What is Drastic + Dramatic

Monday, April 02, 2012

off with her head

In my life, I have never fainted.

Okay, it's not good to start a blog post with a non-truth.

It has been exactly a very long time since the first and only time I ever fainted. But it was not natural. It happened at grandma's house in Oregon. A few of us had observed somewhere that if we wanted to experience a safe fainting, there was a way. We would first need to stand against a flat surface, like a wall, or our choice: a glass door; second, take calm, deep breaths as sibling or cousin firmly pressed their meaty palms on both carotid arteries, pushing the neck back toward the window until, three, the blood supply in the skull above their strangling hands was restricted enough to require the body to droop limply and level itself to the ground in hopes of evening out the juices.

Kids are experimentally stupid.

I distinctly remember the strange breathing sound I made with a disc-shaped neck. I don't remember the feeling leading up to the drop, but my recollection can still see clearly what my mind saw in the blackness of that cerebral restart: I saw myself curled up on the floor next to the edge of Grandma's couch, plain and simple. Then I came to, curled up instead where I'd fallen next to the glass door, rays of sunshine warming the carpet and my body indifferently.

It still seems strange to me that I pictured anything at all during those few seconds of darkness, but I puzzle sometimes why I saw myself only feet away from myself, curled up much the same as the self curled up in reality. But that is rather true to what I've learned to be, at times, the rather unimaginative subconscious floating within me. Sure I have some wicked crazy thoughts and dreams, but then sometimes, especially those times where you want to go a little crazy, my realistic nature interferes and my dreams continue along much too truly to life.

I got up and went away. I never wanted to faint again. I never have. Today, I almost did.

After three too-short hours of sleep, I found myself standing in the temple. This is not a dream, this is real. A lot of standing goes on when you're a volunteer ordinance worker at the temple. I try to keep my knees unlocked, keep my weight shifting from foot to foot, bounce up or squat down when no one's looking, just to keep my blood moving and myself alert.

I was nearing the very end of the eighth hour. Someone would come to replace me momentarily. Extreme fatigue was circling my weakened brain like a skeletal coyote. Normally I can shoo it away when I'm animated: speaking, moving, keeping alert. But this time I was trapped. I was mid-speaking, blessing a sweet sister, when something I've never felt before started happening.

My muscles heated up. All my vitals were pushing the temperature needle into the solid red warning side of acceptable. I'd been feeling spurts of a similar heat flash, mostly sprouting from my chest, so I figured it was yet another brief moment of heat that would pass. But then came the detachment of my head.

Figuratively speaking, of course. Words formed in slow puffs of air in my mouth, sent dreamily from my abandoned lungs. I did my best to keep the words coming, but my head emptied, floating. My hands too soon felt tied to thick balloons. I recognized the rest of my body would soon droop limply so finally that life-preserving realistic part of me sent the words, 'sorry, I'm feeling suddenly. . . really light headed.'

The sweet sister jumped from her chair and let me drop down in her place. I held on to the chair's arms and closed my eyes. A distinct clover/four-pointed star pattern glazed the back of my eyelids.

sort of like this, except the color of shadow and flesh

Another sister came to my side and said she would finish what I started and I moved to a different stool. The drippings of a feasting coyote formed steady tears in my eyes. Moments later my replacement came; she clearly saw the stress in my whole frame and, as she asked if I was okay and I blankly nodded, my body walked me away to get my stuff to go home.

I was a regular zombie. Actually, I think I suddenly knew what it was like for Westley from The Princess Bride after first experiencing that life-sucking machine, or perhaps what it feels like to come lip to lip with a Dementor. I couldn't stop the tears, the sobbing. It was as if I was mourning something. Part of me had left, something was gone indefinitely.

In the locker room, gratefully alone, my uncontrollable sobbing mingled with mild hysterics. I pictured my deplorable condition as if I were an onlooker who knew my recent history of high-stress and low-rest and it made me crack a little more; a pitiful laugh would escape only to be immediately swallowed in curling sobs.

Leaving the locker room a few minutes later, composed just enough, I looked at my eyes as displayed in a mirror. I'd never seen them iced in that shade of red before. They reflected well how I felt on the inside. I went home, turned my needy phone to silent. Slept from 10am to 3pm.

Whatever I lost today, at least I still have my head. . . .

What I need is a massage. One that comes with a free husband. Anyone know any sweet deals?
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