I was aware of my head being on the table. I was also aware that I wasn't aware. While I lay sprawled on the table at the Borders coffee area, I had this voice in my head telling me two words: "Get up." Actually, it was a very demanding voice. "Get UP. What are you doing? You can't stay here like this. What if someone steals your purse? Are people watching?"
I managed to bring myself to wake up. I HAD to wake up. I was on my own. Had no one with me. I had to wake up. So I did. I got my eyes to open and I reminded myself, "OK. I'm at Borders. I just passed out at the table. I need to get some help here. I need to lie down."
And all this time, a wave of dizziness still had me in its clutches. I was barely able to stand. In fact, I had tried to stand. I tried to get up to go to the bathroom and splash cold water on my face. But I couldn't. I mean, I got up, walked around my chair, then had to sit right back down again. The dizziness was just too strong. Finally, I got my bearings, then got up and headed for the counter. I tried to stand up, I REALLY tried, but I couldn't. I fell over the counter, saying in short bursts of air, "Excuse me...I am...really...dizzy...I need someplace...to lie down."
The girl looked at me with confusion.
"Is there someplace...to lie down?...I'm so dizzy."
My breathing became labored and I was talking in short bursts of air.
My head dropped and the dizziness overpowered me as I realized I was facedown on the counter. That old voice started up again. "Get up! Keep your head UP!" it said. "Get your head OFF of the counter!"
I slowly raised my head to see with blurred vision the girl talking to some guy who worked there and they stood behind the counter. The next thing I know, the dizziness overcame me and I was swooning. I just wasn't aware of ANYTHING going on around me. Then I felt someone touching my right shoulder. This somehow brought me out of my reverie. I looked up to see this man wearing a cap and asking me, "Are you okay?"
I don't know how but this snapped me back to reality. Back to what was going on. I just said, "I'm so dizzy."
I noticed two other people to my left. They were motioning for me to sit in a chair they'd put behind me. Mentally, I was screaming "I need to lie down!!" but there was nothing to lie down on. A chair would have to do. So I just lowered myself, hoping I would sit in the chair I could no longer see and REALLY hoping I didn't fall right smack on my butt. I didn't think I couldn't get myself up if I did. Somehow, I landed in the chair, and I was still having trouble breathing. The guy who'd been behind the counter earlier was now at my left side and after I sat down, I kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" because I HATED it that I'd caused a scene. He kept motioning and talking and I guess he was telling me "it's ok" or "don't worry about it." I couldn't really tell what it was he'd said. I noticed him using the sign for phone and asking if there was anybody they could call. I shook my head and said, "I have no one." (My ex doesn't have a phone anymore. He is deaf, anyway. I also wasn't thinking clearly enough to REMEMBER I had my friend's phone number in my purse.) I was also BURNING UP! I was very hot so I took off my jacket. I was surprised to see drops of sweat all over the top front of my shirt. Two people were trying to communicate with me up until then but I couldn't understand them. I mumbled "I'm deaf" in between my bursts of whatever air came through my lungs then removed my jacket. I guess they saw the green bandage tape on my arm and someone wrote "how long has it been since you gave blood?" I wanted to say "I donated plasma, not blood" but I could barely talk and all I managed to put together in my head and mouth was, "What time is it?" Wow, what a question to ask when you can barely see and think right! When she showed me her watch, I thought it read "6:35" and so I said, "About an hour, hour and a half." (Actually, it had been 2 hours and 25 minutes. I'd finished donating at 5:05 p.m.) The woman who was writing on paper to communicate with me asked if I had any food allergies. Was I allergic to eggs or cheese? I said "no." I'd also told them I'd eaten after I donated. I ate before I left and after I was done. I thought it was enough. But, apparently, it wasn't. She let me know that the girl behind the counter was going to get me something to eat. I had asked for a wet rag and I was using it to put on my bare neck and my face. That helped just a bit. By now, my attempts to breathe okay had improved.
The girl communicating to me in writing motioned that I had to move to a table. Inwardly, I didn't want to move at all. I didn't think I could. But I got myself together, got up, dazedly walked to the table then plopped into the chair. They gave me ice water and I drank that as I sat there, occasionally using the wet towel to dampen my neck and face. After a bit, the male counterperson brought me a sandwich they'd made. It was a sausage, cheese and egg sandwich. I reached into my pocket, pulling out dollar bills to pay for it, but he motioned that I didn't have to pay for it. I thanked him for that. That was SO NICE of them!! I gingerly ate the sandwich, mostly drinking the water as I tried to get myself to feel more coherent again. I was still so dizzy and sometimes I dazedly stared at nothing in particular. I turned to notice the guy in the cap walking away from the counter and he looked at me and asked, "Are you ok?" And I tried to smile as I nodded. I was still dizzy but, for the most part, I was okay. I also started feeling a bit nauseated as I ate and I tried VERY HARD to keep the food down and not throw up all over the table. Thankfully, I was able to do this. Soon I'd finished off the water and it was a few minutes before I could get anyone's attention to ask for more water. I tried drinking the cider but I just wanted the water more than that. When the guy, whose name I read was Jacob, returned with the water, he signed "sorry." I was wondering, "What's he sorry for? I'm the one who's sorry." I tried to eat the sandwich but I was moving in slow motion. So I had to eat it really slowly. I actually started to worry and hoped they wouldn't get mad at me for sitting there for so long or maybe accusing me of pretending I wasn't feeling well. But, that didn't happen, and I was grateful for this.
After I ate 3/4 of that sandwich, I started feeling full. That was a GOOD THING! I was happy to feel anything else except that darn dizziness and feeling fullness was like being more aware of myself and not so dazed. I kept sitting there, thinking and gradually able to get my thoughts together more clearly. I took a piece of paper out of my notebook and started writing a note to one of the people behind the counter. Whoever I could get the attention of. So I wrote that I had a friend named Nicole and could someone please call her? I was NOT in any position to drive myself home. I knew this just from sitting there. I was feeling better but I knew I couldn't drive myself home. I didn't know if Nicole was driving (she'd always told me how her mom was driving her around) but I wanted to see if she could pick me up and take me home. (I had to see!) I gradually got Jacob's attention and handed him the note. He nodded then went to the front of the store. I felt awful being in this position. I didn't like it that I needed someone's help just to get home. But I knew if I tried to drive myself, I'd probably end up driving right off the bridge! I was going in and out of dazedness. I finally saw Jacob returning. He handed me a Post-It that said "the manager is calling her right now." I thanked him then forced myself to eat the last piece of the sandwich. They were nice enough to make this for me, I wasn't going to let one bite go to waste! I continued to dazedly stare around, in between getting my focus again. I noticed the girl leaving with a guy. She smiled at me and waved goodbye and her companion said something but I was too out of it to focus my attention on his face to try to read his lips. I finished the sandwich then just sat there, going in and out of the daze. Then I noticed the manager come to the table with a note that said, "Nicole is on her way." I mentally said "thank God" and asked her her name. She smiled then wrote down that her name was Samantha.
Soon, I finally noticed Nicole approaching the table from my left, softly waving at me as she said "hi." We hugged then she sat across from me and asked how I was feeling. I told her I was dizzy and relayed the events from earlier. She was alarmed and I kept telling her, "I've done this before. This has never happened. I know I passed out the first time, but it was never this bad."
So after we talked about what happened, she asked about my daughter. I told her she was doing ok. Just had a birthday party and was telling EVERYONE she's 5 years old now. I told her she's been having problems adjusting to the divorce, even though it's been a few months. Mostly, she has a hard time understanding why her mommy and daddy don't live together anymore, why we're not married anymore. That's just her biggest issue. Why. And I also told her that I've talked to my daughter about things many times. Have been there for her, telling her we still love her very much and we'll always be there for her. We talked about that for a while. Then I asked Nicole how exactly we were going to do this: Get me home with my car and her home in HER car. I suggested she could drive me to my ex's in my car then he could drop me off at home then bring her back to get her car, but that idea got nixed. After some thought, it was decided she would take me home in her car then her mom would drive her back tomorrow and she would drop off my car. I was concerned about my ex freaking out over this. It's not "my" car. It's one of HIS cars. And he gets paranoid about stuff like that. His car being in a lot all night, unsupervised. But it just worked out as the better plan to follow so I agreed. I wondered about the car getting towed away or ticketed, or something, if it was left there all night, so Nicole went to talk to Jacob about our proposed plan. Then she came back and informed me that he'd talk to the manager. Soon the manager came to the table asking about the car's color, model, description and license plate number. I swear, I couldn't remember the license plate number!! I told her the front fender had some damage, though. She said "ok" then that she'd take care of it. After a bit, after Nicole asked me "can you walk?" and I said, "I'll try!" we both got up. I had to move VERY slowly. I was able to manage ok if I didn't move too fast, but I DID end up stumbling a bit as we proceeded to exit the bookstore.
When we got into the parking lot, I showed Nicole where my car was then we went to hers. On the drive home, I realized it had been a good thing I had asked for a friend to pick me up. I was still a little dazed and my vision wasn't completely focused all of the time. Just some of the time. I had to close my eyes because the dizziness was still bad. I guess Nicole noticed this because I saw her fingerspell to me, "Are you okay?"
"I'm aware of the car moving but I can't see very well. The signs are all blurry," I replied.
The look on her face wasn't a very good one after hearing that. I hoped she wasn't worrying about me too much. But I was grateful to her for being there for me. It just really, really meant a whole lot that she came through for me. I had planned to sleep when I got home but I asked her if there was anything I could do or eat or take or drink to help me feel better. Would a multivitamin help? She thought for a bit then said, "Sleep."
"Sleep?" I asked.
She nodded and said, "That's the best."
When we got to my house, we talked in the car for a bit. Nicole told me, "I'm glad you called me."
I sighed then said, "I'm so worried that all the time you're too busy or there's stuff going on."
Nicole was shaking her head. "No. No," she said. Then she looked at me and said, "Call me." I knew what she was saying. "Call me if you need me." I can't even begin to describe my relief over knowing I DID have someone there to call if I needed help. It was so good to know I wasn't so "alone" after all. I hugged her tightly, thanking God for such a good and caring friend. Just really grateful I had someone out here to lean on if I needed her.
Nicole asked if I could walk okay to my door. If I needed any help. I told her that I thought I would be okay and she said she'll watch me from her car. I thanked her again and climbed out. I was still a little wobbly but I managed to get to my doorstep okay. I looked back to see Nicole looking out her window, smiling. I waved, said "goodnight" and she called "goodnight" back to me. I unlocked my door then went inside.
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