In the summer after the fifth grade, I grew six inches during one summer. BAM, I went from being tiny Laura to being TALL LAURA and also SURPRISINGLY SKINNY LAURA. Suddenly, I looked as if I was suffering from a chronic disease, like tuberculosis or maybe some other form of wasting disease.
With the height increase, I developed a bit of a problem, which was that I no longer had any body fat. Well, I had a little. But hardly any. How thin was I? Let's just say that, on a ride down the water slide, I got twin bruises on either side of my hip bone. With matching abrasions. And my rib cage stuck so far from my stomach, I looked like the victim of a war crime.
At the time, I had no idea why people kept opening doors for me. But last year, I was digging through some pictures, and I found one of me and Paul at the zoo, and I was in the Terrible Haircut phase of the summer, with a cut so bad, it was literally untameable and horribly short in the front, so I took to embracing the trend at the time, which was wearing a scarf over the hair, like a kerchief, which would have been great, but in the picture had the effect of making me look bald. Which means that I was horribly, dangerously thin-looking, extremely pale, and had my hair covered all the time, meaning people probably thought I had some kind of cancer. Oops.
At the same time, Dad was preaching at this church in a nearby town, and the church, like most in the area, was in an old building and had no air conditioning. It was also nearly the hottest summer I can remember.
I would stand up and sit down, sing, and stand and sit some more, but by the end of every service, even with the little paper fans in the pew, I was feeling overheated, weak, hungry, and very strange.
I was lightheaded, I was shaky, like micro-shakes in all my muscles. A person couldn't see the shakes at first, but I could feel them all over. And the world had this sparkly feeling, like there was a fuzzy wall between my eyes and the rest of everything, and with the shakes came a tingling sensation, and altogether, it felt like my world was made television static. And so was I.
Naturally, this came before my dropping to the ground like a rock and waking up moments later with no memory of several seconds, which I had spent unconscious.
Low blood sugar, the doctor said, was the cause. See, my body was still trying to grow, so it was gulping down every form of fuel it could get, which may have included several important organs.
So I ate more. And still, I would get the fuzzy strange feeling. And then I would sit for twenty minutes with my head between my legs, trying not to pass out.
And Paul had swimming lessons (I had taken all of them but the lifeguard course, and I was too young to be a lifeguard), so we would go to the pool and he would swim, and I would sit in the humid chlorine heat and wait. But one day at the pool, I got this strange sensation again, only stronger than ever before, and I just wanted to lie down. So Mom got me a Pay Day bar and I gulped it down, and she started walking me to the car so I could lie down, but I could not so much walk, so she had to hold me up and--
The next thing I knew, I was staring at the stars. And they were like The Lion King stars, I remember thinking, because they were glimmering and moving in a pretty way. And I could hear voices talking, like Mufasa but different, and then I was looking up at my mother and some strange man (the lifeguard) who had come to my mother's aid when I passed out while walking and clamped down my teeth on her shoulder, vampire-style.
Swimming lessons were cut short as Mom drove me to the doctor's office. I remember waking up a few times on the way.
And they poked and prodded and proclaimed me normal and sent me home. By that time, I felt great*.
I never felt that strange again, until last night.
I had arrived home from work and felt good. I'd had a sweet tea, so naturally, I was in a happy mood, because sweet tea makes me happy. I went to my room, put on jeans and the magic hoodie, and started up my laptop to continue watching The Vampire Diaries, because I am keeping a massive spreadsheet tracking how many deaths take place in that show, which is quite a challenge**.
And then I started getting the micro-shakes and Mom came in and I said, "Mom, I am feeling bizarre. I need food."
She came back with her yummy imported shortbread cookies. But at that point, I was shaking so badly, I could not hold the glass of milk she brought, so my mother ended up feeding me. And then I ate cookies. And then I got a peanut butter spoon with Craisins all over the peanut butter, because I was feeling well enough to walk and I know that when I get shaky, I need to have protein, not just sugar.
"I don't like this," Mom kept saying. And I wanted to say, "Gee, Mum, you think I do? No one likes this." But instead I kept eating. And I Googled.
You see, I have a sinus infection (yes, AGAIN), so I was given this medicine to kill the sinus bugs. And it is working. But it says on the bottle to "take with a full meal." And I had, but it occurred to me that, with my crazy-fast metabolism, my idea of a meal might not live up to the bottle's idea of a meal. My idea = healthy serving sizes. Bottle's idea = portions akin to The Cheesecake Factory's entrees.
And there it was, listed in the side effects along with some other unspeakable things like skin falling off and internal bleeding and death. The point being, I now have a blanket excuse, through the end of the week, to eat anything I want at any time.
So tonight I am making Saltine Toffees.
* Or as great as a girl can feel after a complete physical.
** I have no life, and I love spreadsheets. What--that surprises you?