2795 miles and 12 days later, Paul and I have returned to Texas. It was a glorious homecoming.
Or maybe not. Our return on Friday night was uneventful. We were lucky enough to spend Thursday night in Dallas with our friends the Minnericks. They cooked us a delicious vegan dinner, we stayed up way too late, and I spilled coffee grounds all over their kitchen on Friday morning in an attempt to satisfy my addiction. We had lunch at a vegan Chinese buffet, Veggie Garden. For real, you guys, in Dallas, of all places: a vegan Chinese buffet. It was awesome. Who knew Dallas had such great vegan eats?
After lunch, we said a bittersweet farewell to our friends and promptly entered gridlock traffic. Isn’t that how it always works? After driving more than two thousand miles, we were just a few hours from home and we crept toward College Station, slowly and painfully. To reward ourselves for actually returning to Texas (believe me, I could have stayed in Colorado and just sent for my things), we ate delicious Indian food at Taz; the softness of palak paneer turned out to be a blessing, though I didn’t at the time know what was in store for me the next day.
I collapsed into my own bed and slept soundly. Saturday morning, I puttered around, enjoying a new favorite song and the soft comfort of a deeply familiar space. Around 11 AM, I set off toward the bank to deposit a small check and do a short running work-out.
It was hot outside—you know, the usual in summertime Texas. I knew that I wasn’t in top shape for Texas heat, so I planned to keep my run short and sweet. I warmed up as usual with five minutes of walking, then I ran for seven minutes to the bank. Inside, there was a line, which was discouraging. Who likes waiting in line at the bank? You don’t even get food as a reward for that! I thought about turning right back around and heading outside, but with my to-do list in mind, I got in line. I felt a little dizzy, so I put my hands on my knees and leaned forward. Then I passed out.
When I came to, it was confusion and chaos around me. Someone was holding my head, with a wad of paper towels against my chin. It took me a few moments to figure out what was going on: I was staring up at the bank ceiling, and people were telling me I’d lost my front tooth. I tried to sit up, and they held me down, saying I shouldn’t move. So I laid back for a few moments. Then I started to get annoyed and insisted on sitting up because I felt like I should sit up. I even got ballsy and decided to stand up, despite the small crowd that was now gathered around me and protesting that I should not move. But sitting up felt fine, and really, it felt worse to be the center of a freak show, so I stood up, walked over to some couches, and sat down for a few moments.
The kind bystanders at the bank had called the paramedics, but there was no way in hell I was getting in an ambulance. The loss of control I was starting to feel made me panic. Someone handed me another wad of paper towels that contained my tooth, and with this wad in hand, I forced my way out of the bank, away from the chaos and the paramedics and the crowd. I slowly walked home, stepped inside, called Paul to tell him what had happened, and crumbled into a weepy mess.
I had hurt myself, badly enough for sure but not so badly that I could surrender myself to strangers. My chin had a deep gash in it and was dripping blood. And indeed, my front tooth was broken in half, and a second tooth had a substantial chip in it. Looking at my chin in the mirror, I realized oh my god, this is bad.
Paul arrived and became my voice of reason. I was angry and panicky, feisty even. He insisted that the people at the bank had done the right thing, and in hindsight, I saw he was right. The whole scene in there had frightened me. What had happened? How could I have just crumbled to the ground and with no memory of it at all?
We went to urgent care, where the kind people stitched up my chin, gave me a tetanus shot, charged me $204, and sent me on my way. While we were on our way, a dentist called me back, asked me a few questions, gave me some advice, and assured me I’d be okay until Monday if there was no pain and no bleeding in my mouth. “Okay” is, however, a relative word: I still have a gaping hole where my front tooth should be.
So what happened back in the bank? Fainting is not to be taken lightly, after all. I suspect three things happened. The first is that I stepped from blazing hot Texas to freezing cold bank, so the change in temperatures was a physical shock to my system. Second, I may have overhydrated, which can lead to lower sodium levels in the blood and therefore low blood pressure. The final point, which is perhaps the most important of all, is that I’ve been away from Texas for the better part of the last six weeks. I am not at all acclimated to the heat and humidity of this place. While I felt fine during my seven-minute run, maybe I shouldn’t have been running at all. At least not yet.
Sigh. Now I face a week or two of doctor visits and some super-fun medical bills. I’m not insured right now because my old job ended in May, along with my health insurance. But it turns out that my health insurance (like many people’s) is crappy and likely would not have covered much of the cost of my accident. I’m tempted to get all ranty about health insurance here, but I’ll keep the f-bombs to myself. Instead, I’ll say that today I am grateful for good doctors, good boyfriends, and all the soft and slurpable foods I can eat, including palak paneer.
Breakfast this morning was overnight oatmeal with blueberries, and I was so tired of trying to eat it with my gimpy mouth that I gave up two-thirds in and tucked the bowl in the fridge for later. Don’t get me wrong: it was delicious, but I think my jaw is bruised from the fall, and it’s really awkward trying to eat with only one side of my mouth. Lucky for me, coffee and water are straw-worthy and sippable, so it’s much easier to embrace a liquid diet until I get some new teeth.
That was my weekend in a very large nutshell. I wanted to dive right into the photographic treasure trove I have from New Mexico and Colorado, but alas, I thought you should know about my unfortunate fall. On the bright side for blogging, the start date of my new job has been pushed back to August 1st, so I have lots of time to write the vacation posts from my epic trip. Do you like vacation stories? I try to make mine interesting without cramming so many photos into a post that you get bored. Too many photos and I just glaze over, so I don’t want to inflict that on you! Check back here in a day or two for the story of Paul and Rose-Anne in Albuquerque.
Have a good week, my dears. Oh, and I should tell you that I’m okay. Really! Despite the injuries, I only have a little bit of pain in my mouth and jaw. And it seems like the damage is mostly cosmetic, so that is the good news. I feel ugly, but who cares when you’re spending most of the day puttering around your apartment? And Paul insists I am not ugly, which is very sweet of him to say. I’m not sure I believe him, but it’s nice to hear.
See you soon.