Last Friday I had a very scary morning.
“Do you have someone in the waiting room?”
“You are here alone?!”
The ER nurse went from a look of confusion to a look of sadness. What was going on in her head? Did she think I was so alone that there was no one there to support me? Did she think I was an idiot driving myself to the ER? Did she just feel bad for a girl who is my age with no one around?
Just a few hours earlier, around 2am, in the middle of rehearsal, I had coughed and a pain in my chest (that I knew well from a sickness a couple weeks ago) returned with a vengeance. I pushed on my chest waiting for it to subside like it had so many times a couple weeks ago, but this time it stuck around. And a few hours later, around 4am, while watching Grey’s Anatomy at home, it felt like someone stabbed me in the chest with the biggest knife you can imagine. I felt like someone pulled my breath out of me and my whole body tingled.
I calmly called the after hours nurse and while on hold, it all happened again only worse. Ok, time to get in the car and get to an ER. After the second episode I started shaking so awfully that I couldn’t even read my medical number off of my card.
The shaking was going in waves, so when I arrived at the ER I looked and sounded fine. The nurse was confused why I was even there until another wave over took me and I couldn’t even talk correctly.
Her first thought was that I was a meth addict coming down. I laughed and it made her smile. Then she asked me if I was responding to any prescribed medication. I said “Nope, fit as a fiddle.” Then she asked me if I was maybe having a panic attack. Look lady, I don’t care about McDreamy that much.
After multiple EKG attempts (they couldn’t get a good reading because of my shaking), blood work, heart monitoring, and an IV, the doctor came in with the best and worst news. “You look completely healthy.”
I sat there waiting to be discharged and looked around my empty room; the plain beige walls, the smell of sterile equipment, the tubes of my IV, and the lonely beep of the heart monitor speeding up every time another wave occurred. During one of my shaking spells, I thought back to that nurse who wanted to know why I was alone and teared up a little. I guess it’s true, other people probably have a significant other or at least someone with them, but I have trained myself to do things on my own.
But as the weekend went on, my roommate was pissed I didn’t ask her for help, and my parents wanted to bring me things, and my work team asked how they can help. It all reminded me, just because I am alone doesn’t mean I am not loved.
I am loved deeply by people all around me and I don’t need someone sitting in my ER room to know that. I think that ER nurse is good example of how some people may look at us single people. We seem alone, we seem unsupported, we seem unloved, but the reality is that no matter what other people think, I am loved, I am supported by so many, and sometimes my “loneliness” is actually a sign of great courage and strength.
There has been no answer to what happened to me and it took me a good three days to even be able to stand for longer than 5 minutes, but everyday I have made huge improvements and I’m almost back to feeling 100%. (Sometimes God just wants to slow you down and making you stay in bed for three days is a good way to do it.)