The post in which I show you my smashed-up face

So, we left off yesterday when I realized I fainted and I was tasting blood when I talked. Not a good feeling.

As things started to come into focus I realized it was Jeff who I’d asked if I fainted. And there was another guy next to me asking me questions that seemed very official. I wonder if he was an off-duty EMT or something. Somehow it seemed very comforting to explain to this bald man in a leather jacket that I’d eaten a turkey burger and carrots for lunch, that I had less than half a beer that evening, and that this sort of thing had happened to me before.  (It was slightly confusing, though, when the firefighters showed up and asked me the same questions!)

What was not comforting, however, was overhearing some jackass on the other side of the parking lot call out from afar: “Sounds like you had too much to drink, princess.” I can understand why someone might assume the passing out was due to being drunk. The restaurant did have a bar, after all. But it was hurtful, not because of the assumption, but because the guy clearly didn’t care how I was doing, he just wanted to use me as the punch line of some joke. And considering I was slowly realizing that I was in the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life … it wasn’t a funny joke, by any means.

And at this point, the shock was still shielding me from most of the pain. The firefighters showed up and put me in a neck brace in case I had spinal damage. I’d hit my head so they were concerned about head trauma. I could tell I had chipped a tooth, and my other teeth felt loose. I was terrified that my reoccuring nightmare about my teeth falling out was actually coming true.

After what seemed like an eternity, EMT appeared and got me out of there. I fully realized that I was in an embarassing situation, but to be honest, I was not embarrassed at all. There is something about fainting that feels very calm and relaxing when it’s over, and the crowd around me – the ones lingering and staring but not actually talking – was almost blurry in my mind.

Colleen got there just in time to see me being loaded up into the ambulance. She was so sweet, telling me how cute I looked in my outfit, although I could see she was doing her best to put on a brave expression. I could feel blood dripping down my face. I am sure that is not what she expected to find. Especially since just a few moments earlier (I’m guessing 20 minutes before) she’d texted me telling me she was late and I’d texted her back saying, “No worries!”

The ambulance driver’s name was Anil. That was reassuring to hear. Jeff rode up front with him (he was very disappointed that he wasn’t allowed to ride in the back.) I must have still been in shock because when I felt my phone ring in my pocket, I actually answered it. And it was Anil (my friend Anil, not ambulance driver Anil.) He could tell by my voice that something was wrong, and when I told him I’d fainted and fallen on my face and that I was in an ambulance, I’m pretty sure I freaked him out! He actually asked if he could call me back, and he said when he got off the phone he literally sat in silence for about 30 seconds, frozen as to what to do. His first instinct was to get on a plane, and that means so much to me that he almost did that (for the record, he bought a plane ticket to come the next weekend to help. And Jeff asked him to wait and come the following weekend instead since Jeff is out of town and he was hoping Anil could take care of me while he was gone. So I’ll get to see Anil in a couple of days!)

I won’t go into minute-by-minute details of the ER, but I’ll go over the basics. I asked to go to CMC, and they took me to CMC University since there is a dentist on staff there – just in case I needed one. There were no rooms available at first, and I was in a hallway in a bed. I couldn’t stop shivering. I kept staring at Jeff and all I could think was “I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared.” Susan was there but that’s mostly a blur. I know they were talking about how cool it would have been if I’d pose for a camera and flip the bird, and I told them all they had to do was ask and I would have done it! The part of me that is woozy over blood never wants to know what my face looked like, but the storyteller part of me so wishes they had gotten that photo.

So, they quickly started running tests on me. A CT scan and Xrays to make sure no head trauma or spinal damage (there was none.) They cleaned up my face, and put stitches in my upper lip. (That’s when I got the first picture of myself. Apparently it looked much worse before the picture, which I’ll put at the bottom of the page with a warning that it’s pretty gross, so if you’re squeamish don’t look.) Colleen came back into the room once I got one, and that’s mostly a blur too. Jeff had to take me to the bathroom – the nurse said it was either him or Jeff, but I was not allowed to go alone since I might faint again. Silly, I thought, I’m not going to faint again. But I was too scared and weak to protest.

Hours felt like minutes. Truly. I remember looking at the clock and knowing I’d been there two hours and I was shocked. I realized there are some benefits to being a patient – I was so out of it I wasn’t actually aware of time. I wasn’t allowed any pain medicines for hours, though – they wanted to see all my test results before they would give me any. That was pretty awful, I must admit. But everyone was so kind and helpful and nice – not the awful ER experience I was expecting based on movies and books and friends’ tales.

The ER doctor spoke with a cardiologist, and they wanted to do more tests to discover why I fainted. But they decided they could do these outpatient. So they discharged me at 4 a.m. Jeff wheeled me out, and I asked to stop by the bathroom on the way out. I looked in the mirror for the first time. That wasn’t the best idea.

He wheeled me down the hall and I suddenly felt very motion sick. I was going to faint, or I was going to puke. But I knew I needed to lie down – now. The nurses came over and got me into another ER bed. So my discharging was short-lived – 5 minutes, maybe? I was pale, they said, and cold sweats. And my blood pressure had seriously dipped.

So those outpatient tests were no longer to be outpatient.

And because they had no beds at University, I was to be transferred to CMC Mercy. So, at 7 a.m. Saturday, I got my second ambulance ride ever. To the second hospital I would ever stay in.

And, that’s it for today. Sorry to cut this post short, but I’m having trouble staying awake and writing … so, more tomorrow …

But first, here’s my face, after I smashed it up but also after they cleaned it up and put stitches in. If you have a weak stomach, don’t look. And the yellow stuff was some sort of numbing agent for the stitches, in case you’re curious. …

Officially, the worst photo of me in history.
The second-worst photo of me in history. This taken after my transfer to CMC Mercy.