As the minister began speaking, Vivian leaned toward Mario. “I don’t feel well. I need to go to the ladies’ room.”
“You can’t disturb…”
Anne leaned forward, and in a whisper loud enough to project beyond Mario asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I feel a little sick and fluttery, like my heart’s racing.”
“It’s the lidocaine. Some people react to it with a rapid heartbeat. It will go away in a couple of minutes. Tough it out.”
Vivian looked from her stepdaughter to her husband, who took her hand and pressed his lips together. “Anne’s right. Don’t make a scene.”
“It’s getting worse,” Vivian whispered urgently.
“It’s just your imagination,” Anne retorted.
“Lean against me and try to relax,” Mario instructed.
“No, really. It’s not my imagination. I…I can’t catch my breath,” she panted.
“Vivian, you’re working yourself up so much that you’re having a panic attack,” Anne whispered forcefully. She moved both of her hands up and down in a slow rhythm. “Only take a breath when my hands touch my lap. It’s not a paper bag to breathe in, but it will work if you follow my lead and do it.”
“No. I really…I need help.” Vivian clutched her chest and gasped. “Oh, it hurts!” She tried to rise, but instead of standing she collapsed face down into the church’s center aisle.
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