Tonight at rowing practice (indoors) we were to row hard for one minute, then not as hard for one minute, for a total of 40 minutes. After 20 minutes I got a hot flash and felt enervated, which does happen after I've exercised a while. Then I get my energy back. This time it didn't come back and I felt light-headed and so I stopped, still sitting there on the erg (rowing machine) and moving my feet a little. I was sweating and weeping, weeping because that's what I do when I'm in physical distress. I was shaking and my heart seemed to be beating fast but when I timed it, it was slow. I couldn't get control of my breath. I wondered if I was having a heart attack, but thought probably not. Everyone else kept rowing and I wondered what would have happened if it really were a heart attack or if I had a stroke. Eventually, would they just step over me? The person next to me asked if I was OK and I shook my head. She asked if I wanted to lie down and I said no. Eventually the coaches noticed and got me some food. I had just eaten some bread and cheese at a cocktail party, so I don't think that lack of nourishment was the problem. And I hadn't had any alcohol. I was shaken up and people asked if I was OK and I would continue to shake my head. I was too upset to really talk. J is a nurse and said that the blood hadn't gone to my limbs. Or maybe she said the opposite, I don't know. The numbness in the hands seemed to be part of the whole about-to-faint scenario. S, one of the coaches, gave herself food-poisoning on Saturday and said she almost fainted Saturday night, and felt the same way. I've never fainted, though I wanted to for years and years because my sister R did.
I got a ride home with the lovely and kind S, and I decided to cancel a video taping tonight. It was at DePaul, for an anthology of nature poetry and essays. I don't know who was doing the taping. My essay is about being afraid of open spaces; fear of the nature is my theme and that essay has been my calling card in a couple of anthologies so far. I'm the anti-nature writer. I called G to get a phone number for C, the guy who was organizing the book and the taping. I left him a message and emailed him and then, unusual for me, didn't worry about it any more. It took me at least an hour to start breathing normally. I think my heart is still beating too deeply. If that can be said about a heart-beat.
I always weep when I scare myself with my physical state. Last week I was talking to a nurse at my phototherapy place (where I am zapped in order to alleviate the itching caused by polycythemia vera) who'd been gone on maternity leave. She said that she'd been in labor 29 hours and had to have a C section, but there wasn't enough time to put her under with general anesthesia, so she'd had local only, and could feel the pressure (and pain) of the doctors cutting her open, and could also feel them taking out her uterus and bladder. I almost cried, she said. Almost?? If that didn't make her cry, what would?