Today was supposed to be a ‘fun’ day.
Every so often, the Little Woman volunteers to drive me around (for a change), and we go roaming around town. I look forward to these outings because we don’t spend enough time together as it is, and it allows me to travel without being responsible for everything. Sometimes it’s just nice to be a passenger, rather than the person in charge of everything. She brought up the idea of this outing some days ago, and in the wake of the Albany Tame Pinions fiasco, it was something about which I was excited.
The trek started off just fine. The Little Woman asked me where I might want to go, and I told her that she was driving, so she should pick. She tossed out the idea of visiting a favorite store of mine, and despite the fact that I’ve been hemorrhaging money this last month, I agreed. The only problem was that the store didn’t open until noon, and it was now 11:20 am; we’d have to find something to do to kill time. That’s fine; as we drove on, I joked, she laughed, and we seemed to be having a good time.
The time killer was Walmart, the idea being that we’d run in and grab a few things and by the time we were finished, our intended destination would be open for business. We found a parking space and exited the car. But the minute – literally, the very second – we entered Walmart, I felt light-headed. My heart began to race, and it felt like someone had placed a weight on my diaphragm. I felt warm, and there was a noticeable shortness of breath. I also felt suddenly, and incredibly, tired. No, not tired – totally drained of energy.
The Little Woman and I have a routine whenever we visit Walmart: She’ll go to whatever department that she’s there for, and I’ll invariably end up in the toy section, as I collect Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, and the occasional action figure. So, with her back to me, she announced where she was off to, and commented that she expected me to go off to Toys. I made my way slowly, all the while trying to figure out what was happening. There was some pain in my chest, off to the left side, but none in the center. I have constant discomfort in my left arm, but it was about normal, so I reasoned that I was not having a heart attack. Once I arrived in the toy section, I felt a wave of fear – a thought that I might not leave the section, at least, not by my own power.
My breathing hadn’t improved much, and I know that my anxiety (which was becoming more pronounced) wasn’t making things easier. Still, I tried to remember what my mother – the nurse – once told me about being sick. In short, don’t exaggerate and be honest. If you can’t do it, then don’t do it. At the same time, however, don’t act incapacitated if you really aren’t. To be fair, this came from a childhood incident where I’d injured my leg and I’d begun limping around like Captain Ahab. She was right back then, and ever since then, I’ve used her assessment to judge my reactions to health crises. In this case, I could breathe, and I could still walk; if necessary, I felt that I could function. At the very least, I’d come across as being very tired, so the plan was to get whatever I was planning to get, and cash out. I could sit on a bench in the front and wait for my partner to finish.
A while back, I started working on a military model that might become a diorama. It’s a 1980s scene with a tank and what-not, but I never finished it because I need to replicate military netting. Apparently, there’s a company that sells model netting, but I’ve been unable to locate it. I hit upon the idea of buying and cutting up a pair of fish net stockings, because they appear to have the stretchiness I’d need for such a project. A decent pair of stockings would give me more than enough potential netting that could be painted and glued into place.
I mention this because instead of heading for the check-out, I stopped in the Halloween section to see if they were selling said stockings. The Little Woman once offered to buy a pair of regular fish net stockings for this project, but the only pairs she found were clearly made for the nation’s 1 Percent. Either that, or someone misplaced the decimal point in the price; I don’t buy stockings, so I had no idea just how expensive they could be. Halloween stockings, on the other hand, are priced to sell, so . . . that’s why I was there, still quietly panicking, yet determined to finish this darn diorama even if it was the last thing I did.
The Little Woman found me, after a terse call – she’d gone to Toys and was put off by the fact that I was no longer there. We checked out, and I must have really been living by my mother’s advice because the Little Woman had no idea that I was in the state I was. We did stop by our original destination, and afterwards, I told her what was going on and she opted to go home. We agreed that this was likely a panic attack – all of the symptoms fit – but it bothers me that I don’t know what triggered it. Low-dose aspirin was used, but I didn’t notice much of a change. Clearly, it was something in my sub-consciousness, because going to Walmart normally does not freak me out (although, sometimes it should).
So here it sit, at my desk with the lingering affects – some discomfort in my chest, but still nowhere near the center. My breathing has improved, and a quick check of my BP shows that it’s pretty much normal (for me). I’m going to be sick tonight, though – I just know it. I’ll panic over how such an episode might play out should I be incapacitated in front of my class, or how I might be very close to Death itself. I’m really upset because the Little Woman has spent the better part of the afternoon lost in thought, afraid that this is a harbinger of something worse; I wish she wouldn’t worry so much. In any case, I’d better get ready, because I doubt that I’ll get any sleep this evening.
Like I said, it was supposed to be a fun day.