I didn’t know writing was this hard

[originally posted 6 Nov 2007 at LiveJournal]

I do most of my writing at my local Starbucks. This morning I didn’t feel particularly well but I walked there from my house (it’s about a 15-minute walk at a good pace). I arrived a little later than usual and the place was hopping. I was lucky to get a table where I could prop my AlphaSmart Neo and do some typing. (I should note that I try to limit my gear to only half of a small table in case someone needs to sit at the other half.)

I did some brainstorming and word association on paper first, priming the pump for my second short story. Then I typed in my journal for about half an hour. I was feeling worse by the minute so I used my cell phone to call Marion to see if she could pick me up in the car so I wouldn’t have to walk back. Because I’m still recovering from an angioplasty and stent procedure from about six weeks ago, she came right away. She found me with my head down on the table, like some old drifter in his cups. I was feeling so faint I couldn’t raise my head without passing out, and I couldn’t walk to the car. I was beginning to sweat profusely. When it didn’t improve in a couple of minutes, she called 911 for the paramedics. An ambulance arrived and, I’m told, they brought a gurney in through the front door. I was sitting near the back door. I recall being lifted on to the gurney and answering questions: “No, no chest pains, just feeling faint.”

But I was so out of it I couldn’t open my eyes. I heard the Starbucks assistant manager saying to someone, “He’s one of our best customers.” I’m a regular anyway.

I passed out for a short while, and on way way out thought I was dying. Too bad, I thought, so this is how it ends. I hadn’t the energy to care. When I came to, and obviously hadn’t died yet, I had vomit in my throat. I thought I’d burped it up. Then the paramedic began wiping my face down with a towel. I’d vomited in my oxygen mask and the top half of me was a mess. When we got to emerg, I was finally able to open my eyes and take in the surroundings. The usual questions, the usual procedures. Blood work, ECG, IV, questions. It was obvious to them that I wasn’t having a stroke — I was lucid and could answer questions easily, except what meds I was on. I couldn’t remember them all. My blood pressure was very low — the paramedic told the hospital people he couldn’t find a pulse. Marion told me later I’d turned as grey as my hair.

I was feeling better, and my blood pressure gradually rose to a normal level. The blood work came back fine — no electrolytes indicating a heart attack. I was kept under observation all day and blood work and ECG was repeated at 5pm. When both showed normal, I was released, after being treated to a hospital meal of overcooked corn, soggy potatoes, and some kind of meat dish I couldn’t identify.

I’m home now, none the wiser about what happened. The hospital didn’t know, other than it wasn’t a cardiac event. It might be a side effect of some of the aggressive new meds my cardiologist has me taking. Who knows?

But I made my PicoWriMo word count for the day. Does writing get easier than this?

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About Gene Wilburn

Gene Wilburn is a writer ~ photographer ~ humanist
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