Of course it had to be the day that I had my computer and my 50 lb textbook in my backpack at the same time. That thing was heavy. I plopped it down on the black plastic chair, and prepared for my favorite class ever: Creative Drama For Teachers.
Most of what we do is pretend things and play games, learning for when we are teachers doing drama in our own classrooms.
“For this next game,” said the teacher, “you will have to start out by lying on the floor.”
I lay down, on my back, on the floor.
Wham, wham, wham. What was that? My heart? I sat up again, but my heart rate didn’t slow down. It pounded, hard and fast.
I think I was supposed to pretend to be a chick hatching out of an egg. But I wasn’t a chick and I didn’t hatch, I just sat there, trying numerous breathing exercises, trying to slow down my heart. Nothing worked.
The teacher came to ask me if I was okay. When I told her what was going on, she another girl in the class, named Chloe, to take me to the nurses office.
It was just like in an old Ramona book. I’d never been to a school nurse before.
Of course, there was the matter of my backpack. I did not want to carry the mammoth in my condition, and so Chloe volunteered. Whew.
The nurse office was on the other side of the campus.
“Sit down and rest,” said the nurses when we got there. That’s all they said, and so I sat down and felt my heart go whamming away in my chest, making me feel like I was sitting on top of an old rattly drier.
Their next piece of advice was, “let’s call the paramedics.”
Wait, um, seriously? There’s kind of a big difference between visiting the school nurse and actually calling an ambulance. But they said it wouldn’t cost anything, and they didn’t seem to be offering me any solutions, so I agreed.
“Cheer up,” said Chloe, who was still sitting with me. “Maybe the paramedics will be really hot.”
I laughed, which made the pressure on my chest worse.
They strolled down the hall, with their machines and their muscles and their save-the-day faces. I was hooked up to a weird machine, which said that my heart rate was 200 and something. They said that 70 was normal, and later it occurred to me that if I were Bruce Banner it would have turned me into the Hulk.
Then they stuck a needle into my arm, and shot me with a weird medication that caused a tingly minty sensation up my arm, through my shoulders, and down my body. My heart rate slowed. I felt much better.
Was that it? No, oh no. I still had to go to the Dr. I still had to get evaluated. All they did was give me a treatment, but they had no clue what had actually caused this rapid change in heart rate.
Thus, the stretcher.
I felt so silly being wheeled out of there, with the iv in my arm and the funny tubes clipped to my skin. They took me down a flight of stairs just as a group was getting out of class. It was like being onstage.
“It must have been your backpack that caused this,” said a paramedic, hefting it into the ambulance.
I went to the hospital and got discharged right away. The doctor said that I had…what was it? Some weird medical term for a rapid heart rate that pretty much appears out of nowhere. I was kind of annoyed that I had to go to the hospital and spend all that money when there was really nothing more to be done, but oh well. Such is life.
I had my cell phone with me and I was bored so I snapped some pics of myself in the hospital bed.
Then I got a bandage on my arm from where the IV stuck into me, and went home. I am supposed to keep off of caffeine for the next few days. That is the end of the story.