Home sick. Again. Lately, what “sick” means is that I’ve recently had a panic attack that kept me up all night and I’m in intense recovery.
Even though I’ve been having the damn things semi-regular for over six months now, I’ve resisted medication. Why? That’s a good question to ask yourself when you’re shivering on the bathroom floor at 3:00 AM. The trouble is, you won’t be able to answer it, since the cutest thing about a panic attack is how you can’t make any decisions at all. My poor older brother — who had flown in from UCLA for my grandma’s birthday — kept patiently asking me: “Do you want a blanket? Do you want some Tylenol PM?” To which I reasonably replied, “Um,” and then, again, “um.” And they say white people are articulate.
The funny thing is, my brother was supposed to be the sick one. The same airlines that won’t let you take more than three ounces of shampoo on a plane let him fly with gastritis AND mono. You figure it out. He, as it turned out, looked and acted relatively normal; I was the one still in my pajamas the next day at 1:00 PM, shrouded in the blanket he’d finally coaxed me into accepting.
All of that is to say, I went to DC for the weekend to do some wedding stuff and celebrate my remarkable grandma’s 94th birthday, and I succeeded in thoroughly freaking out my family. For my brother’s various ailments, he has resorted to acupuncture, doctors in Beverly Hills who require valet parking, and a nutritionist; he’s insisting I too try every option. Of course, since he’s in LA, he’s just doing what the LAkers do. But now that my family’s seen my crazy up close and personal, they agree.
I finally made it back to Brooklyn and was prepared to sleep forever. Three hours into that plan, I woke up and realized: Mr. Ben wasn’t here. Mr. Ben, who had decided to go yuppie for the weekend and ski/bond with law review folks in Utah, was due into JFK at 12:30 AM. Surely then by 3:30 AM he should be home; and yet he wasn’t.
I checked the JFK website and CNN.com: no shampoo-related airplane crises to report. Not having any more detailed flight information than “he gets in at 12:30 from Utah,” I couldn’t get much help from anyone including Mr. Ben himself, whose phone had mysteriously died. There was nothing to be done but stay up all night, occasionally watching NYOne or old Grey’s Anatomy episodes for company, and try not to panic overmuch about ending up one of those pre-widows on the news.
At 7:15 he came stumbling in, smurflike from the cold. Had he said a 12:30 arrival? Oops – he had meant he was taking a red eye, getting in around 5:30. Oh god, had I really waited … ?
The remarkable thing is after all that I got dressed, put on my heavy coat, and actually left the apartment to go to work. Then I remembered two important details. One, I’d forgotten my Netflix envelope inside. And two, I had hardly slept now for four nights running; hadn’t eaten in 36 hours; and if I even made it to the subway, I would doubtless end up falling onto the tracks and having to be saved by a future State of the Union attendee.
I made it back inside and slept past noon. Now I have to figure out how to make my life better.