I want to start by saying I’m well and glad to be alive. 2019 is about to conclude and it’s been eventful at the very least. I’m here to share a very exciting Saturday, one that I worked towards for months in advance and although it was nothing near to dull, it couldn’t be more opposite to how I imagined that weekend would go by.
I want to talk about gut feeling as well – I’ve had two major incidents this year and each time I felt funny before leaving the house in the morning. I remember both days vividly, that slight pause at the door and a very strong feeling of ‘something’s not right’. I’m unsure if its because something happened later that I remember those mornings and my nerves or is it that I felt so because something was about to happen. More on this later. For now, let’s focus on pain, blinding pain.
It was all I felt the instance I sat down to have the first meal of my day on 16th November after being out on the field all day. Blinding pain and a tingly feeling around my head, hands and abdomen.
My first thought: what’s happening to me? quickly escalated to ‘This is my last day’. Every second seemed to pass slower and with it my worry grew. I was frightened unlike anything I’ve felt before which scared me more as I’m the kind of person who takes health and wellbeing lightly. I’d suffer a migraine for hours before thinking to treat it with a medicine or to complain about it, I’m usually looking for ways to distract myself or perhaps test my threshold but that day I felt scared.
I felt sick and had no clue what was happening inside of me, my body felt foreign and all my insides were on fire and at war. I couldn’t think fast enough, couldn’t react fast enough. All I wanted was to talk to someone, talk to Moeed but my phone’s battery ran low. I plugged it in, which I’ll regret later…
I thought I was getting claustrophobic from being inside a windowless room so I gathered all of my strength and walked out the office brushing past all the guests and staff alike. I walked down about 350m to the toilets thinking of all the possible things that could be happening to me but didn’t steer away from the thought of dying. I could feel the tingle growing into an itch, rampant breathing, hot flashes, sweating…
I looked at my dark red hands radiating the heat I could feel against my palms. My walk turned to a limp and it took all of my determination to keep walking. The door to the bathroom was my only focus as my brain and vision got fuzzy. I didn’t have my phone on me, there were no people around, not a single soul. Day time and windy but it seemed dark, clammy and hot. When I finally made it I felt both relieved for being able to stop and panic for being on my own.
I sat down on the toilet, staring at my hands I grew increasingly aware of my heartbeat, my scorching skin and the feeling of suffocation. I tried to take my jacket off as my brain processed memories good and bad terrorizing me to my core. The pain enveloped me whole at this point tearing through my insides, shooting upwards and sideways and claiming my body and consciousness.
I looked at myself in the mirror, registering my bloodshot eyes and skin. The only thought: Am I having a stroke?
I felt like the end. I had so much to say, to write, to share, so much to live for and to love but it felt distant, more dreamlike than reality. I was spiraling down this rabbit hole as the thought and memory of this one person kept my eyes from shutting completely. I had this strong urge to breathe, to walk out again and reach out for help. I didn’t know until then the true essence of strength and determination.
Then came the longest walk of my life and surely the most impossible. I forced myself up and out, feud between my brain and my body, whether to keep my horrified reflection out of my head and to keep going or to give in the temptation and drop down on the concrete floor and end the torment. All of life’s pains seemed like a prick of a needle compared to this, the agony and stress and fright was more real than anything I’ve felt in a long time.
It took everything I am and then some to walk back and place myself on a chair inside a room. I lifted my arms and moved my hands to grab my phone, except I only thought I did. My phone was on the ground and my eyes shut, shoulders slumped and hearing heightened.
The noisy crowd tuned out and voices of concerned colleagues surrounded my aura. I heard them crisp and clear, their worried steps and effortfully calm conversations. ‘Should we call you an ambulance?” I think I must’ve nodded, I meant to speak but my body felt foreign at the time.
Not very different from a sleep paralysis where you battle your consciousness and your stationary body into movement except it was my reality. A scary one at that. I felt a touch on my arms helping me lay on the floor on my back, I sensed shortening of air as more people walked in to the room and started talking, I recall someone calling my husband and cold stickers on my skin wired to something, I remember the numbness in my fingers as the band across my arms pressed and released. I remember the light and the stretcher and being inside an ambulance. I remember it all yet none of it.
All of the moments from my getting out of the room till my being back in the chair are a blur, a hazy memory yet I remember those seconds of my life as vividly as I’m walking through it every time I think about it…