Warning: this post is a bit graphic
I started this blog when I first moved to Toronto to document the ridiculous, yet funny things that happen in my life and the lives of my other 20-something year old friends. Things like getting stuck walking 5km in pouring rain, losing a brand new TTC pass, and eating ramen noodles three times a day, seven days a week.
Well, today I’m back with a good old fashioned “Is this really my life?” kind of post.
It started with a headache.
I woke up Wednesday morning feeling tired and weak. I also had a small headache. I ignored these feelings and got ready to go to my placement at an elementary school. I ignored them partly because I wasn’t too concerned as I feel this way from time to time, but also because I had already decided to take the morning off from my placement and I felt guilty to miss the rest of the day too.
I made my hour-long journey to the elementary school – a journey that consists of a streetcar, a subway, and a bus – and went about my day. Part way through working with one of my little clients my small headache transformed into a blinding migraine. Great.
I shuffled through my day as best as I could and was super relieved when my supervisor said I could leave early and that we would do our check-in meeting next week. I left the school and made it to the bus stop just as the bus was rolling in. My trek home was going so well. Until it wasn’t.
A bench on the side of the road.
As soon as I took a seat on the bus I knew this was not going to go well. I managed to keep myself calm for two stops, but had to get off at the third. I was feeling much too sick to stay on the bus. I grabbed my bags and ran out of the bus as soon as the doors opened, and stumbled to a bench one the side of the road. By this point I was shaking, pale as a ghost, sweating and nauseous from the pain in my head. This has happened before, but only when I’ve been at home and could lay in bed and sleep it off.
I called Luka and explained my situation. He told me unfortunately the mechanic had just taken his company vehicle to change the tires and he had no way to come get me. To be honest, I was calling just to share my suffering with someone. But now that he had mentioned it, getting picked up would have been sublime. He suggested I take an Uber. I protested – an Uber from that end of town would be quite expensive. He told me it would be worth it since it didn’t sound like the bus was going to work and I needed to get home. I told him he was right and called for an Uber.
Immediately after confirming my pick up location I was overwhelmed with splitting, blinding pain in my head and a wave of intense nausea. I realized there was no way I could move from my bench, let alone manage a 20 minute car ride home. I canceled the Uber.
A tree in the middle of a parking lot.
I definitely felt like I was going to throw up. It turns out that this bench was right beside the bus stop, so there were many eyes to witness my misfortunes. I started to panic. I didn’t know how to handle the pain in my head. I was rooted to the bench because any movements threatened to make me sick. I had no privacy. I had no Advil. I was both freezing cold and boiling hot.
At least it wasn’t raining.
I realized that as much as I really fear throwing up in public (cue thoughts of Wonderland, 2014), it was probably going to happen. The best I could do would be to minimize the awfulness of it. I noticed a tree and a little patch of grass in a parking lot just behind me. I willed myself to be calm, gathered my belongings, and walked to the tree. The rest of this story just sucks. I called Luka again to tell him I couldn’t get home and was sitting against a tree, super unsure of what to do next. He told me to just stay very still, close my eyes, and try to let it pass.
I did this. For the most part. There were a few times where I rolled forward onto my hands and knees and dry heaved for a while. Like a wounded animal, dying in the middle of the woods. Only I wasn’t in the middle of the woods. I was against a tree in the middle of a random parking lot, 12 paces away from a crowded bus stop. It’s actually amazing how many busses this stop hosts. It’s also amazing how loud busses are, particularly when you have a migraine.
Obviously, when someone is shaking, curled up against a tree, with their eyes closes, and makeup all over their face it can be a bit alarming. I had four different people ask me if I was okay and if I needed help. One lady came right up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I needed an ambulance. Okay, shit. Did I look that bad…?
Despite my half conscious state, I couldn’t help but wonder: If I wasn’t dressed well, if I didn’t have a designer purse and a leather briefcase, would anyone have stopped to ask me if I was okay? What if my hair was messy instead of groomed? What if I was wearing ragged clothes and had dirt on my hands and face? Would anyone have cared?
Just something to think about.
And now back to funny things.
I was doing a very good job of staying still, trying to block out the light and the noise, and calming myself down. But my best efforts didn’t help me. I was really nauseous from the pain so I started coughing. The coughing made my head sear with more pain, which made the nausea worse. Like a proper lady, I covered my mouth while I was coughing. That’s about where my “proper ladyship” ended. Soon enough, I threw up into my hand…and all over myself. I was definitely passed the point of humiliation now. I managed to move to the side and throw up on the grass the next three times. All I could think was, This is SO much worse than Wonderland, 2014.
In hind sight, this is just a hilarious situation. But at the time, it was definitely in my Top 5 Worst Things to Happen to Me category. The situation very quickly jumped up to the Top 3 Worst Things to Happen to Me category when I grabbed my phone to call Luka for the third time and realized I had thrown up all over that too. Super. I wiped my phone on my pants, because fuck it…I’m covered in my own barf anyway. My last call to Luka was definitely the most pitiful call I’ve ever made in my life. “I threw up all over myself and now actually can’t get home on account of I threw up all over myself.”
I had to wait an hour for Luka to get his car back, and another hour for him to drive to me in traffic. I think I fell asleep against the tree for a bit. My headache subsided a bit but was definitely still there. It was too cold for me to take my vomit ridden jacket off, so I just sort of sat there telling myself this was fine. At one point I tried to use my bottle of water to wash my jacket a bit. The mess stayed, but the water seeped through the material. So now I was smelly, cold, dirty, and wet.
I was able to scroll around on my phone here and there without my head pounding too much. This gave my situation the illusion of a young woman playing on her phone peacefully against a tree while waiting for…something. People stopped asking me if I was okay.
Luka picked me up and gave me an ice cream bar. I told a few people what happened, and they told a few people what happened. We all laughed. It was super shitty, but also no one could believe how this was even something that could happen. Luka told me he thought to himself we would laugh about it one day. He had no idea it would be today.