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Onward Bound

Sometimes life is tough. Sometimes life is awesome. Sometimes it a little bit of both. Either way, you have to keep going. I'll be running, laughing, crying and sharing it all here.

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    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    Stopping Traffic

    I'm in College Park, MD judging a writing contest. Which reminds me of one of the awards I won when I was a reporter in North Carolina. It was from the North Carolina Mental Health Association. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was the North Carolina Mental Health Association Reporter of the Year in 2001. Please hold your applause.

    Consider that little factoid as you read the following (true, sadly) story from yesterday:

    I arrived at BWI in good spirits. Rental car line was a little long, but I took it in stride. Had an awesome lunch with a new client and hit the road to head down to Richmond for the night. Cruisin' down I95 in my little rental car (NOT a PT Cruiser this time, thank God!) Looking forward to a 4:30 happy hour with another client. Feeling good. Oh no. Not feeling good. Is that my heart? And come to think of it, wasn't I having a tinge of pain right before lunch? Maybe I just need to get my mind off it. I call my boss. Leave her a voice mail about my fabulous lunch. And now my heart is really hurting and so is my left arm. ohmygodI'mhavingaheartattackatage30! And I might die right here at the wheel and put others in harm's way as I spin out of control on 95.

    I pull over.

    And call 911.

    Because that's what you do when you could be dying.

    And then I wait. And I can't breathe and my arm and now the back of my neck are both tingly.

    This is not good.

    911 man is very calm. He tells me to do the same thing. Help is on the way.

    Is it stupid that I called 911, I ask?

    No, you did the right thing, he says.

    A police officer shows up. His fly is down. I want to tell him, but I'm too busy dying.

    In my rear view mirror I see a fire truck, lights, sirens and all careening down 95. Oh god. Is that for me? It is.

    The fire truck pulls in behind me and angles itself so that the lane of traffic is blocked. It is followed by an ambulance which pulls in front of me and the cop car.

    Five or six? EMT's crawl out and are surrounding my car. Someone is walking me to the ambulance. That someone is incredibly hot and I can't stop looking at him. But don't judge me because I was dying and deserved some last pleasures in life.

    And I'm still in great pain. But apparently I'm not dying.

    Apparently I'm having a panic attack. I'm told this as I'm sitting on a stretcher, with heart monitors stuck all over me, a blanket draped over my lap with my red work heels poking out.

    Apparently you can have them when you are having a perfectly lovely day and not at all stressed.

    The EMT's humored me. They see it all the time. Don't be embarrased.

    But I stopped traffic.

    And then, I got back in my car and drove south toward Richmond. And proceeded to have an amazing evening. What the hell?


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