Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bad Things Come in Threes? Uh Oh...

It's been a pretty nutty week for yours truly...

It starts on Wednesday morning, around 5:30am. My girlfriend Jacky is at home (she has a semi) sleeping and hears a loud bang, waking her from her sleep. There is a student house across the street so she thinks it may be some party animals enjoying frosh week or something. She goes to her window to investigate where she finds two men in ski masks on her roof WITH RIFLES!!

Obviously startled, she runs to get her phone, trips and falls ON THE PHONE, breaking it. She then dashes to her bathroom for her purse to get her cell phone. No reception...

She hurtles downstairs and is about to dash into her backyard when she spots three more men in ski masks outside her sliding door!

Jacky hides in a corner and dials 911. She's completely hysterical by this point, not able to really get out words to the operator. "There are men with masks and guns trying to break into my house!" she blurts out.

"Calm down miss. What's your address? Tell me where you are."

Jacky takes about a minute to finally get the words out.

"Maam. Please calm down. Those men are Covert Ops. It's the police. Please go to your front window."

"NO!!! THEY ARE MASKED MEN WITH RIFLES! THEY ARE TRYING TO BREAK INTO MY HOUSE!"

"Maam. PLEASE calm down and go to your front window. It is the police department."

After continuing the back and forth for what seems like an eternity, Jacky finally goes to the front window. On cue, as if it was a movie or something, all of these unmarked cars come screeching to a stop in front of her house and officers come parading out the doors in full SWAT gear, venturing toward the door of the adjoining semi.

It turns out this was part of a province-wide raid on drug and arms dealers and Jacky's next door neighbour is part of the gang.

Of course, the police would tell her nothing except that "your neighbour is in a lot of trouble."

I always kind of wondered about the guy, who was pretty young (late 20's) and had TWO Mercedes automobiles in his driveway. Guess this explains it!

Anyway, one of the cops, a former boyfriend of Jacky's sister, recognized her and told her that this guy has "a lot of money and will likely be out on bail tonight." So, I made Jacky stay with me the next few nights to get her away from the house.

She was REALLY freaked about the whole experience and was forced to undergo counceling by her employer. Jacky works for Family and Children's Services so it is important that she has got her wits about her for the job.

Thankfully she seems to be doing much better right now.

Now to part two...

On Saturday, I had to go up to the beautiful Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario for a business convention. We got to play the gorgeous Highlands course at Deerhurst on Sunday in a scramble, which was a lot of fun. The hectic meetings started on Monday. Breakfast from 5:30am to 7am. Meetings from 7:00am to 6:00pm STRAIGHT THROUGH! All meetings are 30 minutes long so we had 20 different meetings per day. There were 54 different suppliers at this convention so you walk from room to room meeting them throughout the week. It's quite productive, as most of the big-wigs are there to hear your concerns and hopefully rectify any problems you may have had during the past year. However, it's very tiring for the distributors like us, who are walking all over hells half acre to each of these meetings every half hour. You're constantly 10 minutes behind it seems.

Anyway, we got through Tuesday intact. My buyer Dave also came along for the meetings and we were both invited to a party thrown by one of our suppliers: Cascades Tissue Group (formerly known as Perkins Paper). Now, I didn't originally want to go to this party because we don't really do much business with them anymore. However, they called us up on Friday and asked why we hadn't RSVP'd yet and that they would really like it if we came.

Fine. Sign us up...

So, we head to Steamers Restaurant at the Deerhurst Resort, which isn't very big and would have to be crammed to fit the 100 people invited to the shindig. We got there early and just relaxed on the patio before people started arriving. So we head in and start mingling with the others. There was a Spanish theme to the evening: we'd be sampling wines from Spain all night and be given food to compliment the wine being served. I believe there was to be six different 'courses' served.

Champagne was served before the festivities were to begin so I grabbed a glass and started chatting with one of the hosts.

There didn't seem to be any air conditioning in this place. I was really feeling warm.

I was just wearing a button down shirt and was thinking to myself "how can this guy be wearing a sport coat in this heat?" After taking a couple sips of the bubbly, I started feeling really lightheaded.

I knew I needed to sit down but before I could head for a seat, the room started spinning on me.

That's when the lights went out.

I collapsed to the floor. My legs just went from under me. Down to my knees and then BAM! Head hits the floor.

Dave had tried to catch me but it happened so fast.

I was down and out on my face in a really weird position so the people around me turned me over to my back.

I almost immediately came to. Very surreal. I thought at first that I was in a dream. A buzz in the air. 20 heads in a circle peering down at me. "Epilepsy", one person said.

What the? Did I just have a seizure?

I was clear headed right away. "Ah shit" were the first words out of my mouth. Some nervous laughter from some of the party goers. "Don't move Matt", they would say, as some of the women ripped open my shirt and put napkins filled with ice on my body to cool me down.

"Can't I just sit up?" I asked.

"Paramedics are on the way!", shouted security, who had arrived in less than two minutes.

I could feel that I was cut on my forehead. "Did I fall on my head?" I asked. Dave was right there. "Yeah, you went down on your knees, then fell on your left shoulder and then your face hit the floor. How's your shoulder?"

"Feels fine" I replied. I had movement everywhere AND JUST WANTED TO SIT UP.

Paramedics arrived about three minutes later. The main paramedic first applied an ice pack to my head then went to work, asking me all of the generic questions (what's your name, where are you, what day is it, what's your birthday, how many fingers am I holding up) to see if I was concussed. No problems there thankfully.

He then started checking my spine and doing feeling tests to see if I had pain anywhere. No problems there. The only thing I had to fess up about was a tingling sensation in my fingers of both hands.

They had cleared the room at this point. "Is this all sweat?" he asked as he looked at me. "No. Someone put ice on my chest", I replied. "It is really hot in here." he confirmed.

"Okay, we're going to take you in Matthew. We're going to put this brace on you as a precaution." So I was fitted with a neckbrace and strapped to a gurney for the first time in my life.

Damn was it uncomfortable.

Dave was still there answering some questions from another paramedic. "Can we take him through another door?", he asked. "It might be a bit embarrassing to go through all of those people."

"Sorry sir. That's the only door that's big enough for the stretcher to go through."

Man. I was embarrassed, sure. But only because these people still had a party to enjoy and here I was ruining the night for people.

So I was stretchered out of the restaurant and past the patio where everyone had been taken to. "Be well Matt!", someone shouted.

"I'm alright!", I exclaimed. "Everyone have a good time!"

With that, I was put in the ambulance and whisked away to Huntsville General Hospital. There, I answered the nurses questions and sat for another 10 minutes strapped to the gurney.

I'm just dying to get out of this thing and rest my head on a pillow. I've got tape across my head that's of course right across my cut and my head is feeling extremely uncomfortable being strapped to this board.

The doctor arrives and after doing some movement and feeling tests, he says "we can get you out of this thing now."

Geez. About time!

So they freed me from the gurney and had me sit up in the bed. Dave was able to keep me company in the room while they went through some more tests (heart rate checks, blood pressure). They also gave me a cardiogram to check my heart out.

"Are you an athlete?", the doctor asked.

"Well, I play a lot of sports but I don't know if I necessarily qualify as an athlete!"

He laughs. "Well, your blood pressure and heart rate are perfect." he said, allowing me to breathe a sigh of relief. "Cardiogram looks great too. I just want to keep you under observation for awhile, keep checking your blood pressure every so often. You should be home in no time."

"It was just slight dehydration coupled with the heat that caused you to pass out." He also talked of some 'sympathy' complex that might have also added to things. He likened this to watching someone getting a needle and you 'feeling their pain, feeling faint'.

"When you noticed the chap in the sport coat in the really hot room, YOU started feeling hot and that's what caused you to start feeling lightheaded."

I thought he was just telling me what I wanted to hear but he confirmed that this does actually happen all the time. Interesting.

I drank about five apple juices and the tingling sensation in my fingers subsided. My blood pressure was checked in 10 minute intervals it seemed. After about an hour and a half, the nurse came up to me and asked how I felt. After telling her I felt fine, she said I could take off.

Dave drove us back to the resort and I was able to check the vanity mirror to see my 'rug burn' on the forehead. It didn't look too bad.

It was now about 10:30pm, three hours after the incident. I wanted to head back to the restaurant and poke my head in to tell everyone I was fine. Dave wasn't really for it but relented. There was one guy on the patio when we arrived. "How are you doing? You alright?" he asked.

"Yeah. I just wanted to swing by to let everyone know I'm okay."

"Go on in!" he said.

So I step in the door. "He's back!", someone screams out. And then everyone starts clapping. Funny. I give a couple bows to more applause. The Deerhurst staff swarm to me. "Would you like some food sir? We saved some meat for you." Haha. LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT!!

Just kidding...it was pretty funny though.

I shook a couple hands and went through the doctor's diagnosis to about 15 people. It was still really hot in the room so Dave was begging me to leave. After a few more handshakes, we were off.

I ended up hitting the bed right away, pretty exhausted. My legs were really stiff, like I had run a marathon or something. I woke up with the alarm clock at 6am but wasn't up for breakfast. Dave came back around 6:30am and I told him I was still too tired for the morning meetings. I think he was worried about leaving me alone so he called the girl who runs things for the meetings to have her cancel everything for the rest of the day for our company.

I ended up going back to sleep until about 9:30am then got up, showered, and checked out of the resort. Dave drove us back home in my car, getting back to Niagara Falls in a little over 3 hours. I ended up hitting my bed right away and slept for another 6 hours.

Still exhausted, I decided that I'd probably take Thursday off to recouperate, which brings us to today.

The mark on my forehead is actually WORSE now than it was on Tuesday night. It looks as if someone took a hot iron and pushed it against my head for a second. I guess I can be thankful that my head hit a carpeted floor as opposed to a hardwood floor. I likely would have suffered a concussion had that happened. Either way, the 'rug burn' will go away eventually.

My legs are back to normal as I write this and I feel pretty darned refreshed after a great night's sleep. I'll be back at work tomorrow and will likely spend half the day fielding calls from concerned suppliers and talking to co-workers about the interesting night in Huntsville.

Looking forward to it!

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