Sometimes it’s necessary to burn bridges

With regards to the Suffolk County, Long Island idiot who thought it was acceptable to withhold my nebulizer from me WHILE I WAS IN THE THROES OF A SEVERE ASTHMA ATTACK! No matter that it was her belated 18th birthday party, willful negligence that leads to the bodily injury of any person/guest is a felony. My childhood was a string of late night ER visits so I knew from experience that I was very close to another ER/ICU stay; I could barely stand straight up (I was supporting myself on a kitchen counter), my heart and chest muscles were painfully straining trying to get more oxygen by coughing up ludicrous amounts of thick phlegm, and my inhaler was emptied out in lieu of the nebulizer treatment being held hostage by an immature bitch. A fight broke out between Kary May (KM) and her younger sister’s best friend, Ashley, when Ashley intervened and stood in the doorway blocking Kary May’s descent to the basement. Here’s a fun fact, KM’s stairway to the full basement (meaning the height of it was at least 10 feet high) had NO railing along part of the stairs. This meant that if KM pushed hard enough, Ashley was going to fall backwards with nothing to grab to break her fall. I was horrified when KM started kicking at Ashley’s legs and with a closed fist, hitting her on the head; I was crying out to quit it, but it was futile considering you need air in your lungs to speak: try inhaling for a six (6) count, exhale for four (4) and see how effectively you can speak three sentences without taking a breath. Meanwhile, Kary May’s still holding onto my nebulizer (my little vials of medication knocking around) with one arm while tussling with Ashley. Ashley eventually is over powered by KM and goes to Jaycee’s side where they plead with KM’s parents to DO something before my time on Earth alive stopped.

KM (to me): Come on, we have to go back down to the basement, V. or my parents will be mad. (feigned concern) What’s wrong?

Me: No, I’m not going to the basement to start my albuterol treatment. I”ll join you when I’m done up here.

KM: Why?

Me: Because I can barely stand, never mind going down a flight of stairs to a cement wall and floor. Also, because I don’t need a bunch of stranger’s watching me like it’s entertainment!

KM: Stop being difficult. I’ll be supporting/leading you down (*with one arm to hold up all 125 lbs. of me while the other still clutches my nebulizer. Can anyone foresee the accident/tragedy waiting to happen?)

Me: No, thanks. I’ll stay put and start my albuterol treatment up here (in the kitchen).

KM [exaggerated eye roll and sigh]: Well, I’m going down to the basement and taking the machine with me. If you want your medicine, you’ll have to come down and get it.

Me: You *really* must want to tell my parents why I’m in the hospital, don’t you?

KM: Don’t be dramatic (pay attention to this line – the foreshadowing of drama to come from an interesting source)

[fight b/t KM and P., her mother.]

[Before KM takes 3 steps down, her mother decides to do something and gets up from the couch! It must have *finally* dawned on them that if I ended up in the hospital, my parents would promptly hold KM’s parents responsible for the bills and any other incidentals since I was technically under their care while in their home]

P. (an angry/threatening tone I had never heard her use): KM, you better not take another step down! March into the den, now!

KM (bratty and frustrated): WHAT?

P.: Get in here (the den next to the kitchen)! We have to have a talk, right now!

KM (whiniest voice imaginable): Alright! I have to set Violet’s thing down and I’ll be there in a minute.

P.(furiously enters kitchen): No, you will not! If you don’t come in here this instant, you’re going to send all your guests home immediately!

KM (stomps back up and into the kitchen): What do ya want?

P.: Give the machine back to Violet, right now and get your butt into the den. You’re going to have talk with your father and me. Jaycee, you, too! Hurry it up!

[KM proceeds to be passive-aggressive in her defiance of her mother’s orders by walking around the counter I’m slumped over after I hold my arms out for my nebulizer]

P.(exasperated): What do you think you’re doing, KM? Where are you going with Violet’s machine?

KM (in an attempt to play victim or sudden good Samaritan): I’m going to plug it in for her!

[KM has stopped opposite me by a wooden bar stool top 48″ high and holding my nebulizer at chest level (note: KM is approximately 5′ 6″ to 5′ 7″). The counter top I’m holding onto is pushed up against another so they face each other and is about 15″ lower than the one KM is behind, akin to nosebleed level coliseum steps. People need to use the bar stool to step up on a rod in order to sit comfortably at KM’s counter top; which KM was doing until stopped by her mother]

P.: NO! She doesn’t need you to do that. She can do it herself so put it down next to her. [I nod in agreement] Now, you better march into the den. Don’t you dare drop-

At this point, I kind of applauded P.’s ability to predict what KM would do with the “don’t drop it” warning. On the other hand, if KM’s behavior is so destructively predictable, KM obviously isn’t getting the correct reinforcement to knock it off. So, she deliberately lets go of the nebulizer from a height of 20″ to 24″ to a space near me and I’ll never forget the sound: a mixture of heavy textbooks, iPhone and laptop falling from a great height and clattering on a tile floor. In 2000/2001, technology is making great strides in shrinking cumbersome and expensive medical equipment but my nebulizer was already 3 years old with a motor reminiscent of a Craftsman air compressor. The one prior fell from my desktop (3.5′ high) while in use because, in the same way a vibrating cellphone can move across a surface without assistance, the nebulizer’s motor acted the same. That fall rendered it useless and unrepairable. When you have severe chronic asthma like I do, from a very early age you’re aware that you can suffocate to death and it’s just a stone’s throw away. With severe asthma attacks, inhalers/albuterol nebulizer treatments buy time if an E.R. admittance is a pressing matter OR if a hospital is not close enough. That day/night, I knew KM would never mature with our age group; all the times I had excused rotten, petty, selfish behavior as maybe adolescent moodiness, insecurities, stress, struggles with becoming an adult, etc., I realized then were misplaced. Like eight months before, at my summer block party where KM made repeated attempts to impose on my mother a sleep over that was cancelled because my mom had just been discharged from a hospital stay due to distressing, internal bleeding that went on for three days too long due to initially being misdiagnosed. KM carried on like it was the worst deliberate slight and seriously kept trying to get to my parents’ room where my mother was sleeping and recuperating. In the end, I had to kick her out and get her aunt to pick KM up early because I had enough of the childish and whoa-is-me sulking. When her aunt did arrive, she asked for my mother whereupon I made the terrible decision to wake her and help her dress. I caught a certain look in KM’s aunt’s face, like she was testing to see if my mother had really been in mortal danger. I was proud of my mother as she hobbled and remained bent over when she put KM and her aunt in their place: she went into detail about her stay and prognosis while her hospital bands remained on her wrist (a caution the hospital said to keep in case my mother’s stitches burst in the time it took to heal and had to be re-admitted). The explanation made KM’s aunt blush and she tried to quickly scurry themselves away. I didn’t want to be associated anymore with her as “longest term friend” lest people start viewing me as possibly sharing the same traits and behaviors.

[This is what ensues after I, P., Ashley and Jaycee get over the shock of what KM just deliberately did and potentially condemning me to death via suffocation.]

All: KM!

P. (enraged): KM, that is it! Go down to your guests and inform them they have to go home! The party is over! Then, into the den where your father and I will be waiting!

KM (yelling): That’s not fair! You said I could have guests stay until 10:30 pm for my birthday! You promised –

P.: Well, guess what! Violet’s also not sleeping over –

KM: What! Why not, mom! That’s even more unfair! It’s my birthday party and I should get my way! I didn’t do anything to deserve –

P.: Your behavior tonight is unacceptable and you better hope you haven’t broken –

KM: It’s not a big deal! It’s not broken, right, Violet? Tell her!

[the audacity of this permanent tween]

P. : – it because it’s coming out of your savings account to replace it. KM, I’m not hearing anymore of this! Tell your guests it’s time to go home –

KM (wailing, tears falling): It’s not a big deal! Why! I haven’t done anything wrong! It’s my birthday! You promised! You said until 10:30 –

P.: Do it before I have to or you’re not going to have guests over for a while. Move it!

KM (stomping her foot and bent forward with indignation): No! They’re staying until 10:30! I want them to stay until the time you promised! How can you do this on my birthday! It’s not fair!

Mom, quite exasperated, turns to go down the basement stairs and the one trying to stop that this time is KM. Running to stop her mother from descending, she keeps pleading, accusing, manipulating, etc. The added insanity was that everything is audible to everyone downstairs since the kitchen was directly over the seating area in the basement. KM, always playing the victim, sobs while P. tells the party guests that it’s time to go home and the kitchen phone is available to call for rides home. KM does not let up trying to manipulate her mother as they go for a private family discussion. During this time, I’ve managed to prep the nebulizer and mercifully, have Ashley to help plug it in because asthma attacks come with depleted strength for any activity other than trying to breathe. After the hullabaloo dies down and my body has more sufficient oxygen levels, I can’t wait to leave and get away from KM. My disgust and anger no longer contained but also unnecessary to vocalize since there was no discussion needed to decide what to do with my friendship to KM.