April 18th, 2007
And by other guy, I mean the side of the bathtub.
I woke up on Tuesday morning feeling fine and dandy. Instead of the usual waking up slowly I tend to do, I hopped right out of bed and went into the bathroom. While in the bathroom I began to feel nauseated. I actually thought I might get sick. I was trying to think about the night before. Why would I feel sick now? Am I really sick or is this just some sort of psychosomatic, self-fulfilling concern?
The next thing I know I am waking up leaning against the bathtub. The first thought flickers through my synapses. “Was I so tired I took a nap in the bathroom?” I vaguely remember not feeling well and thinking that I must have tried to use the coolness of the tub to soothe my illness. I also realize my knee kind of hurts. Then I notice the toilet seat is up and not flushed. Then I remember I had just gone to the bathroom. Next it’s the realization my face hurts. What the hell?
Holy crap, I fainted.
I have never fainted in my life. Ever. If I did, I at least thought I’d realize it was happening. I always imagined it like the movies. Things fade away. You feel yourself fall. Things go black and smeary. Some indication that there was a problem afoot. Perhaps a voice telling you to put your trays in the full upright and locked position. Something. Anything.
That’s not how it is at all. Not even a little bit. One minute I was felling a bit woozy. The next I am waking up from a nap.
I reached up to flush the toilet and sat on the floor gathering my composure. I was now feeling feverish, clammy, and sweaty. That was probably panic as much as anything. The cool tile floor was helpful to keep everything at bay. I thought I should get up and head into the bedroom, but I now had absolutely no faith in my body’s ability to keep me upright.
I heard Emily and the kids moving around and past the bathroom door. Once I heard Em nearby and called her in – making sure to have her open the door slowly. I didn’t need to be smashed by the door as well. I told her that I thought I might have passed out and that my face hurt. She actually didn’t reply with, “Well, it’s killing me.” This is why I love her. She did try to piece it all together and let me know I had a cut on my cheek. She got me into bed and took great care of me.
After a day of ice and pain killers and taking it easy I was feeling OK. The swelling is much better today, but the right side of my face could still play the Marlon Brando part in a community theater production of The Godfather.
I really don’t know what caused all of this. My guess is that I jumped out of bed too quickly and then locked my knees while standing at the toilet. Like anyone, I’ve had a head rush when getting up from bed or a chair, but nothing that made me feel sick and nothing that led to fainting. Had this happened just randomly in the middle of the day I’d be much more concerned. Since it’s pretty obvious what the catalyst was, it’s not too difficult to dismiss it. Even as it is, though, each transition from sitting to standing is a little more disconcerting and tackled with much more care and deliberation than any before.
The really strange thing is how a silly little thing illustrates the tenuous lease we have on life. I’m not trying to be dramatic here. I don’t think there is anything wrong with me – aside from a hurting, squishy face. It’s just amazing how a normal and mundane morning can go from uneventful to surreal and potentially, literally scarring. You start to wonder what might have happened if you fell the other way and hit the sink. What might have happened had this occurred while driving?
We have such faith in our bodies. They are so resilient, so robust. Even if they aren’t the snazziest model ever, they are surprisingly adept at getting us through the life’s bumps and bruises without much thought. We really take for granted all the little things we do every day – like standing upright. We expect it and it seems so simple. It’s not simple at all. Everything must work perfectly or things will crash. All it takes is a split second glitch; a tiny hiccup in the gross motor skills we don’t even think about to smack that realization into you.
That and the tub.