Something strange and scary happened to me last week: A few hours before the planned date with the teacher on Sunday, I fainted and hit my head. I had slept long, got up and pottered about the flat for some time and then wanted to drink a glass of cold Pepsi. After the first large swallow, I had a very painful cramp in my stomach. This has happened before when I drank cold Pepsi first thing in the morning, but it had never hurt so much. I remember clutching the counter in the kitchen and thinking it would be over soon. The next thing I know, I was opening my eyes an seeing a fuzzy view of the underside of the kitchen table. I thought I was waking up in bed still half in a dream. No. Definitely my kitchen table. I was lying in my kitchen on the floor. Then I realised that I must have fainted. I knew who I was, what day it was, everything. I felt quite shaky from the shock of realisation, but got up and thought I was fine. Then I noticed a wet feeling on the back of my head and my hand came away bloody. I could not feel a large wound, but pressed a wet towel to my head and called my mother who is a nurse. I thought that I would probably have to go to hospital because I might have a concussion, so while I waited for Mother, I wrote to the teacher to cancel our date. It sounded like the most made-up story in the world. Just minutes before, we had texted back and forth, agreeing on a time and place to meet. But he reacted very well, asking if he could help me and hoping I would get well soon. Then I made myself eat breakfast because I thought I would probably have to wait for a long time in hospital. And I fed my cat, all one-handed. By now the shock had worn off a little and I noticed that my head and neck hurt and my vision was blurry. When Mother arrived, she looked at my head and said I had a large wound down the back that would require stitches. So she drove me to the hospital.
In the emergency department, a nurse and doctor examined me and did a CT scan of my brain. Thankfully, nothing was broken or damaged. Then they stitched my head back together, which hurt quite a lot, and told me I had to stay in hospital for the night to make sure I was ok. At least they didn’t shave off any hair. I got an intravenous access for painkillers, a hospital gown complete with open back and one of those cool moving beds. They put me in a room with a young woman who had been in a serious car accident abroad (as far as I could gather from her talk with her visitors) and told me I had to stay in bed and couldn’t drink anything until 11 at night. Mother had stayed with me until I got to my room and later came and brought me a few things. I sneaked out of bed with her help once to use the loo, because there was no way I was going to use a bedpan if I could help it. I also tried to comb the dried blood out of my hair. It was disgusting. And I was very hungry for a few hours before the feeling went away, but now I was dreaming about food. Long fasting is NOT helpful when you struggle with disordered eating… But I survived. They woke me a few times in the night to do tests and give me painkillers, but apart from a little pain and discomfort, I felt fine. By noon, I was home and I was glad about it. As a child, I had always wanted to spend a night in hospital, and a part of me had held on to that feeling. But now, having experienced it, it was not pleasant or exciting at all, even though I wasn’t afraid or in great pain. It was just dull and uncomfortable.
I had to rest at home and couldn’t work or exercise, but to be honest, I didn’t feel like it anyway. I tried to ‘be good’ and slept a lot and am feeling much better now. Actually no, I have a cold since yesterday. It just seems as if my body didn’t want to cooperate at the moment. I want to feel healthy and alive and full of energy! There is a race I wanted to run on Saturday, my first, that I signed up for on a whim. I’ll still do it if I don’t feel any worse, but will probably have to walk most of the time. Two weeks without running is not a good preparation.
But no, I have to be grateful. And I am! After all, I could have died, I could have ended up disabled, I could have broken bones, teeth, anything. I was very lucky and am trying to accept any setback this has caused, trying to be more positive about myself, love my hale body and working mind more even though I am not brilliant or beautiful, be more grateful for my independent adult life even though I am lonely and not rich. I should take nothing for granted. By the way, our theory is that the cold drink caused a ‘vasovagal syncope’, so now I always sit down to drink…
Anyway… In a few hours I have another date and I am extremely nervous this time. The man I’m meeting is the one who wrote to me first and with whom I have exchanged most messages. He has something to say, is passionate about things, writes very well, seems intelligent and deep and I really hope he likes me.