Visited with my friends Donna and Rick at Donna's mom's house near Phoenix this past Friday night. Kind of thrown together at the last minute, but that's how my social life usually works. So, after playing an outdoor gig in the morning, I ran home, showered, and headed off to the airport. After about an hour in the air, I touched down, rented a car (and by the way, at Alamo Rent-a-Car, a PT Cruiser is among their "compact" models), and soon I was crawling through traffic on my way to the suburbs south of town.
After I arrived, we hung out at the house a while, looking at real estate websites (they're working on a possible move to the area), giggling at lolcats, and having a glass of wine before striking out for dinner about an hour later. The Mexican restaurant we went to was a favorite of Donna and Elinor for their mole, but the place was pretty crowded so we ended up outdoors on the patio. They had great chips and salsa, and we munched those for a while as we ordered a round of drinks. My blue margarita was excellent, and in the 100-degree heat it went down like fruit punch, even though I'd been making a special effort to drink a lot of water all day. After a short while our entrees arrived, and we chatted about business planning as we worked through them. I had the pollo asado with rice and borracho beans, which was very good. Donna's mole was excellent, and I was kind of wishing I'd ordered the same when the weirdness started setting in.
"Weirdness," in this context, is the best term I can think of to describe the general feeling of, "whoa... what the heck is happening to my head?" After confirming with Rick that yes, I was looking a little pale, I tried waiting it out, hoping like crazy I hadn't lost track of how much I'd been drinking and was about to lose my dinner all over the patio. Just in case, I asked Donna to walk with me to the ladies' room. It was a good thing she agreed, too... because she kept me from doing a face-plant moments later, as I unceremoniously passed out.
But wait... it gets better! So I come to and find myself on the tile in the middle of this restaurant. The manager is offering me a damp towel and telling me not to get up so quickly, and I'm thinking, "oh crap... I can't believe I just did that." But I still wanted to go to the ladies' room, so Donna and the restaurant manager (a very nice lady who said this happened a lot) escorted me over, and I soaked up the air conditioning while I tried to clear my head. A few minutes later a team of paramedics arrived, so we moved back out to the patio where they checked me over. My blood sugar was normal and I was starting to feel a bit more together, so we were thinking of just heading for home when the medics asked me if I was okay to walk out to the car. Upon standing my blood pressure and pulse (which were being monitored) both took a nosedive, so on their recommendation I consented to be taken to the hospital. Within minutes I was sporting an I.V., a heart monitor, a pulse/ox monitor, and was being loaded into an ambulance bound for Mercy General Hospital in Gilbert. Not *exactly* how I'd planned to spend the evening.
I was certain I was headed for a lecture about my reckless alcohol abuse, but after a battery of blood tests, an EKG, and a chest X-ray, the E.R. doctors decided that my meltdown was likely the result of a combination of fatigue, low potassium, and being unused to the heat, which were all amplified by the drink I'd had at the restaurant. They dumped about a liter and a half of saline into me, prescribed potassium and sleep, and then turned me loose to go home at about 1:30am. Rick and Donna (who had been incredibly good sports through this whole stupid adventure) drove me back to Elinor's house, and spent a few minutes peeling innumerable little adhesive foil squares off my skin before heading off to bed. What a night.
Given that waste of an evening it would have been nice to stay a little longer, but I didn't really mind going home Saturday and spending the rest of the weekend taking a break from my usual hectic routine. I think that if there were a moral to this story, it's that I'm not 18 anymore and really need to get serious about taking better care of myself. That's a bummer, but as my office-mate once remarked, getting old is WAY better than the alternative.
In the interest of posting a trip photo, though, I give you this shot of Elinor's little whirlwind of a Boston Terrier, Pogo. This year-old terror is almost always moving, and I was actually surprised to catch him taking a momentary catnap the next day. Here he's hoping that his perfect "down-stay" will earn him another game of tug-of-war...