After I had my precious daughter, I seemed to put on a few extra pounds that were nagging at me every time I looked in the mirror. So I decided to go visit the local “fat doctor” (a doctor who prescribes medication to lose weight for lazy people who don’t want to exercise) to get a dose of metabolism. It’s basically legalized speed. I had been taking these for a while, feeling great and had lost about ten pounds already. I was however, feeling increasingly anxious and had felt my heart do some very strange things. I shrugged it off as my boosted metabolism jump starting my heart. (I know, it sounds stupid now that I just said it.) All of this to preface the day that I almost died and the not so caring realtor who was convinced I was fine. She’s NOT a doctor might I add.
Whether it’s global warming, depleted ozone or just Texas, it was hot in the summer of 2009. We had two straight months with temperatures over the one hundred degree point. With times as rough in the new homes industry as they have been, builders were cutting corners every where they could. One of those was not to run the air conditioners in the homes that were currently available (which actually detracted to the sale because people didn’t even want to go inside these houses that were hotter inside than it was outside!). So when a realtor that I have known a while drove up with customers following her, it was a bittersweet feeling. I wanted to sell a home but I did not want to leave the air conditioned office. So I jumped into the car with her, let’s say her name was Claire. Claire and I exchanged pleasantries and we set up a plan to see about four different homes that were available.
As Claire and I got out of the car, something started to not feel right with me. I introduced myself to the customers and we walked up to the house. As I was putting the key in the door, I felt my heart do something strange and I again brushed it aside as boosted metabolism. We walked inside of the three thousand square foot baker’s oven where it was one hundred degrees downstairs and as we were heading upstairs the heat was like a wall hitting us. Everyone was bent over and hurrying through the house to see it as fast as possible in order to get out as fast as possible. By the time I made it up the stairs, everything started to tunnel out on me. My hands started to tingle, I was light headed, I couldn’t see well and my heart was racing as beads of sweat ran down my face. I turned to Claire and said, “There’s something really wrong with me. I don’t feel right.”
She said, “It’s just hot in here. We need to get outside and you’ll feel better.”
So I carefully walked down the stairs afraid that I was going to pass out any minute. I walked outside and sat down in Claire’s car while she remained outside talking to her clients. I leaned the seat down and I knew that I was dying at that point. I’ve never felt anything like what I had felt that day. As I laid back, everything turned black on me and I passed out for a few moments. When I came to, I called my husband, who is a Firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician, and told him what I was feeling. I was scared to death, crying, sweating, could barely see and could barely form words.
My husband said, “You need to get back to the office and relax. If you still feel the same call someone.”
I told him, “I think this is really serious. I’m with a realtor and I’ve got to get to a hospital.”
He could hear how scared I was and said, “Well, tell Claire to take you back to the office and see how you feel after you’ve sat in the air conditioning for a while.”
So, here’s where things get ridiculous. I’ll tell it word for word as it happened. I really want you to feel like you were there.
“Claire.” I said, panting her name out as I leaned back in her car seat, fanning my face that was milky white and covered in sweat. “Something is wrong. I need you to take me back to the office.” I said with my eyes closed because for some reason I couldn’t see very well and it scared me to open my eyes.
“Oh Myka, you’ll be fine. You’re just hot. I feel like I’m going to die right now too. Now, where is the other home that you’re going to show us today?” she asked as if she didn’t see the disgusting, sweaty, dying sales person in the passenger seat.
“I’m serious Claire. I have never felt like this before and I need to go back to the office.” I said, barely getting the sentence out because I was drifting in and out of consciousness. At this point, I was completely laid down in her car, I was shaking uncontrollably, sweating profusely, couldn’t open my eyes, and could barely put words together.
“So is it up here on the same street or do I need to take a right turn? What’s the price on this next house anyway?” she asked.
I couldn’t believe this! Could someone be this cold hearted or desperate to get a sale? I started to really cry because I knew I was probably going to die in Claire’s car and I wouldn’t ever get the chance or the strength to strangle her to death. I mustered all of my strength and yelled, “Claire! Take me back to the office! I am dying and I need an ambulance.”
“Okay, but I still think you’re just hot. Let me tell my customers what we’re going to do. They’re going to be mad that they have to follow me back to the office only to backtrack to this next house.” She stated, obviously irritated, while she was rolling down the window.
“Hey guys, Myka is sick so I’m going to drop her off at the office real quick. Follow me and then we’ll go look at that other house. Myka?” she looked at me and asked me again, “Where is the next house?”
“D_____t, Claire! Take me back to the office!” I was sobbing uncontrollably because I was scared.
“Okay. Let’s go.” She said.
“Finally!” I thought to myself. I was fanning myself with the only thing that I had and that was the list of available homes that I had brought with me to make sure we were going to the right houses. We finally made it to the model and Claire says….oh you’ll never believe this:
“Is it okay if I drop you off at the corner, I want to make sure my customers don’t get mad about backtracking?”
I was just so glad to be at the model home that I didn’t care where she dropped me off. However, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get out of the car or walk or more than likely crawl back into my office. It literally took me two minutes to lift myself up out of the car without passing out. Every time I moved, everything went black again. During these two minutes I was fanning myself with the available homes list and that was keeping me from completely passing out from the heat. Claire was sighing with frustration at how long it was taking me to get out of the car and then in a final act of unbelievable uncaring, she said, “Oh and Myka? I’m going to need that available homes sheet you’re using.”
It was at that moment that I vowed to punch Claire if I ever lived past this day. So I handed her my only lifeline, my fan, and shakily stood on the street corner with my eyes barely open. She closed the door for me and sped away making sure that she didn’t see that I made it to the front door okay. I was talking to myself and trying to put one foot in front of the other. I knew that if I went down on my knees, I’d never get up and I wanted to live to see me put the hurt on Claire!
As I walked to the front door, I got out my cell phone and told my construction manager to come over here, that I was sick and needed help. He was there in less than a minute. Finally, someone who cares! I sat in my office for a while, trying to get a grip on reality but it was getting worse. My construction manager called the ambulance.
When the emergency crew got there, I was still on the edge. They took my vitals and I knew I was in trouble when one of the technicians said, “Holy crap, look at this!” My heart rate was 214 beats per minute with so many irregular beats that they couldn’t believe it. They immediately strapped me to the gurney and put me in the ambulance. While I was in the ambulance, one of the firefighters said, “Now don’t be scared, but this is usually fatal if we can’t get your heart rate down. You’re about to have heart failure.”
“Did he just say, ‘don’t be scared, but this is usually fatal?'” I asked myself. So I just started to pray. I made promises to God that I still keep today and will always keep and strangely enough I was calmed by my prayer and my heart rate started to drop. Just as they were warming up the paddles to jump start my heart when it failed, I began to get better. If you don’t believe; there IS power in prayer.
Meanwhile, back at the model….Claire had come back with her customers and walked right past the ambulance and up to the front door where one of my co-workers was standing and she said, “Is that Myka in there?”
“Yes.” He said in a very concerned voice. “It’s pretty serious.”
“Oh my god!” she said pissed off. “Does this mean that the model will be closed for the rest of the day and no one will be here to help me?”
My co-worker couldn’t believe what he just heard and in an incredulous tone said, “Yes. That’s what that means.” and walked off.
Obviously I didn’t die. I lived to write this book. It turns out that the diet pills had built up in my system and had caused enough heart damage that I was really in trouble. I stayed at the hospital until my heart rate went down but I was left with an irregular heartbeat that they said would not kill me but was not great, either. I’m fine and have not had another near death experience since that day. I have not seen Claire since that day either and I have thought long and hard about what I would say to her and I still don’t have it planned out, but I think it will start with a punch to the face and then I’ll drop her of on a street corner somewhere far, far way and ask her if this will be okay for her to walk home from here. Is that wrong?