Walked to the bank yesterday. Didn’t think anything of it; I had my big hat on, after all. While waiting in line, when I was next in fact, out of nowhere, started feeling faint.
Went up to the window, did my transaction. Had to crouch down a couple times, could barely talk. Staggered over to the waiting area (only chairs, no couches? Aaaaa…) and flopped there, gasping, until an employee asked if I was all right.
“No…Can I get some water, please? I think I’m going to faint.”
Hands and feet are becoming numb, like I don’t have enough blood circulating. Employee brings large coffee cup of water (thank Og; I’d been envisioning one of those tiny paper cones), and I sip it, not wanting stomach cramps as well. There’s a tiny fleck of something dark in it, and I watch as it sticks to the side of the cup. This is not food poisoning, as I’d originally thought; this is heatstroke.
Employee comes back and asks if she should call the paramedics.
“No, thank you…I’ve got the feeling back in my feet; I should be able to get home.” This is mostly a desire not to cause a scene in the bank again. It’s the same branch where I had a seizure back in '99, though there’s probably no one there now who remembers it. Also, I’m sweating from every pore, and don’t want to ruin their nice chair.
Lurch out the door and head for home. So much for stopping for a burger. Or at the grocery. The bank was the only vital errand; everything else will have to wait. It’s eight blocks, and every step is torture. Every time I see a bench, or a retaining wall, or a recessed and defunct doorway, I stop to rest. The granite wall in front of the other bank is particularly pleasant; I can lie sideways and watch traffic at an angle. Stop at a taco stand and get another cup of water. (Should have put salt in it, but of course I don’t think of that until afterwards.)
I keep going and catch my reflection in a window. Michael Jackson: red lipstick and a ghastly white face. Oh, and I’ve left off the hat, because I’m convinced it’s retaining heat. Keep going, keep going, keep going. I even sit down on the steps of the El Sleazo Motel, and normally I avoid that place at all costs. Have to hold my breath walking past restaurants; cooking smells never make me sick, but today they would.
Finally get to the house (no stopping places on my street). Can’t go to the mailbox; just indoors and onto the floor. Crawl to the fridge, chug a Diet Pepsi and scarf some dry cereal. Within 15 minutes, I’m recovered, but hoo boy.
Later, tell Mr. Rilch over the phone.
“So how hot was it?”
“Oh, about 100.”
Really, when you’re used to it, 100 doesn’t feel like anything…until it does. Note to self: never go out during the dog days without a water bottle.