I’ve fainted twice in my 16 years of life. The first time I was at the doctor's office, getting some blood taken, and was almost out the door when I just.. Fainted. Over blood. They don’t even take that much. I can still remember waking up.. It felt like I had traveled through a long tunnel of a distant dream.. I was confused.. Turns out my Mom had caught me at the last second, so my head didn’t hurt from hitting the floor. I was set on the carpet carefully with a bunch of worried faces staring down at me. The second time was even worse than the first. Worse as in like, even more embarrassing. A 14 year old girl fainting at the doctors is rare but easily forgotten. A 16 year old lifeguard fainting on duty… harder to forget. Let me paint you a picture: I’m at work at 9am on a cold Thursday. I’m scanning the deep mass of water in front of me, making sure no one is drowning, while also glancing at the clock. I’m the only lifeguard there, although my supervisor is through the glass doors at the front desk 50 feet in front of me. My rotation is almost up; soon I can take a break. There is a class of Aquafit going on, and I watch the women do their exercises with a kind of mesmerization that comes from staring at water too long. I’ve decided to walk along the pools edge rather than sit in the chair. (Not a smart move.) The chair has a ladder to get up to, so once I start losing my senses I don't have much hope of climbing up it. I want to explain this so you know why this second installment of Fainting with Zoe is completely hopeless.There no happy ending. Okay, okay, that’s pretty dramatic as I don’t die or anything but this is cruelly tortuously embarrassing so I think I have some right to be dramatic- builds the climax. Anyways, I do think that if I’d have sat down I’d have been okay. Might I just add this room is incredibly humid, it feels like you’re breathing in 50% water. Suddenly, about 2 minutes until I’m scheduled for my break, I have the sensation that I’m going to throw up. This doesn’t happen, but instead my balance starts getting off as well. My feet feel almost cemented to the floor, like the gravity in them has been tampered with and they don’t know which ways up or down. My body is swaying randomly. I make myself scan anyway, as if this will all pass, my head scanning left to right, left to right. I suddenly clutch the chair for support, the stupid useless chair. as I start losing my vision and my hearing. Black spots cover my eyes like ants, and I keep moving my head, scanning the black abyss of my vision. I can feel myself slipping from consciousness. Hold on,I think, clinging to the last bit of myself I can find, but I know it’s too late. I vaguely wonder what the Aquafit ladies must think of me- a lifeguard, meant to protect their lives, fainting. Drowning, even, except that I did not submerge fully in the water; my hair stayed loyally dry. I guess it’s good I fell forward rather than backwards, where I might have cracked my head. Maybe I’m just a really lucky fainter, if that's possible. I don’t remember falling in, only that suddenly I’m awake and my head is still clogged; but the water seemed to have awoken me. My black and pink Nike slides have floated to the top, and I grab the shoes halfheartedly, amused by this useless fact while everyone else is probably fussing over me. What happened, are you okay, did you eat breakfast? I fainted, yes, no, I forgot to. Someone gets my supervisor, and he fills in for me, finally, while I go to his backpack to eat the granola bar he told me to grab. In situations where someone faints at our facility, we learn that you have to call EMS, but I guess since I work there it’s different. I’m annoyed but also glad by this fact. I think I learned once that fainting is your body's way of telling you to slow down, that you need to rest. But after the initial fainting, it’s less likely to happen again right away. Sometimes I’ll be working and one of the swimmers from that day will come up to me and ask if I ate breakfast jokingly, and it kind of makes me squirm inside because I’m one of those people that usually block out bad memories. But I laugh with them and I’m working on laughing at myself more, and just growing as a person in general. This is one of those experiences that really reminded me to take care of myself, even if that means something as simple as breakfast.
January 11, 2018