Monday, November 16, 2009

"I love love me...we're a happy fam-i-ly..."

On Saturday, I am relatively certain I nearly died.

I went to Target, and feeling in a particularly cheery mood, I bought AC a Barney DVD, dropping a whole $4.75 on this prize. Previously, Barney had been banned in our home, and I took pride in the fact that AC had never seen Barney...or so I thought. When I presented her with the DVD, she shrieked, "Oh! Barney!", so it appears someone in our inner circle has been breaking the Barney-free rule.

She insisted that we immediately watch Barney, and we climbed into the "Big Bed". Previous to my separation from AC's baby daddy, we had been sleeping apart, and in our small house, this was accomplished by me sleeping in an air bed in the living room. AC grew quite attached to what she called the "Big Bed", so sadly, it has become a permanent fixture in our living room. Very high class. It makes me quite eager to invite others over, be it friends or dates.

While lying in the Big Bed, AC became so engrossed in Barney that she began kicking me in the head. I told her to stop kicking me, and rolled onto my side, to prevent the unfortunate kick to the face. She continued kicking the back of my head. As I was on the brink of losing my patience, I told her she had a choice: I would stay in the Big Bed and cuddle with her if she quit kicking, or I would sit on the couch. She pointed at the couch.

I plopped myself down on the couch, and pulled out my iPhone, so I could work on my imaginary social life, the one that exists primarily through Internet contact only. Suddenly, I felt a strange feeling in my chest, like my heart bottomed out. I suspected a severe heart palpitation, and stayed put. I then started getting dizzy and lightheaded, and started to suspect that I might actually pass out. Up until this point, I had never actually "passed out" before. Sure, there might have been a night or two in my younger days that I don't actually remember going to bed, which could be considered "passing out", in an alcoholic sense. But I'd never physically passed out.

Meanwhile, AC hopped off the Big Bed and began demanding that I get a puzzle that was on the fireplace mantle. I did so, hoping that if I walked, the feeling would disappear. It did not. My last memory was that of sitting back down on the couch, and AC stuffing a green octogon puzzle piece in my face.

In my lack-of-oxygen stupor, I stumbled to get my estranged husband, who happened to be at my house, because he'd picked AC up from my mother's house. He was in the bathroom, removing ear wax from his ears. No joke.

On my way to get him to tell him I needed an ambulence, I blacked out. I have no memory, except that of everything going black. When I came to again, I was aware of blackness and of the room spinning...and of Barney, happily singing, "I love love me...we're a happy fam-i-ly..."

Once I managed to get to the bathroom, I knocked on the door, and was again reminded of the reasons that my husband and I were never a happy fam-i-ly: he stood there, and insisted I did not need an ambulence. I had to beg him to call the ambulence, which fortunately, he did.

When the ambulence arrived at the house, he did not wait for the first responders to come to me. Instead, he shoved me out the door. Fortunately, one of the first responders walked me to the ambulence, because I could barely breathe. Upon getting myself into the ambulence cot, sure that this would be my last memory of life on earth, I heard a voice say, "Oh, hi Jen..." What?!? Not being a religious person, I thought, oh's my higher power coming for me...I really am dying...

But naturally, in my small town, I WOULD have to know the ambulence guy, wouldn't I? I was mortified to see that it was an, *a-hem*, close friend of a friend, whom I've seen on a social basis. After determining that my heart was beating at 230 bpm, my buddy put in IV in me that resulted in my blood spurting all over me and him. Not cute. Guess that time he jokingly suggested a three-way with our mutual friend just ain't gonna happen...

By the time I arrived at the hospital, my condition had stablized and the doctors and nurses treated me as though I was a freak of nature. Had the first responders not presented the readout that showed my heart beating at 230 bpm, I doubt they would've believed it. After my chest x-ray, blood labs and EKG all showed normal, I was sent home and told to call my doctor, to see what would come next.

The next day, I saw the movie, "The Men Who Stare at Goats". I'd so looked forward to seeing this, as I love George Clooney and, obviously, I love dark, sarcastic humor. It was a terrible disappointment. The irony? The end result of the movie was the report that Iraqi prisoners held as POWs were forced to listen to Barney sing, "I love love me...we're a happy fam-i-ly..."

Lesson learned: should you hear this melody, run for your life. It is the theme song of both heart failure and Iraqi imprisonment.

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