I recently celebrated my fifty-fifth trip around the sun. I’m forever taking my glasses off and putting them on again to accommodate the annoying vision changes that come with age, along with too much time in front of computer screens. I’m not as adept at multi-tasking as I once was but, still I don’t resonate with the notion of midlife as a crisis. Until I hit my head, that is.
I fainted at work, which resulted in a literal and metaphorical blow to the head. The last time it happened, a car accident left me with both a serious concussion and a conclusion that it was time to remove myself from an emotionally abusive relationship. What was I overlooking this time, I wondered?
The attending ER physician, noting that my heart seemed stable and all my vitals were within normal range, sent me home with a list of symptoms to watch for and said to call 911 at the first sign of them. I live alone so, for the next several nights, I slept with my phone on and asked a nearby friend to sleep with hers on, too.
Before going to bed that first night, I wrote medicine instructions for my cats and put a load of delicates in the washing machine. In case I croaked in the night I didn’t want someone else to be stuck with dirty underwear or sick cats. These are the kinds of thoughts one has to consider when living alone and worrying about heartbreak as an inherited trait.
While my hardworking, endlessly giving, saint-like father took his leave with complete grace and gratitude, brokenhearted is a cycle I aim to break.