I had a great time in St. Louis - or should I say Collinville, across the river - and it will probably take a few posts to say everything.
Bear in mind, my weekend ended with my being rushed to the emergency room at a local hospital. If I had been better, I probably would have had a spectacular weekend.
You see, Sunday afternoon I collapsed in the Green Room at the Gateway Convention Center, and I was taken to Anderson Hospital in Maryville, Illinois. Now that the proverbial dust has cleared, I can look back and see what all led up to the fiasco.
I've had a problem with allergies all this year; it's probably been aggravated by the wet spring we had in Texas. For the past few months, I've been taking Benedryl on a regular basis.
I didn't realize it, but I had developed a sinus infection, and before I left on Thursday it probably had begun to spread to my left inner ear. Now, the complication was that I took the train to St. Louis.
Ordinarily, the train would be comfortable, but with the constant rocking on the rails - and my ear filling with fluid - I developed terrible motion sickness. By Friday morning, as we rolled through Missouri, I was retching in a trash can.
I was so drained that when the train actually arrived in St. Louis, I didn't wake up. A train crew member woke me and got me off the train at the very last minute.
The con committee was nice enough to send someone out to get me, and I lucked out and got a room in a motel across from the convention center.
With a little rest, I felt better, and I began my rounds of panels. But I didn't know what really had caused the motion sickness.
Now, a second problem kicked in. I've been taking medicine for high blood pressure for over two years. Recently, it hasn't been working as well as needed. Quite honestly, I was waiting for a change in my job before it could be adjusted. I was working so long and hard that it was probably causing most of the problem.
Well, my last month on the old job I had to work two positions. It was the hardest stint I ever did. For three days in there, I actually had to do three Jobs. But I started my new job the Tuesday before the con.
I guess going from such a hard job to starting the new job to the con was a strain. I also compounded it by eating junk food. My diet on Friday and Saturday was mostly White Castle, pepperoni pizza and soft pretzels.
I had been feeling woozy and lightheaded at times all weekend. My last panel was Sunday at 10 a.m. I got a nice half hour chair massage at 11:30, and went to get some lunch, but I began to real REALLY bad. I also was getting very sensitive to hustle and bustle of the con. The noise and light hurt.
I remembered the Green Room, and went in there. It WAS nice and quiet, and I laid down, but I felt worse and worse and after a half hour realized not only could I not get up, but I was in danger of passing out entirely.
I used my cell phone and called 911. The emergency type people came and took me to the local hospital, where they found my blood pressure was reaching stroke level (like around 210/140). They gave me some meds to drop it down and after a few hours, after I was stable, they let me go.
Steve Norris, the chair of the Archon Committee, had called Patricia at home. Beth Bancroft from the Archon Committee stayed with me at the hospital. Bless her heart!
Archon gave me a room at the Holiday Inn Sunday night, while Patricia made arrangements to fly back. Monday morning they drove me to the airport (I was still suffering motion sickness - at one point, they had to stop the van so I could retch out the side).
Thanks to Dramamine - and two very smooth flights - I made it back to Texarkana Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning, I saw my personal physician. She found out about the infection that had affected my inner ear and prescribed antibiotics.
As for the blood pressure, she doubled the dosage of the medicine I have been taking, prescribed a second one, and gave me a third to only be used in case of an emergency such as happened Sunday.
I also bought a home blood pressure monitor; I have to check my blood pressure twice a day, and turn the results into my doctor.
While I was in the emergency room at the hospital, as I was recovering I regaled Beth Bancrodft with imagined headlines:
"Author drops dead at NASFIC;
'We never lost one before', says Archon chair."
Well, I guess later I'll actually talk about the con!