One thing I have mentioned time and time again is how POTS has not only affected the way I feel, but it’s also taken a toll on some of my interpersonal interactions.
For example, I’ve told you about my sweaty palms and the way I can’t help but blush when a boy kisses me — but I failed to tell you about how this happens all the freakin’ time whenever I feel the slightest sense of embarrassment, annoyance, or frustration. The other day I ran into one of my high school crushes at Target. Obviously I have no feelings for him whatsoever anymore, but as soon as he mentioned that he was now married my face turned bright red because I am apparently just programmed to be awkward.
Anyway, I went to New York City last weekend to visit some friends and have a girls’ weekend with my mom. The trip was awesome and I will be sharing a few stories on here about it this week, but the first one is hilariously embarrassing.
Before we went to the DC to New York bus stop I gave Megabus a call to make sure they would be stopping once to stretch and use the restroom. Not only do I have to drink a lot of fluids to keep my symptoms at bay, but I also need to walk around regularly to get my circulation going. The person who assisted me on the phone said this wouldn’t be a problem and that we would definitely stop. Thank goodness! I suddenly felt a lot more comfortable about making the big trip to the city.
Things did not go as planned, though. Our bus was 30 minutes late, so the driver said that we would not be stopping. After shuffling up to the front to talk to him, he kindly told me that he would stop if I needed it — I just needed to reach up and press the giant red emergency “STOP” button above my seat. If I needed it? I definitely will! This is so uncomfortable, I thought to myself. I quietly went back to my seat and waited for the giant Smart Waters I had been throwing back to take their course.
About three hours into our ride I realized I would definitely need to pee and stretch soon, so reached up to the button — then pulled away. What if it makes a loud buzzing sound and everyone looks over? I really hate being high-maintenance, but that ship sailed when I got sick. You kind of have to be to take care of your chronic illness.
So I closed my eyes, reached up, and shoved my index finger into the giant glowing button as I held my breath. It was quiet. Oh good, I thought. The driver must just get a notification at the front.
But he didn’t. I waited and waited until I realized he wouldn’t be stopping. That’s when I finally went to the front to see if he had seen my cry for help. He was once again very kind and said he would stop at the next rest area.
This is where the story takes a hilarious turn.
He pulled right up to the front of a gas station and shouted, “Alright darlin’, we’re here! Go do your thing.”
Oh my goodness! He’s just stopping for me! I thought that this would be a rest stop for everyone, but apparently I got to walk the red carpet down the bus aisle to go to the bathroom all by myself. I stood up and realized my balance was a bit off from the long ride — POTS does that to me sometimes. I can sometimes have a hard time keeping my balance on solid ground, but it’s even worse when I’ve been cooped up in a car for several hours. I stumbled down the aisle, bumping into a pretty young twentysomething who was just trying to mind her own business and taking out a guy’s knee on the way. I offered a muffled apology as I turned bright red and scampered down the steps.
I felt everyone’s inquisitive eyes on me as I pranced from the bus into the gas station and wondered what they must think of me. This is humiliating! They’re probably coming up with a billion stories in their own minds of why I had to make this huge emergency stop.
I hurried inside and was back within two minutes. I didn’t take the time I needed to stretch because I didn’t want any false assumptions from me taking forever.
As I walked onto the bus — my face once again matching the red carpet beneath my feet — I realized no one was really paying attention to me. The twentysomething girl glanced up from her laptop, but for the most part people remained preoccupied with their own activities. It was at this moment that I had an overwhelming realization that no one really cared what I was up to and all eyes were, in fact, not on me.
Today’s lesson: People don’t really care what you are doing — so you should just do you and not worry so much about what others think.