My not-so-near death experience

So, this will likely be my last blog about fainting for a while. I’m tired of talking about it and I’m guessing you’re tired of hearing it – it was a month ago today that I fainted. I’m still healing, slowly but surely. I’m ready for things to get back to normal. It’s been a month since I’ve exercised. A month since I’ve chewed with my front teeth. A month since I’ve worn makeup (I did try one day and realized how pointless it is right now. Mascara is not going to fix this.) It’s been a month since I’ve really been able to enjoy food.

A month ago today I was finishing up a fantastic week. I had done a week of my new Joy Bauer diet, and I was feeling healthy and lighter and so energetic. I’d had some great workouts that week. I was on a roll and I was finally feeling like my nutrition was on the right track. I was excited to meet up with friends for a great night out. You already know that night didn’t turn out as planned.

Today I should be on a backpacking trip for my birthday. A group of us had planned to spend a long weekend backpacking on the Appalachian trail at Roan Mountain. Here’s a photo from a trip there a year ago (read about the trip here):

Roan Mountain, March 2010. I had planned to be on this peak this morning.

Instead I sit at home, trying to make sure my heating pad is in the right place for my brand-new back injury that started after the fall. Happy birthday to me.

But lest you think I’m unhappy, I assure you I am not. This experience taught me many things. One, that I’m stronger than I think I am. I went through the worst pain of my life and I made it through. Another thing it taught me is that I’m lucky. The doctors are baffled as to how I didn’t break my nose. My injuries were largely superficial and I will heal 100%. The main thing it taught me is how loved I am. My family is incredible.  My friends are incredible.  I have received phone calls and texts asking how I am feeling – some people contact me every single day to ask me that question. When I think about how loved and cared for I have been over the past month, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

And speaking of my birthday, I insisted they all go to Roan without me. We’d all been planning it for months, and no one else should have to cancel just because I can’t go. But they insisted they wouldn’t go without me. And instead of sitting by a campfire tomorrow night, recounting how great and beautiful the trail was, they will be here, at my house, hanging out with me – and they are doing so knowing I may or may not need a nap after my long day planned with my dad – he is taking me to Greenville to meet Caleb, my nephew.

I am so loved.

I started here:

This is the last photo of me before I fainted. Taken a couple of months ago in Vegas.

In an instant, I turned into this:

Photo taken one day after I fainted, at CMC Mercy hospital

And now I am here, somewhere between healed and not healed:

Me, yesterday. Swelling is down, scabs are gone, only thing left is the scar on my upper lip and my lips themselves (and the inside of my mouth.)

But the point of this post is a little more philosophical than I typically like to get. I have been thinking a lot about fainting. I’ve become an experienced pro, having done it four times now (well, 5 if you count the fact that I fainted twice in a row during the first incident.) I’ve told you all the stories, you can read most of them on this link if you want. They are largely under varied circumstances – needles, piercings, talk of staples in someone’s head and talk of muscles. But they have one very interesting thing in common:

Every time I faint, I have wonderful, vivid, happy dreams.

I can’t remember all of the dreams. But at the time I knew them coming out of the fainting. The first time I fainted I dreamed I was at the airport about to leave for Rome. It was a giddy, exciting, fantastic dream of a good future and happiness to come (it was also about a month before my Rome honeymoon was to happen, to give you some reference.)

This last time I dreamed of wildflowers and a rainbow. Of being in a field surrounded by the wildflowers and being in love with where I was and who I was and my world.

You can imagine that going from that to a scene of chaos – of my face first in asphalt and a crowd around me freaking out – can be a bit confusing.

But oddly, it’s not only that my dreams are vivid and beautiful. It’s also that I’m only out for a few seconds, but the dreams seem to last hours. The amount of detail that is in them is incredible. And I wake up feeling so refreshed, as if I’ve had the best 8 hours of sleep in my entire life. Yes, it feels that way even when I am face-first in a parking lot.

Of course, as I come out of my dreamy daze, it slowly turns to fear every time. Fear of why I’m on the ground. Fear of who people are (I often do not recognize anyone at first, even Jeff). Fear of tasting blood in my mouth.

But when people ask me if I was embarrassed, I can honestly say no. Because I’m still partially in my state of euphoria from the wonderful dream. By the time I realize that I’m lying in the middle of  PF Chang’s with my dress up showing off the legs that I had a waxing appointment for in a few days (read: hairy), by the time I realize I should be blushing and sooooo embarrassed, I’m usually out of the situation.

The dreamy daze has gotten me through it every time.

Now, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about fainting. And it turns out, many feel that fainting is the closest you can get to death without actually dying. Some feel that we have out-of-body experiences when we faint. I don’t know if any of this is true. But I do know how peaceful I’ve felt. How much I did not want to come out of the fainting euphoria when I did awake.

And I’m not going to pretend to know more than I do or speculate any more than I have. But I will leave you with this – if fainting is like death, then I will not be scared when it is my time – although it better not be for a very long time. I have things to do!






4 responses to “My not-so-near death experience”

  1. Melissa Avatar

    So, a friend just asked me about my birthday – lemme clarify, my birthday is Wednesday. This weekend was supposed to be my birthday celebration; it’s not my actual birthday yet. In case you were wondering!

  2. Anil K Avatar
    Anil K

    Happy Wednesday Birthday! How many wonderful years has it been?

  3. Melissa Avatar

    I will officially be twenty-thirteen 🙂

  4. Liz Avatar

    Honey, you look wonderful. SO healed. I am so happy to see that last picture. I’ve been keeping up with FB and popping over here. I know this has been a rough time, and I have been thinking about you a lot. Many happy wishes for a good birthday and a quiet, drama-less year!