Ok, so I’ve been going on about this for about a week now on Twitter and Facebook, but I wanted to tell you all exactly what happened to me a week and a half ago.
It was a typical Friday night. At least, that’s what I thought as I tore apart my closet trying to decide what to wear. I’d been on a new eating plan for about a week and a half (more on that later, but I’ve never eaten so healthy in my life!) and I was hoping to fit into some of my clothes that had been a little, um, snug as of late.
Well, as healthy as I was eating, it wasn’t doing the trick as fast as I wanted it to. Most of the too-small clothes were still too small, although getting better. So I was feeling a little less than cute as I got dressed that evening.
But, I chose to wear brown pants, an orange tank top paired with a white tank top, and a brown and gold jacket. I still didn’t feel very pretty. I did my hair and makeup, and finally I felt much better. I even remember glancing at my face in the mirror and thinking, “ok, that’s not so bad.” I tell you all this because the conversation in my head that evening would seem much like foreshadowing if this were a movie.
So. The evening that lay before me was this: dinner at newly remodeled The Diamond restaurant (I’d already glanced at the menu and decided hush puppies and mac and cheese were definitely to be eaten. This would be my first “cheat meal” since starting the new meal plan). Following dinner would be the Robot Johnson show at Petras. Then finishing up the night at Jackalope Jacks to see Scott before his big move to Atlanta. Several of my friends were coming and I couldn’t wait!
So, first stop was The Diamond. Jeff almost bailed on coming out for the evening because he was feeling under the weather, so I almost headed out alone. At the last minute he decided he was up for it, though, so we left.
Susan mentioned there could be a wait for a table, so we got there early (about 7:30; everyone was meeting at 8.) The hostess said it would be about an hour before we could get a table. No big deal; Jeff and I grabbed a drink and waited for the others.
Susan and Steven showed up shortly after 8 pm. It was 8:06, in fact, when I told Steven our table would be ready at 8:30.
The small talk quickly turned to Steven’s job as a massage therapist, a topic my ears perked up to hear. I absolutely love massage and I have a few massage therapist clients, so I was really interested in what Steven had to say.
He gave a few small pointers about how to massage, and I was thrilled to hear them. How to hold my hand as I massage someone’s shoulders, stuff like that.
And then he said something that will probably sound very harmless to you. Something I can’t even recall the details of. But something to the effect of “Here’s how muscles work … Something about twisting and pulling and knots forming …” (that’s a terrible paraphrase; I apologize!)
But as harmless as what he said was, it triggered something in me. Suddenly the room felt really warm and I was seeing spots.
I have had this feeling before – many times, actually. It occurs sometimes when someone mentions something “gross” – blood, guts, etc. Normally I can talk myself through the bit of nausea/fainting I feel and pull through it. Normally. Sometimes I can’t pull through it. As a child I would throw up on occasion as this would happen. The past few years this has manifested into fainting on the rare occasion (3 times to be exact. Here’s the one that happened at the piercing parlor if you want some memories!)
I felt that unfortunately familiar fainting feeling. I took a sip of my beer (I was probably 1/3 of the way though it) and tried to change the subject in my mind.
But the restaurant still felt really warm (Susan confirmed for me later that it actually was really warm in there). And I suddenly was aware of how small of a restaurant it is and how many people were crammed into said restaurant. And claustrophobia began to take over.
I dropped my purse down to my forearm because my Kate Spade knockoff touching my side suddenly felt pressing and hot and too close. As I did so, Steven took my forearm to show me a massage technique. When he did this, he asked Jeff to hold my purse.
I handed over the bag, hoping the massage demonstration would take my mind off of the faint feeling – as I said, I absolutely love massage.
But it was evident to me right away that it wasn’t helping. Steven was talking, though, and I didn’t want to be rude (I haven’t mentioned this was my first time meeting him! I’d known him all of 10 minutes by this point). So I waited for a break in the conversation. And waited. And then it became clear there was none coming – Steven was really excited to tell us about massage techniques, and the conversation wasn’t letting up. I realized I was gonna have to do something or else I would end up fainted on the floor (not the first time that’s happened in a restaurant).
So I reluctantly pulled my arm back. I should mention by this point that my mind was not present by this point. My mind was swirling somewhere around the ceiling of the restaurant. My mind was trying to figure out a discreet way to tell Jeff what was going on. I’m told what I actually did was pull my arm back and say, “It’s really hot in here. Are you guys hot? I’m going to get some air,” and then I walked outside. What I thought I said was something more like “I feel faint; I need to get some air.” I guess the most crucial part did not come out.
I felt as if I ran toward the front door. I thought I heard Jeff behind me saying something like “No you don’t understand, I need to check on her” so I figured he got my fainting message and was right behind me.
I made it outside and the chilly air felt fantastic against the cold sweat I’d broken out in. I wasn’t going to faint after all; I just needed to get out of the hot restaurant.
But, I remember thinking, maybe I should sit outside for a moment. Even though I felt better I didn’t feel great. I saw a bench with two girls on it and I sat beside them. Everything was still swirling around me like crazy.
I wanted to hurry and feel better so I could go back inside and explain what happened so Steven didn’t feel offended. I couldn’t believe how rude I’d probably come off. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, thinking it would be a distraction from the faint feeling. Thought about sending a text or checking Twitter just to see if that could be a distraction. And then thought about how rudely I’d walked out and I realized if anyone came out to check on me and I was texting, I would look like the ultimate in rudeness. So I pocketed the phone and looked out into the empty lot next door.
Everything was still swirling and I realized that sitting was not going to be enough. I remember thinking I should put my beer down in case I fainted. I remember thinking maybe I should go to the empty lot beside the restaurant (away from the crowd outside) and lay down for a minute until I felt better.
I have no idea which one of these ideas I decided to implement.
The next thing I knew, I was dreaming. A wonderful dream. I don’t recall now what it was about but I remember fields of wildflowers and a rainbow (seriously). And then it was a little fuzzy but there was asphalt and people’s feet, and I was waking up from what felt like a wonderful 8 hours of sleep. It felt so nice. And in the distance I heard some people talking about a girl who had passed out on the pavement.
“That poor girl” I thought as I was being rolled over and it slowly started to sink in that I was laying on something that resembled pavement.
“Did I faint?” I asked an unknown figure and as I spoke, I tasted blood. I’d fainted before but I’d never tasted blood when I woke up so I had a feeling this was very, very bad.
Coming tomorrow: I ride in an ambulance for the first and second time. And I am, against my inner voice saying not to do this, going to post a photo of my smashed-up face. Want to see the worst photo of me ever taken? Come back tomorrow.