic approach to assist me in adjusting to the altitude.  We went to  a place called Viva Float which provides isolation float tanks filled with 1,000lbs of dissolved magnesium.  Floating weightless is supposed to do the following: Increases oxygen flow, Strengthens the immune system, Improves sleep, Eliminates fatigue and jet lag, Alleviates stress (mental and physical), and  alleviate problematic respiratory symptoms.  Sounds good. We arrived, got a tour and showered for 10 minutes with two cleansers before getting into the float tank.  You had a choice of red light, blue light, white light or blackout.

After floating in the dark for 60 minutes I felt completely relaxed, almost in a stoned state.  My skin felt buffed like I had ex-foliated everywhere.  I felt peaceful and content.  That night I slept for 12 hours, which I have not done in years and years.  My fiance struggled with the float tank, he had trouble breathing in the enclosed space and in the water.

I am surprised how well my body has adapted to altitude.  I have no trouble breathing perhaps because I am such a shallow breather that my body is used to less oxygen. Even as a baby I remember being in my mother’s womb and the doctors “turned me” because I was feet first.  We were living in Malaysia at the time, and health care was antiquated.  Now doctors never turn babies because of the health risks.   At the time of birth I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck 5 times, because of being turned.  I was blue at the time of birth.  My father said he put his fingers under the cords so I could breathe.  I remember misinterpreting his actions-that he was trying to kill me.

I came into this world almost dead and breathless.   There are some theories that your breath represents your trust in life.  Those who are shallow breathers don’t have a full trust in life or the world.

In my 20’s I learned conscious connected breath work.  This is  a way to deepen your breath and unearth stress and patterns. Conscious connected breath works on the principle that there is a direct connection between mental and physical well-being and the openness of the breathing. Relaxing and releasing the breath dissolves tension in both the body and the mind. It was a profound experience being coached in breath work.  I had flashbacks to the womb and also before being born.  Flying over my mother as a spirit and choosing her because she would provide the most lessons to me, and that I could bring her love that she so desperately needed at the time.  I felt vibrated in as a soul to my mother.

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