Listen along


Light music (Scott Buckley’s, “Prelude to Chemistry”)  with back beat, starts softly and increases in volume.

Stephanie (S): You sound winded from getting dressed.

Partner in Crime (PIC): Phew! It was rough [S huskily giggles] all that bumping and grinding really takes a lot out of a man. Okee-dokee-smokey.  [muffled coughing]

S as narrator: It is 2:00 in the morning and as we get ready for bed, my partner in crime has no idea he is about to be interviewed.

PIC: Are you still recording?

S: Yeah.  I want to record your coughing fit, actually.

PIC: Why?

S: Cuz, I’m going to use it.

PIC: For what?? [S laughs; PIC hacks] It’ll happen. [pause, sounding choked] whether I want it to or not. [clears throat, coughs and laughs]

Stephanie: Come on- you have a better cough than that! 

PIC: [extended cough] Don’t make me [sputter cough] laugh [joins S in laughing] I’m not going to do it [cough] and you’re not going to get a really representative [exhale]  example because I was cracking up in the middle of it.

S: That’s part of it though [PIC exhales}, laughing makes you cough.

PIC: sometimes, yeah

S: So yeah, I’ve been planning to capture it all day cuz I want to talk with you about that-

PIC: [voice strained]  about what?

S: coughing and—

PIC: yeah, what about it?

S: - and your evil lung death

 PIC: Yeah [deep breath, coughs, toot-laughs, clears throat splutters ]

S: You’re making a face.

PIC: [voice strained] I don’t know whether I’m going to laugh or cough – and I’m trying not to do either. Oh, man! [exhales loudly]

Music: “Prelude to Chemistry” fades out; A Ukelele track fades in slowly at low volume

PIC: It feels like there’s someone sitting on my sternum and when it feels like that, I just don’t know if I’m going to cough or if I’m not going to cough… it can come in an instant. Yeah, night time it’s seems to be a little more pronounced. With the lungs though it’s always a mystery,  I never know what’s going to happen. It seems like for the last few years in particular, that if I have a blast of cold air, if I inhale through my mouth that seems to irritate the lungs. And then once the lungs are irritated it lingers.  Last year it lasted for about 2 months. [breath]   Hearing fluid as I was trying to breathe, a little rattle a little rumble and I was concerned that maybe I had pneumonia [S snickers and giggles]– no, it wasn’t indigestion, it was a rattle and a rumble in my lungs!  They could see the effect, they knew that  it was bronchitis, they knew that my lungs were irritated, they could see that on the x-rays.  They knew that it wasn’t viral, so they couldn’t determine a cause.

S as narrator: He has a disability and he uses a cane, sometimes.

PIC: Issues that I have relating to mobility are things that I’ve worked with that I’ve found ways to adapt to and adjust that [inhale] hasn’t been a case with the lungs[inhale]. I think that because when I started walking at age 5, in a world that wasn’t built with me in mind,[inhale] I had to just figure it out.  If I wanted to go somewhere if I wanted to do something I just had to find ways to do it. [inhale] Doesn’t work that way with breathing [background breathing and coughing]. Not being able to breathe is more debilitating in some ways than any sort of stair, or barrier, or wall, or obstacle because if you can’t get a nice solid deep breath [large inhale] you can’t do much of anything.  And so you can go from maybe using a crutch or a cane to a walker or a wheelchair or a scooter , or a gurney, if you want [laughing], but you can still get around. [background coughing] But if you’re not breathing, it immobilizes you in ways that mobility doesn’t. [breath] It can affect somebody on a level that you’re not prepared for[breath], you can’t breathe,  it stops you cold, there’s no adjusting for that.[breath]

S: I’m thinking about it… when I hear you walking around really basic stuff, I hear really shallow breathing [background breathing]. And there’s that part of me [whisper], “he’s out of shape” (laughter of S and PIC) -now I’m rethinking that and thinking it’s lung health.

[Ukelele track fades out; Soctt Buckley’s “Prelude to Chemistry” fades in.

PIC:  Yeah, and it’s- that’s been there even when I’ve been at my most physically fit, you know when I was performing in Gimp, which was a dance performance that was 72 minutes long [breath] and parts of it were full-on 10-15 minutes of just non-stop movement where yeah, I’d go off stage and be a little winded, but three minutes later I’d be back on and going at it.


This is Stephanie Hydal; thank you to my partner in crime,

Lawrence, for rolling with my microphone ambushes.  Also, thank you to artists who contribute to Creative Commons, especially Scott Buckley, the musician behind the opening and ending score, with the song  “Prelude to Chemistry.” You can check out his music library and donate to support him and creative commons at www.scottbuckley.com.au.