Friday, January 25, 2013

What I Did That Was Dumb - part 1

This is a head-dump, please be forewarned. Nothing really funny to follow except perhaps some black humor....

So on Sunday night I did a horrendously dumb thing, except I did not realize it was horrendously dumb until well after the fact.
I had been on a streak to clean up and organize the house after the holidays, and that included the very cluttered art room.
It is freezing cold down in the basement this time of year unless you're willing to crank the baseboards up in the other room. Even then, the warmth never quite makes it back in to my little corner of the creative, and I feel bad for using that much energy to heat such a small space inadequately.
I have had a small space heater that was given to me back in the days of living in That Apartment That Had the Constant Gas Leak, which actually even predates dating the man who is now my spouse. It's old, yes, but it would shoot out heat in that old 3rd floor Victorian row house-cum-apartment and give off just enough heat that we didn't get frostbite in my bedroom. Which, given that the landlord hated to actually heat the place, and demanded I see if I was cold AFTER putting a sweater on (BITCH I HAD ON A SWEATER, MITTENS AND A WINTER COAT. TURN ON THE FUCKING HEAT) was actually a distinct possibility.
The only thing is, there were high ceilings and good air circulation, so while I did always initially get a small whiff of something off the heater, it never had a chance to accumulate. The gas leak in the kitchen my landlord refused to actually pay money to fix was far more aromatic and concerning. The small heater was electric, to boot, and labeled as safe for indoor use. I never thought twice about, you know, using it for indoor use, because of these 2 reasons.
I still have this small space heater and it seemed perfect because it was a small space, well, it would work. So I turned it on while I was cleaning to try and keep myself, the dog, and both cats warm that kept wandering in and out trying to see what I was doing.
There was a smell that came off of it, but I figured it was dust burning off because it had been at least a year since I had turned it on, and thought nothing of it.
Except when I stood up 6 hours later, I could still smell the smell, and I realized I was very dizzy and disoriented, and my head felt like it had a balloon expanding inside of it that had smashed my consciousness to the outside. I was giddy, too, and after I turned off the heater and gave myself a few minutes elsewhere in the house, I realized the thoughts were screaming through my head. Literally screaming, as if there was no volume control.
I decided that since it was 2:30 am (actually earlier than I go to bed most days since I work 2nd shift) I should see if it was just exhaustion and go to bed.
When I laid down, the thoughts were still screaming and I had this odd sensation like there were insects ricocheting off the inside of my skull. It was so bad that I shoved a pillow down over my head to try and block everything out and calm all of the motion down. Somewhere in there I fell asleep and proceeded to have very, very bad nightmares. I woke up trying to scream from one.
I felt horrible when I awoke, like I had the flu. I slept in as late as I possibly could, then stood in the shower for an hour. My mouth was completely dry (and had started drying out towards late evening last night) and I thought perhaps I was just dehydrated, although I didn't know why. I drank water, juice, whatever I could get my hands on. It went straight through me, and my mouth dried back out within half an hour. I also noticed I was incredibly dizzy with spaces of completely losing depth perception and being unable to figure out what I was doing.
I hate to say it, but I wrote these off as flu symptoms even though I didn't feel hot or achy or sore. On top of that, I've had a flu shot and this has been one of the healthiest winters in recent memory. Nor had I been drinking, that it might have been a hangover. Even the sudden spells of weakness where I was pretty sure I was about to take a faceplant in to the floor, though concerning, were written off as just being sick. And I decided to go in to work anyway despite this, which was probably the biggest mistake I could've done.
When I got there I felt a headache building the likes of which I have never experienced before. It became so big it felt as if the inside of my skull was pulped and raw and the outside was just an eggshell with hair on it. I was sitting at my seat trying to hide the fact I was crying from the pain and doing a poor job, because my manager very clearly saw it happening.
Four acetaminophen from the hall emergency first aid kit, a cup of coffee and three bottles of water later and my brain had calmed down to a dull roar. The headache had taken to hiding in the back, so my skull felt like a bowl that would just fall off if the headache gave it a good, swift kick. It was unnerving. I spent most of my shift with my head down. As most of the shift seemed to experience chronic headaches, I had the rare opportunity to experience empathy from coworkers and they advised me to get higher painkillers when I could.
I got home, soaked in a tub poured for me by my beloved spouse, then crawled straight in to bed to sleep.
Night 2 of horrible and extensive nightmares ensued. When I woke up the headache was back, perhaps 9/10ths the strength of yesterday but still raring to kick ass.
I was nauseas, still dry-mouthed, and finding that light and sounds were beginning to bother me a lot.
(As I'm sitting here, the loud hum of my computer's fans is actually starting to bore in to my skull and we're 5 days later. I may have to break this off and pick it up later.)
I sucked down water but it barely took care of my dry mouth. I did my best to eat, thinking perhaps it was just low blood sugar. No change. I ended up calling off work sick and curling up in bed for as long as I could.
I did find I was getting agitated very easily now, and spent a lot of time snarking at the cats and the dog, as well as getting frustrated over small things. The strangest, though, was when I was trying to detach the cat's claws from a new-ish sweater I was wearing and smacked my hand in to the countertop. My next movement was automatic, I swatted the cat on the hind end for not cooperating. But I realized what I had done was expect to react out of pain. I didn't actually feel pain. I knew I'd felt pressurem but it never hurt. Oddly, no bruise ever formed either.
Right about that time it occured to me that it had been a bit since I'd been able to feel a few things. I'd run in to a lot of stuff, and not really felt much of it. And that was when I got scared.
After Bob got home and I tried out Gatorade, I realized I couldn't really taste that, nor could I taste the coffee I tried to sip for the recurring headache (at this point thinking perhaps it was just caffeine withdrawal). The food that arrived had a lovely texture, but I couldn't taste the cheese in the grilled cheese sandwich. The salt was the only thing I perceived, like the sugar was the only thing I only really picked up on in the drinks.
Then I started screaming at Bob. It was just a growing anger that would not die down and I ended up on the stairs, screaming down at him while he stared up at me (calmly, bless his heart, he stayed calm and knew something wasn't right) and then gave me room to go upstairs and scream and cry in to my pillow.
I have cried in the past over things, but I have never, ever been that angry in my life. I have never screamed like that. It was like a switch was flipped and suddenly another person was shouting about things I really didn't actually give a damn about once the shouting was over. I cried for half an hour, figured this was when my spouse was going to realize I wasn't worth it after all, and ask me for a divorce, decided not to commit suicide via razor blade (yes. I had this thought while on the bathroom floor eyeballing a loose razor blade I found and logically talked myself down because if I failed, it meant I was probably going to a mental institution and wouldn't that be a bigger burden and far more embarassing? So just let him ask you for the divorce) then I staggered to bed and slept for 3 hours, a string of nightmares waking me up at regular intervals where I found I was thrashing and trying to scream.
The noises of the keyboard and the CPU are driving me crazy, this sensitivity to repetitive sounds has been a big problem as of late. So I'm going to call this good, and really if I don't do a part 2, the major Big Bad is written. I'm going to go hide under some pillows again for a bit and try to let my ears calm down.

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