Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The stalking incident

I was at the dentist in Olympia, WA, the closest big city to my dad's place on the peninsula. The dentist wanted to explain my upcoming root canal. This was against my mom's instructions to not pursue what a root canal actually is, and my husband paid the price. He was sitting on a stool next to me and suddenly he flopped back against the wall, unconscious. 

We lowered him to the ground and the dentist started yelling, "He's having a heart attack!" I yelled back, "RAISE HIS LEGS and get some oxygen!" 

It took a while for us to coordinate this because the dentist really thought J was dying, and to be honest, he did look dead. His eyes had rolled back, still open, and his face had turned grey. 

I yelled again, "Raise his legs" and finally J got the blood back to the important parts and slowly woke up, to the assistant finally putting on an O2 mask. 

Vaso vagal syncope. I guess it's something I have to live with with my husband, who cannot give a blood sample sitting up, nor hear gory details about removing the living nerves and tissues inside a tooth. At least not on a hot day when he hadn't eaten much.

I knew I had to get some food into him so I made the world's fastest grocery run grabbing the first sandwich I saw and running through Fred Meyer full speed. 

After he'd eaten it in the car I needed to get my pre-op medications for my surgery the next day. It was 7:55 PM. All the pharmacies were shutting up, one after the other. And one of them, dropping the gate directly in front of my face as I ran up to it. 

We went to 5 different pharmacies, using Google to find which ones might still be open. 

One of them was funny in retrospect, not funny at all at the time, it was a freaking HMO that Google called a pharmacy, cuz they had one. I got in line, waited, and then asked for my meds. They asked for my membership card. I said, "I'm not a member." They directed me to the membership booth where I could become a member (at 8PM?). I said, "I don't even live in this country, I don't want to be a member." So again, I left empty handed. 

I arrived at one just-shut up pharmacy with another anguished lady trying to get her medicine and I said, "Well, that's it for me then, no surgery tomorrow." I had given up. The lady confirmed with me that the pharmacy was supposed to be open. 

I finally got to a still-open pharmacy at a Safeway in Lacey, WA (?). I was so demoralized I was almost amused by the situation.

All this time J had been in the car, recovering from his fainting episode.

The guy at the pharmacy said he could actually help me, before they shut up shop. I laughed, beyond caring. 

He was so nice. 

Then this tall guy with long stringy hair wearing a beige trenchcoat walked by me, turned,  and stopped. He said, "Were you in Shelton, Washington today?" Huh? Shelton is where my dad's house is. Shelton is of course where I was today. Shelton is a full hour drive from where we were.

He waved and walked on and at first I thought he was being friendly, until the nice pharmacy dude said, "You'd better be careful, he seems like a freak." Then I switched into alert mode and planned my moves.

The nice pharmacist said it would be 10 minutes, so I went "window shopping" in Safeway, all the amazing new foods I'd never seen before since living in America. 

I turned a corner and there was the trenchcoat guy. 

I deliberately paused a long time at the frozen aisle hoping he'd move on. 

I turned the next corner and he was there. 

My heart started pounding. 

10 minutes was up so I got my pre-op drugs and heartily thanked the nice pharmacist. 

I had selected 2 fancy frozen dinners (Asian) and took them to the self checkout. 

I looked up and the trenchcoat guy was in the normal line a few lines away from me. How is this so coordinated, that even though I stalled, he was checking out when I was?

I panicked. I knew that it was dark out, I wasn't sure where I'd parked, and my husband was sitting in the car. I didn't know what to do. 

Then it hit me that I could just ask for help. 

After I'd checked out, I asked the self-checkout dude if I could talk to him. I said, "I think I'm being followed but I'm not sure. Please tell me, if you look over my shoulder, is there a man in a beige trenchcoat standing behind me?" 

The dude said, "Yes, there is." 

I said, "Can you please call for an escort to help me to my car" 


And the employees were on it. They were fast and coordinated and suddenly I had 3 employees around me asking how they could help. I said, "Just get me to my car please." 

I felt so protected, and then......not so much.

They assigned a teenaged boy to escort me. 

He was very polite, and asked if he could help carry my one sack of two frozen dinners. No, I can. 

I said, "I'm driving a white Corolla." The little guy doesn't know his cars so we spent a while looking around.

I remember getting to my car in the very dark parking lot, the boy standing next to me as I opened the back door and put the sack in the car. 

I remember as soon as I put the food in the car, the boy said, "Good night" and turned to leave me. 

I looked up and at the front of my car, was the trenchcoat guy. 

I was literally standing alone with him, my escort gone, my husband half asleep in the passenger seat. 

The trenchcoat guy was leaning on an old jeep parked in front of my car, kitty corner. 

Just leaning there. Facing my car.

I jumped in my car and was a rental car.

I had no idea how to lock the doors by feel in the dark, nor would I in my own car, actually, if I was in a panic. 

I turned on the car and raced out of the parkinglot as if my life depended on it. I've never used a car as an escape tool before. 

My husband said, "What?"  I said only, "We have to go. We have to go." I couldn't talk.

It's the closest thing that comes to a movie in my life, the way I exited that Safeway parking lot. 

I'll never know what that was all about.



TeresaA said...

Wow, that was really strange.

JenK said...

Oh my goodness, that is so scary! Glad you were able to get out of there and ditch creepy weirdo guy!!

AareneX said...

In my karate school, we were often told (and said to one another) that your gut is always right...and the only time you will get proof that your gut was right is if you ignore it.

Gold star for asking for help. Many people forget that it's an option.

Hope J feels better, I have a friend with a similar vaso vagal issues. It's such a PITA!