Today’s Near Death Experience

I almost died this morning.

I was on the train on the way to work when I suddenly started to feel really hot. I mean, REALLY hot. Not just uncomfortable. Like I wanted to rip my skin off because it was holding in too much heat.  Luckily, I had run into my roommate on the way out the door, so I told her that I was hot. She looked at me with her scarf and jacket on like I was crazy and told me she was cold.  I wanted to throw my arms out and scream for everyone to get away from me because I was melting, but there really wouldn’t have been anyplace for them to go anyway, so I just tried to wait for the next stop and prayed everyone was getting off. If I leaned a little forward, I could feel a hint of air blowing from the ceiling, so I tried really hard to focus on that, hoping it would cool me down.

Then it started happening. Like it has happened a hundred times before.  Little black shifting spots started to fill up my line of vision. They start out slowly, moving in from the outside, and then they start to move a little faster. Knowing the possible outcome of these episodes, I mention to my roommate that I’m feeling a little dizzy.  She is still looking at me like I’m crazy, but she takes my bag from me and tells me to lean into the air.

When this happens, it’s like I go to war with my brain.  Keeping consciousness is a mental battle, and it has taken me years, but I have gotten fairly good at beating it.  However, it’s easier to win when you’re…well, anywhere except on a crowded subway where you couldn’t even sit on the floor if you wanted to.

So I leaned against the door and tried not to close my eyes for too long. I asked my roommate if we had been on the train forever, because I was pretty sure we left the last station about 39 minutes ago.  I said that we needed to get to the next stop ASAP so I could take off my sweatshirt.  Bless her soul, she took charge of the situation and helped me get the oven-blanket I had on away from me right then and there.

Things were beginning to look bleak. I was dripping with sweat, it was getting harder to breathe and I could now barely see my roommate who was practically pressed up against me because the swirly black dots had thrown a party and invited the whole famn damily.  I tell her, if I pass out, just drop my bag next to me and walk away, pretending you don’t know me.

I’ve passed out a lot over the years and I know it can be extremely embarrassing.

I did my best to take deep breaths and brought out the big guns.  Whenever I’m teetering between life and darkness like this, the best way I’ve found to keep myself upright is to focus.  Focus on reality.  Especially when time and space start to swirl around and stop making any sense.

I focus on feeling my hand on the pole.  It’s cold, hard. I try to focus on the cold and imagine it spreading from my palm, up my arm, down my back.  I peek through the swirling darkness and catch a glimpse of my roommate.  Still breathing slow and deep, I focus on her face, her shirt, her bag.  Slowly, the dots realize they’re losing and start to go home one by one.  My roommate hands me a bottle of water and makes me drink some.

Finally starting to know where and who I was again, I realized that I didn’t remember actually stopping at any stations. My world had been spinning so fast, I hadn’t been able to tell that the train had ever stopped moving.  I started frantically looking around, assuming she had missed her stop and that mine was coming up.  She, still looking at me like I was having some sort of psychotic break, told me what stop we were at.  Okay, good. I still have a few stops to fully regain my vision.

By the time we reached her stop, the train had cleared out a little and I felt infinitely better. Exhausted from the fight, but significantly less dizzy.  I sat in a newly empty seat and moved as little as possible, still breathing slowly and still feeling like it was taking three times as long to get to my stop as it usually does.

So I may or may not have some sort of horrible disease that is trying to eat me from the inside. It’s possible this was just another case of all of my organs failing at the same time.  Either way, it was not a good time, and next time I hope I’m in a place where I can succumb to the darkness. It’s over a lot faster and is a lot less traumatizing when I just let myself pass out for 3 minutes and wake up feeling as refreshed as though I had just been in a short coma.  [Okay, I’ve never been in a coma, but I have to imagine that you feel pretty awesome after sleeping for 3 whole days].

An over-dramatic hypochondriac I am not.

I’m just a girl who experiences random strange bouts with death and feels the need to share her story.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 11/19/2010.

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