One minute I’m fine. The next, not so much. Two hours doubled over the toilet bowl, followed by fits (momma hates this word) and faints.
T makes a bed of towels on the bathroom floor. Gets a cool cloth for my forehead. Feels like it weighs a ton. I try to sit up and throw up but I can’t. So I lay down and do it. Because it’s all I can do. Not a good idea. ‘People die like this’, I think, and pass out again.
The guy with the glasses and the real soft hands gets there first. He smells like my grandmother. I’m hallucinating and I know it. I tell him “Ma, there’s a baby in the wall.” He puts an IV in my arm, one of those double header kinds, and rubber bands an oxygen mask to my face. I like it. O. Fresh. From the can. It’s great.
In the ambulance my chest goes tight, and starts to hurt. A lot. I can’t breathe and I’m still sick. I throw up in my mask and the woman next to me straps on another. Four hours later I still feel like I’m dying; but I’m pretty sure I’m not. I’m too young and too healthy and there’d be more than three nurses hovering around if I were.
I ask for a blanket ’cause I can’t stop shaking. I get no blanket and a fan – a flashback to age six, Scarlet Fever and an ice bath. My blood pressure is higher than its ever been (excluding a bad anesthesia trip when I was 17) and I can’t feel my left leg, but my stomach is emptied and the drugs are kicking in.
By the next day almost-normal is on its way back. That semi-shock state the body goes into after being violently ill is settling in. I say a prayer for a poor somebody going into cardiac arrest in the corner, and then spend more hours than I’d like listening to an old lady across the ward squeal ‘I gotta weeeeeeee’.
T is asleep in a chair next to me, looking worn and tired and gorgeous.