That’s a lie. I don’t remember anything about it. I fainted. Before and after the faint, I remember.
Before: Four-thirty AM. I awake, I shamble, I pee, I flush, I shamble. After: I’m face up on the floor. My guess is that I don’t look very good. That’s because my more-than-significant-than-I-am other looks down at me with a panic-stricken expression on her face. “Stay there,” she says. I generally don’t listen to her when she’s dispensing advice, but this time I do, on the off-chance that she might know something I don’t. Like, why I’m lying on the floor. She comes back with the blood pressure taker. I hold up my arm.
I think back on what I don’t remember. I know I didn’t trip. So that leaves fainting. “I fainted,” I say.
“Do you hurt?”
“You will. There’s blood, and your eye is really cut. That was a loud thud.”
The cuff deflates. She looks at the reading. “You’re blood pressure is very low.” “Yeah, I fainted.”
“Don’t get up yet.”
I don’t. “I really banged my head. I can tell. That’s what you heard.”
After a minute I crawl sideways, grab onto the bed, get to my feet. I’m in a semi-shock, but feel relatively okay. “I still don’t hurt that much, but that head bang … maybe we should go to the emergency room.”
“We’re going to the emergency room. Just don’t fall down again until we get there, okay?”
In the car all sorts of pains are popping up and throbbing on my lip, cheek, forehead, knee, arm, shoulder. “I really fell. Now everything is starting to hurt.”
“You’re a mess,” she says. “Your head hit the bed board, then you fell on your knee, then kept falling till you hit the ground.”
“… How do you know this? Are you Sherlock?”
“That’s what I’m guessing. If your head hadn’t broken the fall, you’d be in worse shape.”
A comforting thought. I hope I won’t end up like all those ex-football players, where you shoot yourself in the chest so they can study your brain.
We’re waiting for the doctor. I take out my phone and snap a selfie. My face and head are in ruins. Swollen, enflamed, red, yellow, black. Bloody slices every which way. Huge lip. One eye is pure pulp, the other partial pulp. Actually, I kind of like it. I show her the pic and say I look like Rocky. She says I look like Uncle Fester.
Journalistic restraint prohibits me from publishing a complete headshot. Here’s an eyebrow:
The doctor is a jolly sort, beaming and grinning. He orders the standard blood tests and a complete body CAT scan. I’m wheeled off. I’m wheeled back.
“We have to do something about that eye,” he says. “I think it needs two stitches.”
Finally, some real pain — injecting a local anesthetic in my eyelid. He fumbles around with a needle and thread, looping and twirling and jabbing. She leans in to watch. “Wow! You’d make a really great fly-fisherman!”
He’s laughing. “Ha ha ha! My father-in-law would love that! He’s always asking me to go with him. Ha ha ha!”
This fellow is poking a needle in my eye and the love of my life has made him laugh uproariously. Sometimes I don’t think things are funny.
I’m stitched. “So why did I faint?” I say.
The doctor shrugs. “Let’s wait for the tests.”
He disappears. He reappears. “Nothing really wrong in the CT scan or blood tests, you’re fine…”
Good. I won’t end up like any ex-football players or Mohammad Ali.
“A few little abnormalities,” he says, pacing. “Potassium is down a bit. But what probably caused your fainting is what we call orthostatic hypotension. It’s when you’re lying down or sitting and you get up too fast. Blood rushes down your legs and your blood pressure drops and you get dizzy. But every so often people faint.”
Oh, good. Not too serious.
“But we’d like to move you upstairs to the hospital so we can monitor you for twenty-four hours.”
Oh, good. Very serious.
“Do I have to?” I say.
I hear ominous rustling in the chair on the other side of the bed. “No, you don’t have to,” the doctor says, shrugging again. I look over at the rustling. There’s no way the rustler is going to let me walk out of there. “…Okay!” I say. “Roll me right up to that hospital!”
And all I really wanted to do was to go home, and later go to the grocery store and strut around — and everybody would get out of my way, thinking I was a tough guy, a prizefighter, an escaped convict…
Or a goofy-looking idiot from The Addam’s Family. _____
Next Time: My hospital stay, just like an episode of House MD, with epiphanies and Differentials bouncing off walls.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com.