Bra-less in ugg boots
He's leering at me again so I'm resting my head in my hands and staring down at my knees, willing not only for his attention to turn back to his drunken mates but also for the damn automatic door to stop opening and blasting me with freezing night air for just one minute.
Heart palpitations is what brought me here. No sooner had I gone to bed feeling relieved that my Rude Finger had reduced in size and swelling than the chest pains started.
I was strangely calm, even when doubled-over in shock and saying "Ooof" every time a spasm that felt not unlike a stick was twisting in my heart. "It can't be a cardiac arrest because my pulse is steady: a decade of running does that to you."
When an hour had passed and the spasms were becoming more insistent I started pacing the living room floor but couldn't find a position that eased things. "Ooof!"
LC woke Sapphire, got her dressed and drove me to Royal Melbourne hospital. I had time to find some tracksuit pants and my ugg boots. Arriving in just a t-shirt and knickers didn't seem the right thing to do, even in a so-called emergency situation.
A panic attack? Pretty bloody likely. But I was calm. Quiet, even. And the spasms of pain were too difficult to ignore - let alone stand up straight - and it didn't feel right to write them off as stress-related.
The night nurse covered me in sticky suction thingies and measured my ECG. All normal. Blood tests were taken (from both arms - I didn't have quite the werewithal that I'd had earlier in the day regarding the Rude Finger to remember to tell them that my right arm is categorically useless for finding a vein willing to give blood) and I was told to sit out in the waiting room and do just that. Wait. "Go home," I whispered to LC and Sapphire. "It's clear that I'm not having a heart attack, so whatever it is will be taken care of."
Four and a half hours later found me missing them both a thousand times eleventy billion triple lutz to the power of three. My warm bed the same amount.
Shivering and acutely conscious of my bralessness, I tried hard to not smell the two homeless blokes who'd arrived separately for a free night on the lino in front of Dem-tel adverts; the woman who moaned every ten seconds as some form of positive self talk as she slumped up against her husband; the father with a severely bee stung face barely keeping the balloon effect down with a now-thawed out ice pack; the loud but mysterious vomiter and the Lebanese boofheads.
I knew that they were Lebanese because they said it. Loud and proud, many times. One of their brothers had injured himself and the six of them were all there to offer moral support.
Said support seemed to involve play wrestling, swearing and frequent visits outside for a smoke or three. When that failed to amuse them, they'd turn their attention to me.
Not a 'what are you here for/we're all in this together' sort of focus, but a "I'm bringing sexy back" sung to me over and over and over again. Apparently it was hilarious. Seeing me clutch my chest and rock back and forth in a hard plastic chair until the attack passed didn't seem to concern or phase them. Or the two hard-faced nurses on the front counter.
Three major car accidents took the resources, interest and energies away from those in the waiting room. The decent, moral and mature side of me entirely understood this, but the frightened, occasionally-convulsed and exhausted little git wanted it to be my turn. Sod the rest of them, when was it going to be MY turn?
At 4.30am, it turned out. Five hours after being told to sit back and wait.
The doctor was lovely. Jeff. Kind, understanding and proficient. "It seems to be a Saturday night on a full moon out there tonight," he said, and after my chest x-ray he said I could wait for the results in the technician's office. Tears filled my eyes with gratitude.
Nothing majorly wrong. Heart, bloods and chest all okay. But the pain?
"Have you been throwing up lately?"
Why yes, now that you mention it. Mr Migraine paid me a three day visit that saw most of Saturday/Sunday taken up with trying to prevent my head from shattering whilst balancing a chuck bucket on my knees and simultanously exploding with diarrhoea. Why do you ask?
Turns out my oesophagus is a bit strained from the violence of heaving for hours with no discernible results. Today my chest feels like it has been stretched out like a strong man's hot water bottle and snapped back into shape with a decided lack of respect or finesse. That I can live with very very gladly.
As I wandered out at 6am waiting for LC to pick me up, the Leb Bros were still in the main foyer, their energies sapped and boredom sending them into snooze mode. I wished them all a hearty, lingering hangover and a chafing rash to the nether regions that no scientific or medical endeavour would never be able to fix.