To put it bluntly: this was one of the shittier mornings I've had in a long time.
I don't really want to go into too many details, but basically exhaustion + food poisoning + my extreme stubbornness to the point of stupidity = me trying to walk to the corner store to get ibuprophen at 7am, being overwhelmed with pain, and collapsing semi-conscious onto a public sidewalk in the rain in only a pair of jeans and a T shirt.
I've had a lot of times in my life before where I've been in a lot of pain, even to what felt like it was beyond the point of endurance, but I've rarely felt such a combination of fear and pain as I did this time. I realized just how few people I know in this new country of mine, and that I didn't even know how to call for help now that I needed it.
But then, I was visited by a pair of guardian angels. Two young people walked by and initially kept going, but several minutes came back and asked me if I was ok. At this point I couldn't really open my eyes, couldn't stand, and could barely speak from the pain. These people called an ambulance on my behalf and stayed there well longer than they were required to in order to try to make sure I was going to be all right.
Finally the EMTs sort of shooed them away, and they left. I never got to learn their names, never even really saw them properly, and could only mumble a quiet semi-coherent 'thank you' for what they did for me. But whoever you are, thank you. Thank you so much. I'm so overwhelmed by your kindness. It's a reminder that it's very easy to do nothing (if I'm honest with myself, I know I would have been tempted to keep walking if I'd seen me on the street this morning); these two people went out of their way to save me. I wish there was some way I could let these people know how much their gesture means to me.
With some strong pain medication and fluids the cramps subsided, though I also developed minor hypothermia from being out on in the elements (my official temperature that got put on my release papers was taken at 34.8ºC--or around 94.6ºF--though I suspect I actually got a bit colder than that as my temp was taken right at the beginning when I was still covered in cold sweat and it was another 10 minutes or so until I was well enough to be moved). So when I was finally released, it was with orders to put on my warmest clothes and lie in bed for as long as I needed until I got warm. It took several hours of uncontrollable shivering, but I'm finally feeling up to temp again. Phew!
So it's been a bad day, but I'm feeling very blessed. I'm reminded to try to be the best member of this larger human community that I possibly can be. It's easy to be self-centered and only looking out for yourself, especially in a place like a city that can often feel so cold and impersonal. But if those two people who had stopped had given into that temptation instead, my day would have become VERY bad, indeed. So thank you again, both for giving me physical aid and what I can only describe as spiritual inspiration. I don't know what would have happened without you.
(in more upbeat news, here's a sweet panorama one of my classmates took at the Pembroke official picture yesterday; I was actually standing right next to him when this photo was taken, so am not actually in it, but it gives a pretty good idea of Pembroke's crazy beauty!)