In a haze of semi-consciousness, I begin to open my eyes.
Where am I?
I slowly focus on a swath of familiar brown, burgundy, and green of my living room sofa. With great effort, I lift my face to the sickening sight of a pool of blood beneath me.
In fear, I cry out. “Ron, help! I’m hurt! I’m bleeding!”
Awakened by my desperate pre-dawn plea, he runs from the back bedroom and bends over my rag-doll body.
“I don’t know. I wanta’ throw up.”
He hustles to the hallway bathroom, dampens a washcloth and returns. Lifting my head, he painstakingly washes fresh and caked blood from my face and mouth.
“Can you get up?”
“I think so. I feel so sick.”
He lifts me from the floor, steadies me with the strength of his body, and moves me to a nearby recliner.
“Get me a trash can ta’ throw up in!”
Dry heaves do little to ease my waves of nausea and dizziness.
“Do you think it’s something you ate?”
“Maybe; it might be the roast beef.”
Ron, a vegetarian, did not share in that portion of yesterday’s meal; he’s eager to agree with my speculation.
“Throw out the rest!”
I begin to retrieve memories of the night before and share a summary with Ron…
After church Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible study, we had watched an old movie before going to bed. I dealt with anxiety over possibly having to tell a friend something that might hurt her feelings. With rapid heartbeat, it was difficult to get comfortable, still my mind, and fall asleep. Restless, I did eventually doze off.
Pre-dawn, that morning, I awoke. Opening my eyes, I saw the time on the alarm clock atop the stand beside me. The large, luminous 5:10 means I overslept. Hating an upset in my regular morning regiment, I jumped from our bed, grabbed my cell phone and rushed to the kitchen to make morning tea. Standing at the counter, I plugged in my phone to recharge the battery. A sudden rush of nausea overwhelmed me. My head felt as if it was in a vice and I sensed the likeliness of fainting. I hastened to retrace my steps from the kitchen, but barely made it to the large living room. Passing out, I fell flat on my face upon on the hard wood floor.
I wrap up my detailed account, focusing on time between falling-to-regaining consciousnesses.
“I think I was out about 20-30 minutes. It might be a low blood sugar problem, too. Back in Florida, I was on that high protein diet because the doctor thought I had hypoglycemia”
“Can you eat anything?”
“Maybe some weak tea and dry toast.”
I manage to eat a few bites of toast and sip tepid tea, before getting brave enough to walk slowly to the hallway bathroom. Once inside, I peer into the lighted vanity mirror. Seeing my bloodied battered face, I observe the swollen left eye and bruised laceration close below. My busted lip more closely resembles that of a boxer than a middle-aged housewife.
Doing a quick examination of my body, beneath my gown and robe, I find bruised areas on my left arm and both legs. I’m wobbly, weary and afraid. With determination, I go back to our bed. Later, the doorbell rings.
“Abby, we have company. We’re coming in.”
Ron comes into the bedroom with our concerned pastor.
Brother Danny asks, “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“No, I’ll be okay.”
After a brief discussion, he leads in prayer. Before leaving, he again offers his assistance.
A short time passes before someone else rings the doorbell. Ron greets Millie, a friend and neighbor from church. Our pastor had informed her about my blacking out. With Ron, Millie enters the bedroom, equipped with blood pressure and blood sugar testing apparatus.
My modern day Florence Nightingale comes to my aid and runs a quick check of vitals. Both my blood pressure and sugar levels appear to be normal. I appreciate her concern and bedside manner. Like our pastor, who showed empathy, she makes herself available before we say our goodbyes.
My symptoms steadily decline. When I go to my doctor, I explain my fainting incident. She brushes it off like the common cold. Today, two years later, recounting my brush with danger, I am now keenly aware of the delicate balance between conscious and unconsciousness.