25 April 2012

“I’m Goin’ Down”: how life gets complicated

Today is my first Personal Update Wednesday. As noted with my new editorial calendar, Wednesdays will be full of new news, old stories, stories from teaching, writing, etc., and other life updates. Enjoy! 

Vino Loco: The setting for this week's tale (Image copyright Vino Loco, 2010)
A Night Like Any Other Night ... Until It Wasn't
Last Thursday I was enjoying a casual get together with several teaching and creative writing friends at Vino Loco, a local wine shop. It was a Thursday evening like most others: dining, laughter, swapping stories, etc. Nothing exceptionally out of the ordinary, except I was a bit more tired than usual, and not entirely sure the evening would culminate in the usual trek to karaoke.

I’m not entirely sure when it started, but I remember suddenly feeling very warm and nauseous. I excused myself and went to the bathroom; standing helped for a moment, but soon I was feeling even warmer and getting those black tunnels on the sides of my eyes that told me what I was feeling was a faint coming on. I went back to the table, had some water, and asked for my bill. At that point, even sitting wasn’t helping. Finally, without knowing what else to do, I stood and went outside to get some air.

Big mistake.

I remember opening the door to come back inside. I remember thinking, I’m just going to ask my roommate to take me home and lay down, and this will pass. And then: the floor.

"I Get So Weak In My Knees ..."

My eyes opened to a sharp stinging sensation radiating from my hands, a slight headache, and blurred vision. The pain in my hands was the result of me apparently hitting the brick wall inside the wine shop. The pain in my head was, obviously, from having passed out … but also from, apparently, having hit the wall with my face, resulting in the breaking—or as I like to put it now, evisceration—of my glasses.

So: On to the hospital. The delightful irony of what happened was the fact that directly across from our table at Vino was a table of nurses, who took great care of me until the medics arrived. The ride to the hospital was short, and in a bizarre way fun: I had long, after all, been a fan of medical dramas, and here I was in one of my own. The actual hospital visit was for the most part uneventful, beyond ruining two EKGs by laughing at the people in the next observation area (because they could not stop preaching doom and gloom, which at that time struck me as entirely too hilarious, particularly given the fact that the guy who was there was suffering from what they described as “golf ball sized stones”) and enduring the trial of trying to provide a urine sample (you try it when you’re practically blind and your hands are torn to shreds). At my bed, my roommate and I entertained ourselves by coming up with a tentative “fainting playlist”: Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Going Down,” Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’,” SWV’s “Weak,” etc.

The Not-Quite-Million Dollar Woman

To make a potentially very long story short, I wound up seeing a cardiologist and finding out that I’m slightly anemic, and that supraventricular tachycardia paired with a frequent plummeting heart rate does not make for happy times. I also discovered that having doctors stick first a needle, then a guide wire, then a shaft, then a camera, up your arm is not the most pleasant of experiences; nor are stress tests.  

This is apparently something my heart likes to do now. 
(Image copyright University of Chicago)

Frankly I’m not sure how I’m supposed to be taking all this. After talking with the doctors, I’ve basically learned that not only has this probably been an issue for me for longer than I realized—I’d always been a bit prone to dizziness and feeling a little weird, I always just thought I was hungry!—but that I apparently don’t handle stress as well as I thought I did. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it—take deep breaths? But not too deep or I might pass out? I have a lot of commitments... but I love those! I already decided to give up on trying so hard, so now ... I don’t have any answers. 

But I do have some pretty awesome new stories to tell people now.

Want to stay connected? I invite you to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And sign up for free email updates from this blog in the top right corner of the page.


  1. Ouch. I hope you're able to get a handle on this. Sending healing vibes ~~~.
    Stay inspired!

  2. Thank you, Michelle! It's not actually too much of a problem; I just get the woozies every once in a while :)

  3. Thanks, Patricia. Fortunately, thanks to a mostly cheerful disposition (I think!), I found it--and find it--more hilarious than scary. :)

  4. wow that's scary. #jteng111


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

Featured Post

Sankofa: The Power of Known History

I recently took on two challenges in the sphere of political and cultural advocacy: understanding the roots of our democracy and national l...