It was a steamy Tuesday in July. Ironic, only because my parents should have left for San Francisco the night before, leaving me to fend for myself for an entire month, yet they had decided to push their trip back a week for reasons I don’t particularly care to divulge.
It started out as an ordinary day, alternating between fielding emails from contest winners and creating digital promotional pictures for the shows that would be airing that night. I had this awesome promotional water bottle from Bones, you know, the kind that comes with a matching straw? I want to preface this whole story by asserting that I usually drink 4-5 of these a day, but on this particular day… I, ahem, didn’t have any.
Sh, I know.
My friend, Kat, who works in Graphics, invited me to lunch in the cafeteria around 12:30. I had an extremely brief debate with myself over getting a grilled cheese or a salad, before meeting her in the sunlit dining room. I had a fleeting moment of guilt when I noticed that she had brought a salad, but pushed it away after I remembered how much more fun my lunch was to eat than hers.
Halfway through the crispy sandwich I realized that I was uncomfortably full. Strange.
I leaned back in my chair, noticing how the slight discomfort seemed to be spreading outward, from my stomach into the rest of my body.
I got hot. I took off my little half-sweater.
I was momentarily distracted by how cute my full-length tribal print skirt was, but I refocused myself.
Kat noticed my agitated movements and asked me about it.
My cheeks were starting to get hot and I could tell my vision was starting to tunnel in as I explained, breathlessly, that I was feeling dizzy. I turned back towards her, rocking a little in the hard plastic chair.
“Do I look pale?”
She shook her head, peering closely at me. “No, you look a little flushed, though. Did you have water?”
I shook my head, more in an attempt to clear my senses than to answer her question. I wanted to go to the bathroom, someplace private, but I knew I wouldn’t make it. I couldn’t risk standing.
“I think I just need to rest my head.” I mumbled, leaning forward and securing my head on top of my crossed arms. I would just ride it out. Just ride it out.
Kat was still talking.
“Becca. Becca. Becca!”
I fluttered my eyes open, blinking in the bright light. Awkward. I probably started snoring in the middle of the cafeteria.
I could hear Kat’s agitated voice over my head. Why was she standing? I turned my head a little and noticed a large puddle of Kool Aid right by my face.
I still felt light-headed and dizzy, but I was mad. That’s not funny. I was wearing a white shirt. You don’t pour red Kool Aid on someone’s head when they’re wearing white. Not to mention, I’m black. That’s just not something you do. Hello… my hair?
Kat’s voice was becoming clearer in my head.
“Becca, are you okay?!”
As I started to push myself up, I realized that I was on the floor.
On the floor?
I said the only thing that popped into my head.
“What the f*ck?”
Two, strong, male arms gripped me and lifted me into the chair. The Kool Aid dripped out of my hair and onto my skirt. I tried to catch the drops as I saw them falling, but my hands didn’t move.
Dejected, I watched the red drops sink into the fabric. I wondered if it had gotten on my shirt. What do you use to get red stains out of cotton? Oxy clean? Bleach? The tribal print wasn’t all white, I wouldn’t want to bleach the other col-
Someone was waving their hand in my face. I wanted to push their hand away, but my arms wouldn’t move. I looked down again.
Oh. There were arms holding my arms down. I looked around.
There were about fifteen anxious faces peering down at me around the little, circular cafeteria table. I blinked at them in surprise.
“You fainted!” Kat said, fluttering around me anxiously. “Right off the table. You hit your head.”
I lifted a hand and lightly touched my fingers to my face. They came back bright red. Kool Aid.
Oh. Not Kool Aid.
I looked down, back at the puddle I had first opened my eyes to. It looked so fake, stretching out on the tiles. So bright red it was almost pink. My blood.
A water bottle was at my lips, tilting. I drank.
I heard Kat, almost from far away. “I’m calling your dad.”
I was relieved. That’s good. That’s a smart idea. He’s a smart person. He’ll fix it.
A paramedic appeared at my side and I looked blearily up at him. I think there was blood dripping over my eyelashes. That can’t be cute. I decided it was okay, because he wasn’t that cute.
He asked me my name and I blinked up at him. Did he want my full name or the name he ought to call me? It dawned on me that he was probably just checking my coherency.
“Davis.” I mumbled, searching for the water bottle again. Wait, but I don’t want him to call me that. “Becca Davis.” Like Bond, James Bond.
I barked out a single, loud “HA” which made everyone in the room jump, and then my body weakened and I collapsed backwards. Good thing there was still a man standing there.
Somehow, the paramedics got me into a stretcher and wheeled me out of the building. I woozily watched the walls go by, vaguely hearing Kat reassure me that my father would meet me at the hospital.
Then, I was in the back of the ambulance, watching the male paramedic bustle around me. I recalled the last time I was in the hospital, almost ten years ago for a broken collarbone, and my father was reminding me to be as helpful and as detailed as possible so the doctor could make an accurate diagnosis.
“Hey.” I mumbled weakly to the paramedic, fluttering my fingers urgently at him. He turned to me immediately.
“Is everything alright?”
“I have a hedgehog.” I nodded sagely at him before letting my head fall back again.
“That’s good to know.” He said, resuming his bustling. “I’m going to put an IV in now.”
I looked at the inch and a half long plastic tube he was holding in his hand.
He didn’t think much of my preference. The IV slid in, and the sharp pain lifted the fog. My eyes blinked, the dizzy and light headed-ness gone, replaced by an intense, agonizing pain above my left temple. I groaned, raising my hand to grab the area, but he held down my arm.
“I wouldn’t touch that.” Ick.
We arrived at Saint Frances Hospital and they wheeled me into Ambulance Triage. They were quick. Within 20 minutes they had me set up in a private room, out of my bloody clothes and into a stupid hospital gown, cleaned up my head, and hooked up to a machine by 4-5 wires attached to my torso.
I just wanted Advil.
My parents came in as they were finishing and started going on about the scar I was going to have and how it ought to be stitched. I just wanted the pain to stop.
The doctor ordered a CAT scan, and then told us to sit tight for a couple hours. My parents went to the cafeteria to get food, and I settled into the bed, trying to ignore the thumping in my brain. The wooziness had returned soon after I’d been cleaned up, and I was spending most of time being fascinated by threads in the sheets.
Sometimes while my parents were gone, the interns started making their rounds. I think I feel asleep, because when I fluttered my eyes open, there were about eight people in blue peering down at me. Nobody was talking; we were just looking at each other.
“Knock, knock.” I mumbled, unsure of what else to do.
“Excuse me?” A woman in a white coat leaned closer to me. I mustered up a little more strength to speak louder.
The interns in blue exchanged several looks before one said,
“Uh, who’s there?”
“To.” My eyes fluttered closed again. The light was too bright.
“To who, honey?” The doctor placed her fingers on my wrist. I opened my eyes again.
There was a pause, and then everyone started chuckling. My doctor came back with my parents and finally stitched up my head wound, which wouldn’t stop bleeding. My first stitches. Yay.
CAT scan came back normal, my blood work was perfect, I wasn’t pregnant. I’m just some idiot who fainted out of chair, smashed her head on a tiled floor, tried to accuse someone of spilling Kool-Aid on her, and then told jokes to the hospital staff.
So. How was your Tuesday?