The morning started well with my typical breakfast of a bowl of cereal and, in this case, cranberry juice. I rounded off this early meal with one prescription pill and twelve vitamins to complete what a growing boy needs for an active-ish day. After breakfast, I put my dishes in the dishwasher and began several hand and arm exercises because it was essential for me to keep moving. Finally, I completed the AM portion of my day by brushing my teeth and all the other activities that most people do to prepare for their daily routine.
I had been in my new house for three weeks and still had not slept in a bed or horizontally for that matter. Instead, my wheelchair, a pillow, and office desk had become my unbelievably uncomfortable sleeping quarters. It made me more tired than an 8-hour shift of hard labor at the local construction yard, slowing my thinking and movements. Ten years prior, I had stopped drinking caffeine, so I knew of nothing to fight this lethargy that resided in my brain or the all-consuming torpidity in my body. I believed this was the chance monster brewing a cauldron of hatred towards me, which would inevitably cause life-altering obstacles.
As I ran through the list of tasks I had planned to accomplish for the day, something felt a little off. I was slightly sluggish, which sounded redundant from the lethargy I had felt before, but it was different. I had an extremely dry mouth like the Sahara desert sitting in my mouth, even though I drank what seemed like a fifty-gallon drum of water. After thirty minutes of this, I felt like I was moving through the mud as every body movement was a tremendous struggle. It was like I was wearing a one hundred-pound fat body suit and every body movement was a challenge that was getting slower and more difficult. I thought if I at least took a twenty-minute power nap, that would reboot my system, and I would be okay again.
There was a card table in my living room where I placed a pillow and rested my head to stop my body from struggling. My alarm went off after my brief power nap, and I could not raise my head as I was weak as a newborn baby. My arms were just as helpless as I struggled for what felt like an eternity before I called for help. I could not reach my phone, which was hanging around my neck, so I decided to use my voice and my smart speaker. I asked my Alexa speaker to call 911, and she refused, so I had her call my mom, who, thankfully, was nearby and would be here quickly. When my mom arrived just over five minutes later, she called that triple-digit rescue for help.
I tried to explain to my mom how I felt like the Jolly Green Giant used me as a meat tenderizing mallet. No matter the number of descriptor words I used or how well I used them, I knew my mom would never truly understand how I was feeling. Most people can sympathize with how you feel, but comprehension is only possible for those who have lived similar issues. We spoke, and I explained as best as I could while we waited for what felt like an eternity for the ambulance to arrive. I am positive my mom felt helpless because she did not know what to do to help me, so we kept waiting.
When the ambulance arrived, they seemed as perplexed as I was at my puzzling predicament. Firefighter Bill took my blood pressure, temperature, and other vital details when I believe I heard him say they were relatively normal. I quickly questioned his quote of “relatively normal” when his supervisor, Mike, spoke up, clarifying that my numbers were standard. Mike told me that Bill was new to everything, including communication skills, which he obviously lacked from that example. They waited while my mom gathered my prescriptions, wallet, cell phone, and charger, putting them into my travel bag, and then we were off to the races.
It confused me when my vitals were normal, yet I felt paralyzed for all intents and purposes. I just wanted to sleep, but the ER was only five miles or 12 minutes away, and they were asking too many questions, making sleep as elusive as a Vaseline-coated eel. The one thing that puzzled me is that before July 2nd, I was in Ohio without issues and did everything for myself. But on the other hand, since I have been in Florida, I need a caregiver to assist me because I am as unsteady as a newborn fawn. So I have gone from one extreme to the next, befuddling and bewildering me while adding a little fear to this boiling cauldron of vile intoxication.
Perplexed, I fear the next.