Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Precarious and Precious

"Do you know what happened?"
"You had a seizure. We're going to the hospital."

If you know Kelsey Gray, you know she's sarcastic more often than she isn't. On a normal day, I pride myself in being sharp enough to keep up with her wit. Facetious or not, I had no answer to her question. This day doesn't count as normal. 

It took a day or two to remember the mundane details leading up to one of the weirder events of my life. Even so, there are some gaps. It was a typical morning: wake up, lay in bed, drink coffee in bed, contemplate eating, and hop in the car to find a trail instead. We decided on the Arboretum trails just outside of Kalamazoo. A short trail system within a short drive of town, it's a great place to ramble about for an hour or so. Decent hills, some switchbacks, and even some pleasant views of a small lake. We pulled in, and started the slow, groaning jog as we shook off the dust from waking up at the crack of 10am(or whatever, I don't remember). 

We ran easy, chatting and laughing and talking about pretty much anything but running, as per the unwritten rules of jogging. 

I vividly remember standing on an overlook. A typical Michigan overlook that doesn't really overlook anything. 

I remember stopping at a bathroom.

I remember jumping over a guardrail that separates two sections of the park. 

The only things that stand out are memories stopping to look around. I felt calm, like I was right where I was supposed to be. A displaced feeling that had been nagging me had finally subsided.  

"I have to stop. I don't feel well."(That's right, grammar police. "well")

The next memory is of walking with my arm around Kelsey. I just assumed we were enjoying each other's presence as we walked to the car after a run, and that I was keeping her warm. She gets cold easily. 

She was holding me upright, and I had no idea. The more I ponder this fact, the more evident it is that realities in our minds can be inverses of  absolute truth. With each passing year, I become more trepidatious about about what I know, and more driven by what I feel. There are certain things that will never falter. 

We made the drive to the hospital, and calmly walked in and explained what happened. My mother, sister, and 10 month old niece came down just to see that I was okay, as did Kelsey's mother. 

Scans and tests at the ER showed no signs of seizures or abnormalities of any kind, and neither have follow-up visits to my primary care doctor. 

Other than a spotty memory, I'm fine. I've done runs of varying lengths and intensities and continued life as usual.

Vasovagal syncopal episode. Good, there's a name for the random thing that happened to me with no specific cause. I'm as guilty as anyone else of using medical terminology as a soothing way to say, "fuck if I know." Many have suggested that I hadn't eaten enough. When I heard this, I was insulted. I have a degree in exercise science. Telling me "your body needs food to exercise" is like telling a mechanic to put gas in a car's tank. Well, I've been a mechanic. I've let a fuel tank sit bone dry as I scratched my head with the hood up. Sure enough, I've lost weight.

I thought I was walking casually with a girl in a park. I was. Sort of. I've been wrong before. I'll be wrong again. Questioning things doesn't show a lack of faith. Taking things for granted, however, does. I've learned to feel free to change my mind. When we live this way, it isn't a lack of commitment. Those we love can rest assured that we haven't grown complacent. I collapsed in mud and didn't know which way was up, but knew who I wanted to be with.

Reality can change. Don't speak in absolutes. It's a surefire way to end up eating your words. This experience taught me for the nth time that life can slip away if you let it. Don't waste it doing things you don't want to do, or feeling ways you don't want to feel.


  1. Dude.Sorry you had an episode but glad it reminded you of how precious life is and not to squander it.

    1. Thanks Krista. As much as I try to be present-minded, I still find myself getting caught up in bullshit sometimes. I hope you're doing well.

  2. Whoa! Just read this. Glad you're aiiite!