Falling Down:

One day, last Fall, I was waiting to run an errand for work. It was an especially busy time as we were trying to make a 5pm delivery deadline to win new business. 5pm had passed but we were still going to try. The proposal was handed off to me. I had to take it from the edge of lower Manhattan to an area right over the Brooklyn Bridge, real easy. Four cabs passed me up. Cab drivers hate leaving the city. I ran to the train, got off at the stop, ran up the stairs, looked at the map on my phone while my body suddenly went hot and sweaty. I knew I was real close so where was the building? I took a few steps. My heart beat fast. How did I get here? A few more steps. My legs started to turn to jelly. My overall memory started to fade. I grabbed onto a black iron fence and asked a lady where the address was. She eyed me suspiciously and pointed -- the building was a 10 second run across the small park. That's right, there it is. But something more important was going on. The electric fuzz in my brain was growing. "Excuse me, I'm sorry, could you help me? I don't feel well."

Well, I think I said that, I'm not sure.

"Do you know where you live?"
"Ahhhh.... no?"
"Do you know what month it is?"

I guessed a few times.

I'd had a grand mal seizure. It was awesome. I liked that I couldn't remember jack shit, that everything was messed up. This was my first time in an ambulance and it was very exciting! Speaking of, how convenient was it that I was just able to walk over to an ambulance? It was so nice of that lady to point it out to me when I asked for help!

But that didn't happen. My brain made that part up. I was found unconscious in the park. I thought the EMT was full of it until I noticed leaves in my hair, on my clothes and inside the bag with the proposal in it. THE PROPOSAL!

The EMT called my boss for me. She met me at the hospital, picked up the proposal and that was it. I could see in her face that she didn't really care about me and this was later confirmed by an former co-worker.

I didn't have an emergency contact. Bored, I wandered the room a bit. There was a short, portly, Black woman with gray eyes (she appeared blind but didn't always act it) and an obvious mental disorder plus very messed up teeth. Personnel kept trying to inject her, hold her down but she let out blood curdling screams and flailed. Her only solace was a gentle, female guardian. Through tears, she was able to smile and quietly giggle when only that woman touched her.

After several hours, I was released. Groggy, I wandered and I'm assuming I took a cab home.

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At the end of January, my brother was going to visit my mother back in Michigan. I couldn't afford the trip so he paid for the ticket. Within a few hours, I was on a plane to Chicago and then we drove to her house over six hours away. I hadn't seen her in several years. We pulled up around 2am. I rang the bell and she opened the door. Her face went through three phases: who is that, is this real, that is my daughter. She yanked me inside, shut the door, held me and cried. My brother and his wife were still outside and she completely forgot about them.

The house was different. My room was her computer room (or Command Central for cyber-stalking me), her furniture was cartoonishly plump and she had a huge butt.

The next morning, we went for breakfast then strip mall shopping because my brother wanted a butter dish. My mom chased me around the store, trying to secretly hand me money. I just wanted to be left alone and I hate shopping but I tried to stay calm. My eyes started to flinch to the right and whatever was on the left didn't exist. Uh-oh. Earlier that week, I'd had a feeling but I just didn't know exactly when it would hit...

Me: "Can I have your car keys?"
Brother: "For what?"
Me: "I don't feel well. I want to go sit down."
Brother: "Why don't you sit over there?" (nodding at display furniture in the middle of the store)
Me: "No, I want to go out. I need to be alone."
Mom: "What's wrong? You don't feel ok?"
Brother: "She's fine. Stay out of it. Okay. Here you go."
Mom: "What's wrong?"
Me: "Nothing. I need fresh air."

I made it across the parking lot. It was freezing. His car had a snowboard case on top and weird doors. All the vehicles looked the same. I didn't see anybody around. I held onto a cement post and called my brother.

Me: "What does your car look like?
Brother: "Where are you?"

He would attempt to call me several times after that. A couple found me unconscious behind a car. Another grand mal! Grand awesome.

In the hospital room, my mom, brother and his wife were solemn. Nobody would tell me what they saw except that I made funny faces and stuck out my tongue when coming out of the seizure. We noticed that whenever my mom was in my line of sight, my blood pressure went up quick so my brother made her step in and out of the room over and over. She told me that at the store, she was in the bathroom when she heard her name over the loudspeaker and knew it was about me. She said she jumped up and peed her pants a little.

At this point, my neurologist decided that I had to be on medication. For the first month, the stuff messed up my stomach bad. The next month, it was suicidal thoughts. The next, all I did was eat and sleep. Now, it just makes me kind of drowsy.

 

- M