8-10 Minutes of Pure and Complete Terror

(Note -- humor is my coping mechanism.  I may sound flippant about the following, but in all honesty I am still very completely freaked out... it's just that I've always been determined to keep my blog whimsical and fun, since I don't like to do the whole drama thing in public.  That's why I've only been posting entries when we've done something exciting or entertaining, and will continue to do so.  I hope that this entry will be the sole exception.  Also, there might be some swear words in this entry -- not completely sure just yet, but giving this warning just in case anyone might object to panic-induced profanity.)


So Lucie and I have been hitting the track down at the Campbell Community Center a few times a week, where I walk laps and Lucie does a walk-jog combination that my knees can't handle (at least not yet.)  And that's pretty groovy -- we get some exercise, and we sweat, but again it's not so strenuous that it knocks us out or anything.

And we've both been working out with our personal trainer since the beginning of this year (I've been doing it since July of last year; Lucie started this January), and while she's been working us pretty hard every time it's never been so hard we can't handle it.

And we've both been dieting as well for about the same amount of time, and we've both lost a pretty decent amount of weight.  So that's pretty awesome, and we do make sure we get a sufficient amount of energy and liquids so we don't feel any ill effects.

Except for this last time.

We just finished up a week-long staycation, where we did a few day trips but mostly stayed at home and rested -- at least one blog entry to follow regarding one of the day trip; I haven't gotten to it yet because I'm a slacker who's still mostly on vacation time.  And, you know, this whole episode sort of got me sidetracked a bit.

Anyway, I went back to work the day after Labor Day, while Lucie took one more day off.  That evening, we had our Tuesday session with our personal trainer as usual... except it wasn't really all that normal.

At the very last part of our session, Lucie was a little winded, so she was sitting down for a quick rest talking to our trainer about jogging (our trainer -- who I shall henceforth call J -- runs, jogs, sprints, and generally does lots of cockroach-fast movement type stuff on weekends, and has been giving Lucie helpful tips since Lucie's been working up to doing the 5K run at the next Komen for the Cure event in Fresno.)  As the conversation went on, Lucie started to feel more exhausted, and her vision started to tunnel a little.  This turned into her having a little trouble breathing, which turned into her tilting to one side without realizing it, which turned into both J and me on either side of my wife, trying to help her sit back up, which turned into her being helped onto the floor, which turned into her turning a horrifying gray color and lapsing into unconsciousness while J tried to wake her up and I was running around in circles in a sheer panic, gibbering like an idiot only much less coherent or effective.

J -- who already was pretty nifty a person but who shall from now on be top-shelf awesome as far as I'm concerned -- kept her cool and had me call 911 while she kept trying to get Lucie to wake up.  Now, when it comes to my own health and safety, I am apathetic at best, and downright masochistic when I'm feeling particularly hard on myself; but it's a slightly different story when it's my wife under duress.  After this episode I will never again scoff at all of those cliché scenes in books or movies where the husband goes all goofy when his wife is in duress.  Because THAT shit got REAL, and fast.  My iPhone says that the call only lasted ten minutes, but that is so obviously a floating digit error or something because I know for a fact that what followed lasted no less than thirteen full years -- or maybe that's just how much my life was shortened.

During this time, under the seemingly calm and polite but insistent "recommendations" of both J and the nice lady on the other end of my 911 call, I gently and carefully moved out of the weight room where we were situated, so as to get better cell phone reception (possibly breaking a Raymond-shaped hole in the wall like a hapless animated coyote -- my memory is a bit hazy); proceeded in a docile manner into the reception area of the building (possibly hurling the children playing basketball out of my way like they were cabers and I was a caffeine-fueled berseker Scotsman at the highland games -- can't quite recall the specifics) where I politely requested the presence of the gentleman there to assist with J's efforts (I seem to remember grabbing some sensitive body parts to drag him, and there may have been some kicking and screaming and threats -- but that might just be vague remnants of a non-related fever dream); coolly related the verbal instructions from the 911 operator to J and the reception guy in a levelheaded manner (possibly shrieking the instructions over and over in the voice of a preteen girl, like a stuttering castrato auctioneer on crystal meth -- really, who's to say?), and kept everyone nearby calm and quiet until the paramedics arrived.

I mean, seriously... I was a freakin' rock.

Lucie had regained consciousness by the time the EMTs arrived, and I had handed my phone over to J so I could be with my wife in the cellular dead zone while J could wait for the EMTs by the front door and direct them to where we were.  Pretty sure J was panicking like a girl or something, but hey -- what can you do?  The four firemen who arrived first, and the three paramedics who showed up shortly afterwards, were to my recollection all huge manly men, at least seven feet tall and muscled like superheroes, glowing softly with a beautiful golden aura like Zeus surely must have when he came down from Olympus to hook up mere mortals with EKG pads, and with chins that thrust out proudly and in a masculine manner which would put Bruce Campbell's to shame.  They lifted her onto a gurney (I swear that I remember seeing one of the guys lifting her up with just a single finger, and spinning her like a basketball held aloft by a Harlem Globetrotter as he moonwalked over to the gurney because they were ALL SO HUGELY INCREDIBLE PEOPLE) and wheeled her out to the ambulance to drive her to Kaiser Permanente hospital.

J kept asking me if I was okay to drive over there by myself -- really, it was sort of quaint how nervous some people get in this situation -- but eventually relented and let me go, with the promise that I keep her informed.

I got into Meg, beat the ambulance to Kaiser, and eventually met back up with Lucie in the ER where she was relaxing in bed like nothing had happened.  At first the doctors were sure it was just dehydration, but due to the duration of her syncope they had some concerns about it being heart arrhythmia or something worse so they kept her overnight for observation.  My vision of the "something worse" being Mola Ram sneaking into Lucie's room all ninja-like and pulling the beating heart out of her chest did not come to pass, which was unexpected but in a good way.

Slightly dramatized...

At this point they've pretty much decided it was dehydration due to the minimal amount of food and drink Lucie had eaten that day, but they're doing a treadmill stress test and echocardiogram in a few days to completely rule out any potential cardiac issues. Until then, she's released from the hospital and back to normal, and it's just maybe potentially possibly theoretically the case that any time Lucie coughs, or changes position when she's sitting on the couch, or makes any sort of movement or noise WHATSOEVER I freak out and ask her if she's okay.  Hopefully I'm subtle about it, though, so she doesn't notice.

Lucie's biggest regret about the ordeal?  She left the black bandana she was wearing as a sweatband in the weight room when she collapsed and had to be wheeled out on the stretcher, and she thinks she might have lost it.  She *liked* that bandana.


I'm hoping I don't wet myself when I have that heart attack.


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