Having attended an exclusive all-girls school, Maya Angelou poetry was a huge part of my growing up. “Phenomenal Woman” in particular has stuck with me ever since.
I am a woman, phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me!
“Is that so?” mocked the Powers That Be. “Phenomenal ka pala, ha,” they taunted further.
… And that’s how I met Raynaud.
You know those cold openings in House where the patient drops unconsciously to the floor, leaving the more Sherlock-y audience members to scan the premises for clues? And how those answers are very rarely part of the crime scene, but revealed only through the backstory flashback?
Same goes for me. Last Tuesday night, I was eating my second piece of Spanish bread (a clue!), consuming no liquids (a clue!), wearing my navy stain-prone Uniqlo jeans (a clue!), when I laughingly noticed my left foot turned blue. (so blue!)
Things escalated from hysterical-funny to just plain hysterical once I saw my other foot – as well my hands – had turned blue too. My chest, uncooperative as ever since puberty, was also pumping on overdrive.
One thing about me
I forget to do important things at times. I recall playing The Sims until the wee hours of the morning, tears streaming down my face because I forget to blink. I find myself taking regular gasps of air because I forget to breathe1. So I assumed I this blueness was simply because I forgot to swallow2. After all, I had obvious hints before me: a huge mound of Spanish bread chewed absentmindedly, as well as an appalling lack of water.
I assumed I was choking – and joking while at it – so I asked Rob and Apol if any of them were willing to perform a Heimlich on me. They weren’t. By this time, I gave in to a panic attack, and they got me a paper bag to breathe in. I decided to let them take me to Makati Med soon after.
The benefits of being blue
Once at the hospital, I was rushed through the queue3. ER 7, corner room, ECG, x-ray, Valium shot through IV. Everything happened in a daze, but I remember shivering up until that IV shot. I also kept asking the boys to remind me to breathe, because I was completely convinced that I keep forgetting to4. Valium took care of the palpitations, but all those ER medical guys asking “Bakit kaya blue yan?!” about my foot offered absolutely no comfort. The doctor even proposed I place an ice pack on it, a piece of advice I’m glad to not have followed5.
Now comes the aforementioned backstory flashback
Before the sinister Spanish bread came into the picture, I suddenly remembered fixing myself a cup of Vietnamese coffee at the office just before leaving. I added a scoop of local coffee powder as an extra perk6, something I will never ever ever do again. Aside from that, I’ve been nursing a week-long cough that I even took to chilly Hong Kong, and to top it all off, I’ve neglected to take my iron capsules recently7.
So my weakened system, my exposure to cold, plus my stupidity-induced caffeine buttload intake all result in… Raynaud’s Phenomenon!
Apol had to Google this because the ER staff looked as perplexed as we felt. Hemingway, I’m okay now. Hugh Laurie and Maya Angelou would be proud.
P.S.: Remember kids, “drink moderately” applies to coffee, too.
1 All those tacky “Just Breathe” girly tattoos now make sense.
2 TWSS, blah blah.
3 “Rush” inclusive of the 10 minutes one poor nurse took trying to acetone my nail polish away. Apparently the heart rate machine requires clean nails, and as most girls know, glitter is a bitch to take off.
4 I am THISCLOSE from that stupid tattoo.
5 May chills nga e!
7 Anemic! Boo!