Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Now I'm free, free falling..."

The legs don't so much buckle straight off, as start to quiver and shiver and wobble... and warn of the collapse to come. The too-too-cloying warmness starts to spread its way from the collar, quickly, up to the forehead. While patches of white begin to close in either side of the eyes, clouding, clouding...

And this is the worst bit, the realisation, the knowing just what's about to happen, and the desperate inability to fight it...

And I'm down. And being helped up. And it can only get better from here, the worst is over - that is, the bit just before it's over.

And this time I'm being shuffled from Tube carriage to platform, two concerned commuters eager to pour water down my throat, sit me down, escort me somewhere, anywhere to first aid and sort-of "safety". But I know I just need a few minutes crouched up against the wall and I'll be fine-ish enough, again...

Hmm, not the best way to start the working week, blacking out on a Monday-morning rush-hour train. But, well, I feel sort-of strangely used to it, as comfy as can be. Not that it's happened for, ooh, probably about two years.

The worst time was also on the Underground, albeit staggering up an escalator at London Bridge, coming away from a Monday night football match at Spurs. I'd been feeling perfectly fine (I think we'd just about sneaked a scrappy win, an' all), and it was only as I alighted from the Victoria Line train onto the platform, en route to the overground link, that I started to feel, well, woozy.

Once onto the escalator, those white lights started crowding and clouding in, and I felt suddenly scared. Not only did I know I was about to pass out - already staggering and clawing at the air and losing my footing and seeing only dimly-shrouded ticket machines too, too far ahead of me - but at about 11pm, I was vaguely aware enough to realise I'd doubtless look little more than a foolish, faltering drunkard, no one to assist or sympathise if they knew what they thought they saw...

Someone, I managed to virtually crawl through the barriers, just in time to reach the blast of cold winter air outside, stripping off my coat, jacket, almost even my shirt to bracingly chill myself and come to. And, then, instead of the wind, all I could feel wafting deliciously over me was relief, and I was smiling again, and suddenly back on my way back home.

That must have been the first fainting fit for about five years, the only previous one coming as I lifted myself up a little too abruptly from a few minutes crouching and peering at books on the bottom shelf of a Birmingham Waterstone's. Then, clump. Rocked back onto the hard floor, suddenly seeing those querying faces flat above me, arms helping me up, and a burning sense of embarrassment as I scurried away as fast as my gradually-rejuvenating legs could carry me.

Then again, at the time I was hardly eating well at all - eating, at all - and taking a kind of pride in such, and symptoms of associated weakness and weariness, so it didn't seem quite so baffling.

The recent-years topples have been a bit more bemusing, not least the humiliating sway and slump while quizzing the father of a Sussex man on trial in Australia for allegedly plotting to blackmail Russell Crowe. After a weekend of trying to trace the family, I finally found the dad at his mechanics' workshop, where he was brusquely chatty enough but hardly happy about it all, and our business was just about politely, strainedly through when I started to feel the temperature rising, the legs going, the notebook dropped, I don't want to fall, I don't want to fall, please no, just get through, ah here I go...

And, to be entirely fair to my unwilling interviewees, the people there picked me up, laid me back, called paramedics, and only eventually, reluctantly, wryly-grinningly sent me on my way back to the office to write up a (slightly more restrained and sympathetic) piece when I'd assured all I was fit enough again to go my own way.

My doctor took tests, told me a low blood pressure, or a rather-restricted explanation of postural hypotension, might be to blame, and just to, well, get on with things...
And, until yesterday, that's what I was doing.

Ah well, I dunno...
Maybe time to return.

Or maybe it's the random, entirely-unprovoked slamdunk into the corner of a car roof administered by a baseball-bat-wielding taxi-rank thug way back when, perhaps that has something to do with it...
Well, at least it's an anecdote for another day. Possibly.

Until then, this fuzzy head is heading to bed...

5 comments:

Christian said...

Man, you really do seem to have a set of fainting stories to rival my own collection. The last one of mine was in Prague where I remember feeling quite dizzy and having to take a little walk, then I felt myself fall to my hands and knees, then i slowly turned my head to the table that was next to me and the people looking down at me slightly confused and I remember mouthing to them 'don't worry, i'm alright' then i fell full on the hard wooden floor, and was having a delightful dream about a simpsons episode until I was brought back to reality...

The Badger said...

Sounds nasty. I haven't fainted on a train - but have been tissueless and suffered a couple of nasty nosebleeds which were fairly messy and unpleasant for my travelling companions.
Ah well, Merry Xmas!

mad muthas said...

almost too accurate description of what it feels like. happened to me in foyles last time - yuk!

mad muthas said...

i was just speaking to a friend in france who gets the same thing from time to time. she says she drinks vichy water because the salts raise blood pressure? not sure if that makes any real sense but i thought i'd better pass it on.

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