It always starts with the buzzing.
First in the left ear, then in the right. Then the overwhelming feeling that you’re going to be ill. Right this second. Clutching your hands to the side of the counter and leaning over the sink doesn’t help. Nothing is coming up. Your eyes start to water and its about this time that the spots appear. Just calm down, deep breaths, sit down, maybe it’ll go away. It doesn’t. By this time you know you have about 15 more seconds before the world tilts and the black will come, so you hurriedly put on the second leg of your pants, sit up gripping your hands to any surface you can reach and make your way out of the bathroom. That’s the only goal. Get out of the bathroom, to some place safer, some place where someone will find you when you fall.
You’re out of the bathroom. The dizziness has completely set in and you are stumbling. You see the stairs going up to the landing and grip the banister with your hands as though it were a rope leading you to safety over the cliff.
Then the black comes.
Time passes, not long, and you wake up facedown on the stairs. Your nose pressed into the carpet and the dog licking you ear and scratching at your back. You open you eyes, still dizzy. Spots are everywhere, diamonds. The Beatles were right. You want to crawl up the stairs to the landing but you can’t. It hurts too much. You hear your roommate upstairs in the bathroom and you want to make it to the landing before he finds you like this. If it was anywhere else, with anyone else you’d try and scream, like the times before. But its not, he’s a stranger and its embarrassing. So you open your eyes again and try and focus. Its useless, you can’t see, but you know what is there. You crawl up the stairs and get to the landing and push yourself against the wall and wait. The room is upside down, but you wait. The dog whines and licks your toes.
He comes down the stairs and asks if you’re okay. It is your back? You shake your head no and try and explain. He brings you a glass of water and when you’re ready, moves you to a chair. By now the room is starting to come back into focus and you assure him you’re okay. This happens a lot. No hospital is necessary. But you thank him for the offer, and yes, will call if you need anything. By now you realize going to work is out of the question. You sit in the chair, drink the glass of water and eat a banana. He leaves to go to work, and as the door closes, you start to cry.
Its not yet 8 o’clock.