Maggie Wallace was at work last week when she came to a surprising realization that she had not taken a breath in over an hour.
“You know how it is,” she told us afterward. “Sometimes you’re really focused on a project or Facebook or whatever, then suddenly it’ll occur to you: ‘Hey, I’m not breathing anymore.’”
Maggie was in the middle of organizing a finance spreadsheet in her cubicle when she suddenly returned to bodily awareness. It began with a feeling of overall discomfort, which led to the realization that her lungs had not expanded or contracted since she opened the Excel document over an hour ago.
“I took a little gasp of air and thought, hey, that feels good,” she says. “Then I realized I definitely hadn’t really moved or breathed at all since I sat down.”
Upon further self-reflection, Maggie came to the surprising realization that her shoulders were up near her ears, and her vision was blurred. Lastly, she noticed her skin was purple and she was close to death.
“As soon as I realized I was like, ‘whoops’ I’m almost dead,” she says.
Despite Maggie’s not breathing for over an hour, coworkers failed to notice that anything was amiss.
“Maggie works super hard,” said one coworker. “Like, definitely harder than anyone else here. She looked totally purple and gross and was convulsing a little but we were just like, ‘Typical Mags!’”
While Maggie wishes she could say this was a unique experience, she admits she finds herself not breathing with some regularity.
“I’ve definitely killed off some white blood cells over the years,” she told us with a laugh.
While Maggie knows her lack of breathing during basic activities is unhealthy, she doesn’t seem too concerned.
“I guess I can breathe when I’m in yoga class,” she told us with confidence.