Last Sunday I was having a nice dinner with Barry, Melody and The Girls. I don’t know what brought this on, but I started talking about the dangers of me having a medical emergency in the middle of the night and having no one there to help me. I’m getting close to 40 and it’s messing with my head. Oh, and Sierra was telling us about a girl in her apartment building at school who had appendicitis and had to be taken to the emergency room during the night. That kind of talk always makes me wonder, “If something like that happened to me, how long would I lay there before someone found me? Days, weeks….”
So I said, “If I died during the night I would lay there for a week before anyone figured it out.”
Barry looked at me with his eyebrows scrunched together like “What are you talking about?”
Melody, “I’m sure I would wonder if I hadn’t heard from you for a week. Or work would call to find out where you are. ” Yeah, a lot of good that would do when I’m unconscious.
Someone else pointed out that I do, in fact, have a roommate.
Me, “Yeah, but if I’m leaving for work one morning and see that she’s still in bed, I just figure that she’s not feeling well or maybe has a day off. I don’t knock on the door and go in there.”
Melody, “But you would if she was still there when you got home.” Well maybe. I shrugged and mumbled something. But the truth is that up until now it’s not likely that I would have. Melissa and I both have days when we need a good amount of alone time, and we respect that, and I rarely knock on her door when she’s in her room. Honestly, it would be DAYS…
Barry, whose eyebrows are now deeply furrowed in his head, “It’s not like you’re 85….” Always the voice of reason. But still you never know. You never know.
So of course that moved to the inevitable talk about choking on food while alone and having to try the Heimlich maneuver over a chair. It’s every single woman’s fear. In fact, I’ve seen this acted out on tv shows more than once, Liz Lemon on 30 Rock for example. You start having disturbing thoughts about being alone, and then one day a piece of chicken gets caught in the throat and you’re desperately running around the apartment looking for a chair. It’s a rational fear.
Barry still thinks I’m ridiculous.
So last night when I got home from the bookstore, Melissa was in the spare room working on her computer. I knocked, opened the door and said hello. We had some friendly chit-chat, and then I told her about our Sunday dinner conversation. She thought it was all pretty funny (honestly, everyone refuses to be afraid that I might lay dead in my room for a week). Then we decided that we should come up with a plan, a point at which we go into the other’s room and check for breathing. We established that it’s always ok for either of us to wake up the other at night if we feel like we need medical attention. But as far as either of us checking on the other...it's still kind of a gray area. I'd hate to wake her up for no reason.
Later I thought about notes that can be posted on the bedroom doors if we’re in there for a long time, just avoid being bothered when it’s not necessary. Something like, “I’m ok.” “I don’t feel well, but you don’t need to worry.” And then we could have the in case of emergency series, “Please call the ambulance.” “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Of course, that last one might be hard to stick on the outside of the door, if indeed I can’t get up, but maybe with a well-designed series of ropes and pulleys…I’ll have to work that out.
The good news is that after talking to Melissa I feel reassured. No, I haven’t honestly been scared of dying in my sleep and no one finding me until the neighbors report a bad smell and a CSI team has to break down the door. But weird things do go through your head when you’re on your own, and it’s nice to know that Melissa is there. It’s always good to have someone there.