Because it struck me on Easter morning, on what would have been my fourth day as a proper Catholic, I was sure it was an attack from Satan personally. I’m self-important that way, in my imagination.
I was extremely weak, nauseated, eyes were hard to open or see with, and I felt like a poisoned rodent. Still, I put on my red dress, stockings, coat, sunglasses–and made my way to Church. Never felt more grateful for big Jackie-O sunglasses on a sunny day. Got to Church, took one step at a time, up the stairs.
Standing room only. I left only after whispering a soundless apology to God that I had to leave because I thought I might throw up. I got home and did just that, oddly enough, in the sink. That’s an indication of how sudden it was. Rounded the corner into the bedroom, drew the curtains, collapsed into bed, gave thanks for the cool sheets, and begged Lewis to come. Lewis is my younger cat, who always comes when I am ill or extremely sad and stays with me, does not leave my side. Pretty soon, the room was spinning. I wanted water but absolutely lacked the energy to move. It’s not that interesting to die, and also, I didn’t, so I’ll abbreviate the next 12 hours thusly: I had less energy than the dead, my head was pounding in pain, I took to crawling to the kitchen to get water, and vomiting all over the floor, in the hall, in the kitchen, or in the bathroom, totally unable to even direct my vomit. My sister Bibi called and sounded very worried, said I had to see a doctor. I was thinking it was just food poisoning, and did not want to be on a stretcher in the ER alone, shivering and feeling tragic. My sister lives two hours north of New York and my son lives on the West coast. At around 1 am I actually got worse, and our very own John Powell was demanding I go to hospital, after I posted here that I am acutely ill, rather than ignoring our conversation that I was appreciating so much.
I lay there just feeling lighter and lighter, like I was floating, I fell asleep finally, for a few hours, woke up feeling suddenly at peace, suspended over my life, like when a horse is harnessed and lifted across a body of water. There was nothing I could do. Finally I made my way to the bathroom again, vomited on the way, crawled to the bedroom, got the phone and dialed 911. “I’m extremely ill,” I croaked. I gave them my address, then I curled up on the hall floor with a blanket and my handbag and keys. A few minutes later they arrived, and took me in a wheelchair down to the ambulance. In the ambulance nothing interesting happened. Except that the guy with messiah hair from the Dive Bar texted me, one in the morning mind you, and wondered how I was. “are you well?”
“I’m in an ambulance actually,” I texted back.
“What happened??” he wrote.
I told him I would let him know tomorrow. And I did talk to the ambulance workers a little. Never stop asking questions. “You guys must see a lot.”
“Get used to it, don’t even notice. Blood all over. Then we just go eat lunch.”
At the hospital they gave me IV fluids, and diagnosed a severe migraine with vomiting–not food poisoning. I got migraine medications and some anti-histamines. I am now certain it was all brought on by sitting on a duvet made of feathers for about 5 hours the previous day on a visit. The chair was handed down from several generations, and I am deathly allergic to feathers. I lay shivering for a while, a couple of hours, fell asleep some, then they pulled the needles out, I signed the papers, and I was out on 9th avenue at dawn. Took a taxi home. Jack and Lewis were pretty happy to see me.
Today, I feel fine. But I had an awful lot of laundry to do.
I also had a comprehensive epiphany, while doing the dishes: I don’t need any more fixing. Nothing is wrong with me. All that seeking and asking and traveling to healing clinics and out-sourcing my own intuition, that was all just serving my need to be Under.
I’m finished with all that now.