Friday, January 29, 2016

Up in the Clouds

     It's 2002. I just went up in a hot air balloon, one of my childhood dreams come true. My husband is with me. I think we drank champagne up there, but I can't quite remember for sure.
     If so, it must've felt naughty, even at that age, because my parents were babysitting the boys. I probably felt a little bit like a college kid again, mints tucked away in my purse for the drive home.
     My chemical seatbelt was working great that day; I didn't get faint or dizzy on the way up. There was no feeling of panic, simply elation and awe at the sudden feeling of floating above the world.
     It was nothing like the time I flew in a private plane in college, another childhood dream come true. That was when I had seizures but still called them "spells."
     I started to feel sick almost immediately in that airplane; it had something to do with the sudden change in air pressure and noise, I think.
     We only flew to Chapel Hill and back, which is a short trip from my hometown, even by car. But I started to feel sick almost immediately and had to "fake it/hold it in" so I wouldn't freak out my boyfriend and his friend, the pilot.
     If they had realized how sick I felt, it would have alarmed them too much. My instincts told me that would make things worse, that it was better to wait it out...in my head. Nowadays, I would take deep breaths.
    At the time, I wasn't sure if I was going to faint or throw-up or both, but my impulse was to get safely on the ground where I could lie down...on the ground, literally. I don't remember it feeling the same as a "spell" because it was scarier and more "out of control in a bad direction."
     It may have been a panic attack, now that I look back on it. Whatever it was, I knew the best thing for me was to "keep my head together and get home."
     I did it, too, without any chemical seat-belt to guide me at all, prescription or otherwise. There was no champagne nor anything else on my breath that afternoon.
     I'm sure I prayed and probably recited Psalms and Shakespeare in my mind because I have it memorized so well, and that's what I do sometimes. It's a  mix tape that plays over and over...like scripting.
     I managed to tell my boyfriend and his friend, the pilot, that I felt bad. I probably said I was about to pass out or get sick to my stomach.
     Once they looked at me, they knew it was time to turn back, so we did. It was  was a short trip, and I don't remember much of it.
     I was buckled in, literally, the entire time, so it wasn't dangerous for me at any point. It only felt dangerous inside my head, and once I realized that, I was okay.
     I no longer felt sick to my stomach, and neither did I have the urge to lie down on the pavement at the airport the moment our wheels touched ground.
     Instead, I could take the time to unbuckle and walk over to the grass.
     I didn't fall along the way.
     I was back,
     home.