Two Minutes of Terror
4:30 a.m. I was wide awake with headphones in, wishing I could sleep. Five minutes later, still awake, now grateful I had pulled out the ear plugs. Our apartment and my heart were shaken by something falling in our bathroom. I called. No response.
It took me, by estimation of emotional hindsight, 35 to 40 minutes to reach our bathroom, where Courtney sat on the floor, eyes wide, staring to the left at the wall, mouth open as if struck by severe disbelief.
She would not respond.
I pulled her head forward. Her dilated eyes looking right at me. Again I called her name. No one was home.
I was on the phone with dispatch for another 35 to 40 minutes according to panicked husband standard time, Courtney still answering my questions with nothing more than a blank stare. In hindsight, finding her passed out on the floor would have been less terrifying.
"Do you need me to send an ambulance?" the woman on the other end said.
"Um. Courtney are you ok? Courtney." Nothing.
"Yes, send an ambulance. Courtney, an ambulance is coming."
She mumbled a bit, then tried to say, "I'm fine." Then bit by bit came to.
I rattled off a series of questions, the sort of thing I'd seen on any number of TV melodramas,
Where are you?
Who am I?
What did we do Yesterday?
My panic subsided with each correct answer. A ambulance ride, a cat scan, and my vending machine breakfast later, we were home with orders to rest. Cat scan showed no problems. It was probably a perfect storm of not feeling well the day before, not eating much, and her existing thyroid issues.
They didn't seem too worried. So that's that.
But there were three minutes stretched to eternity when the veneer of my polite little life was ripped off and I witnessed fragility and terror of our temporal existence in two fully dilated eyes. And all I could do was hug the shell of my love.