Lately I’ve been spending way too much time on the floor of public bathrooms.
Not because I’m an alcoholic or am making too many bad life decisions all in a row (well I might be, but that’s unrelated), but because I have POTS.
This morning I woke up and needed food–and because I keep none in my dorm, I had to leave to buy some. So at 10am, I strolled into the market with crimped, previously straightened, bed-head and mascara smudges on the bags of my eyes. I was wearing my high school soccer sweats paired with a “Future Wine Moms of America” sweatshirt and Bud Lite slippers.
There was probably no doubt in anyone’s minds that I had gone out last night.
(Side note: I didn’t. I went to a fancy dinner as my extremely-accomplished-friend’s plus one and then spent the rest of the night interviewing people for a profile feature. It’s funny how looks how deceive.)
I searched the store to see what I was in the mood for and decided on my go-to: cheese and crackers with a large bottle of water and an awake bar.
Because I am the person I am (or possibly because I broke my mirror this morning and will be receiving seven years of bad luck now), I got stuck behind a girl who was only buying three things: blueberries, drinks, and ice cream cones. But she bought about nine of each.
And the cashier was
incompetent probably new. He rang up each ice cream cone, then realized it hadn’t worked, and had to run to the back of the store to get a similar one at the same price to try and ring up.
This isn’t a huge deal. The line wasn’t big and I only waited for about five minutes until it was my turn. But by the time she was gone and he was grabbing for my groceries while apologizing for the wait, I could barely make out the features in his face.
I tried to push on and said, “I only have my banner ID,” while tapping desperately on my phone trying to get my most recent screenshot of the number to open.
“Oh, that’s fine. I’ll get my manager.”
“No, no.” I tried to stop him. “I can tell you how to do it.” Working at King Cafe, I know how all the cash registers on campus work and I have shown many a student employee how to charge my account when I forget (or in this case, lose) my card.
(Side note: This happens at least bi-weekly)
“Oh no, I know how to do it. But my manager has to do it for me,” he tried to assure me.
Wrong again, I thought to myself, but at this point his entire face was splotched out and I couldn’t wait any longer. I was about to pass out.
“Alright, I’m sorry, I’m just going to sit down. I’m seeing stars,” I told him as I stumbled towards the tables and sat on one of the high seats. With my head in my hands, I realized this really wasn’t going to help my situation because the blood in my body wouldn’t return to my head unless I was on the ground.
But I wasn’t about to do that here.
At this point, the manager is at the cashier with the boy and they’re still mostly worried about the banner number dilemma. I kind of heard them like I was underwater but I smiled in my head as I realized that she was scrutinizing him because it’s not like she can just come to his side every time someone doesn’t have their ID–she has far more important things to do.
I got up at this point and said, “do you guys have a bathroom?”
“It’s not very clean, but come with me, girl.”
I followed the manager into the “employees only” section of the store and she pointed me towards the single bathroom in the far back corner.
I collapsed onto the floor and propped my legs on the sink, waiting for my breathing to slow and the stars to subside.
It really never takes long once I reach this point to calm down and return my body to normal, but as I stared at the fluorescent lights above me, I realized how familiar of a perspective this is for me.
After a few moments, I sat up and chugged some water and realized how gross the tile floor was that I was laying on. But my head still felt funny and I didn’t know if I could make it back to my room without another episode, so I used my sweatshirt as a pillow, and lay down for a few more minutes before returning to buy my groceries and leave.
It was there that I snapped this picture to send to a few friends–not to worry them–just to say, look how great my life’s going right now.
Especially since many of them had already seen this picture from my snap story.
Anyway, so that’s the story of this morning. I really don’t know if I had a reason for writing it, it’s just that sometimes I think, why? Why now do I have to deal with the fear of passing out in public. Why do I all of a sudden have to explain to strangers that I need to lay down because I haven’t had enough salt today? Why do I have to have a disease that sounds worse when I actually explain it?
I mean, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome?
And, again, I know lots of people have it worse and lots of other people are asking why them for things I can’t even fathom dealing with. But, ugh, why??
Why do I have to be so familiar with public bathrooms?