My cousin Emily is a high school English teacher in Ruston, LA. Anytime I think about someone passing out, I think about a story that Emily told me one time. In her first year of teaching, a student burst into her room and exclaimed "Ms. Howell - DebOrah done fell out!"
Well, yesterday morning I done fell out 3 times, totaling about 20 minutes of unconsciousness. I have been feeling a little under the weather this week - mostly due to a severe sore throat that's been nagging me since Monday. I ran on Monday and Tuesday, but took Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as rest days. I had actually planned to make a doctor's appointment for this morning to get my throat checked out and to rule out strep throat.
So yesterday morning started off like any normal day, other than the fact that it was -3 degrees outside, with a wind chill of -12 degrees. Just too damn cold. I woke up at about 4:30am to take 2 ibuprofen for my throat, but then went back to bed. I then woke up at 6:45am and got ready for work - took a shower, got dressed, took my morning meds (b.c., multi-vitamin), took Emma out to go to the bathroom, tucked her back into bed, and headed off too work. Asbury Seminary is about 6.5 miles from our house, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get there. My car was warmed up and my heater was letting out a steady stream of heat, but my fingers and toes were still freezing - despite my thick socks and gloves. About half way into my drive, my extremities seemed to regain feeling, but then I started to feel funny. I felt like I was going to pass out, but I kept thinking - no, you're not going to pass out. As I got closer to the seminary the feeling got stronger and stronger - enough to where I was like ok, I have to park somewhere because I'm about to go down. I take a country road into work, and there isn't exactly any place to pull over so I knew that I had to make it to a parking lot at the seminary. I kept shaking my head, hoping it would keep my conscious until I made it to the parking lot. Luckily, it did.
I pulled into the parking lot and the last thing I remember is putting the car in park. I came to and was slumped against my door, feeling extremely disoriented and very hot. I turned off my car and took of my gloves and hat to cool down a little. All kinds of thoughts were racing through my mind - I need to call someone, what is going on, am I going to die out here in this parking lot, what am I going to do, etc. A little dramatic, yes - but I was really out of it. So I finally got enough sense back to realize that I needed to call someone. Before I could find my phone, I went out again. This time when I came to, I was freezing because of the lack of heat and no gloves and/or hat. So I pulled my gloves on and found my phone. I knew that Chad was in class and probably had his phone on 'silent,' so I called my boss, Sheryl. I was like Sheryl, I have no idea what is going on, but I just passed out twice and I'm pretty sure I'm about to pass out again. She had me tell her where I was and she was like - "Stay there, we are coming to get you!" and then I passed out again. This time when I came to I couldn't see - and that really freaked me out. I've passed out a good bit in my life (once due to pain, other times due to medicines reacting to one another) but I've never lost my vision as a result of blacking out. It came back after a minute or so, but it was one of the most terrifying minutes of my life. I remember seeing my dashboard slowly come back into focus, and it was the most beautiful dashboard I have ever seen.
About that time Sheryl and my co-worker Megan arrived at my car and Sheryl got in the passenger seat. She told me that another one of my co-workers, Isaac, had gone to get Chad out of class and that they were on their way to the parking lot. Once Chad got to the car I started crying and was like "I don't know what's going on..." It was decided that he would go back to class to get his things and Sheryl would drive me over to the student center so we could rendezvous with Chad. Once we did that, Chad and I set off towards the doctor's office. I didn't feel like I was going to pass out any more, but I did feel very disoriented and tired.
Once we got the doctor's office, Chad explained everything that happened to the receptionist and I was back in a room in about 5 minutes. I might try going to the doctor's office without an appointment more often - talk about quick service! So they took my temp, blood pressure, blood sugar, tested for anemia, tested for pregnancy and did an EKG. Everything came back normal, except they did find that I have a urinary tract infection. That was news to me - I don't even know what the symptoms are for a UTI. They also took blood, and we are still awaiting the results on that. My doctor didn't think that the UTI was the likely cause of the fainting, so she consulted with another doctor and they decided it would be best to schedule a brain scan, EEG, and for me to wear a Holter monitor. I have the brain scan and pick up the Holter monitor on Tuesday, and then I will go back on Friday to turn in the Holter monitor and get an EEG.
I am hoping that what happened yesterday was a freak combination of my body dealing with the extreme cold, dehydration, fatigue, and the UTI. I am hoping my body just decided to hit CTRL ALT DEL for a moment. For the safety of those in Jessamine County, I have been instructed to not drive until I have the tests done and the doctors can either diagnose me or rule things out. I am anxious to talk to the cardiologists about my marathon training. I am still hopeful that I will be able to do the Derby Festival marathon in April, but realistic to know that if I have a heart arrhythmia or something then long distance running might not be in my best interest.
I woke up this morning expecting to feel better, but I really felt like I was hungover. I don't really know what being truly hungover feels like because I usually can get a buzz off of two sips of a Miller Chill, but I imagine this is what it feels like. Chad has been a great caretaker over the past few days - bringing me Frosties and smoothies, Gatorade, soup, cranberry juice, etc.
I found out this morning that there is a possibility that my mom may be able to come up and visit us next weekend, which would be absolutely wonderful. A very nice man from my sister's church offered to give her a free round trip ticket, so I am really hoping that everything works out with the airline and that he is able to transfer the ticket to her. Everyone needs their mama when they are feeling bad!
Well that is my crazy experience of the week. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and kind words - they were very uplifting and comforting yesterday and continue to be so.