Sometimes You Have To Go To The Emergency Room To Find Your Favorite Lipstick

Late last summer, my company declared bankruptcy.

I should say it wasn’t my company that I owned, but it was the one that employed me at the time, and although I had no control over how the company’s money was spent, I had been for a period of time responsible for bringing money into the company, and I was feeling a little bit sensitive about the whole thing, especially since I wasn’t sure that I would still have a job by the time everything shook out.

(Spoiler alert: I wouldn’t.)

A bankruptcy, I can now say with the world-weary voice of experience, is a very stressful thing for everyone involved. My own situation was complicated by the fact that I was working remotely, thousands of miles away. The upside of this was that I missed out on tense days in the office and ax-grinders taking victory laps on local talk radio. The drawback was that in addition to the opacity and uncertainty being experienced across the company, my major projects were essentially suspended and I had to wait to hear everything secondhand.

Still, I was employed and my paycheck kept showing up, so I got up every morning and did… whatever it seemed like I should do, I guess? One day I drove to Kenosha and had lunch with a vendor from Chicago, a get-together we’d planned before things started to fall apart. She was very gracious about the not-inconsiderable sum of money my company owed hers. In fact, she picked up the tab. Other than that… mostly I just opened up my laptop every day and stared at my email, waiting for something to happen.

One day, I got the kids out the door with their nanny, got myself dressed and ready to go, and got out my bike helmet, although I was still on the fence about whether I wanted to ride to my coworking space — I felt like I might have a migraine coming on.

Right after I put on my lipstick, I collapsed on the bathroom floor.

I mean, I guess I shouldn’t say “collapsed.” That implies a level of speed that isn’t accurate in this situation. It was more like I was slowly drawn to the floor as a sudden wave of intense nausea and dizziness washed over me. It was disturbing enough that I called Seth, in tears, and insisted that he come home because I couldn’t stand up. He did, and he called 911 for good measure, and I managed to haul myself down to the lobby of our apartment building, where I cried with mostly embarrassment as I was quizzed about the day of the week by a Milwaukee Fire Department engine crew.

We decided I was well enough to go back upstairs, which I did. And then the dizziness came back. I read just enough Reader’s Digest at my grandparents’ house as a kid that all I kept thinking about was that the story about what I was going through would start “She thought it was just a particularly strong migraine and brushed it off…” and end “…leaving behind two small children.” So we called 911 again, and this time I crawled into the hallway to meet a pair of paramedics who walk/dragged me out to a waiting ambulance. In which I vomited.

I want to be 100 percent clear here that there was absolutely nothing funny about this situation in the moment, but in retrospect, I am cracked up by the idea of me, in my “Rosé All Day” t-shirt and hot pink liquid lipstick, puking on a paramedic who’s trying to ask what hospital I want to go to in a new city where I have no idea what hospital I’d prefer, and worrying all the time that this is the day I’m going to either die or lose my job.

Also, I now know which hospital I’ll request if I’m ever in this situation again, now that I know that’s information I should keep handy.

The rest of the day was, I believe, long. I’m not 100 percent sure, though, because I was not really coherent for most of it. There were periods of time when I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t hear well due to the ringing in one of my ears. I puked a lot more. I was unable to walk unassisted. I had a CT scan, I’m pretty sure, although I kept my eyes closed because I was freaked out by the whole idea.

Every time a new health care provider walked into the room, they’d ask if I’d been under any stress lately.

“Well,” Seth would reply, “her company just went bankrupt.”

“Yeah, that sounds pretty stressful,” they’d say.

In the end, there was nothing they could really do for me in the ER, so they sent me home. My vertigo was so bad that I had to stay in bed for a week and I couldn’t sit in the large main room of our apartment because the echo off the high ceilings and concrete floors made my ears ring. I had to get an MRI to make sure I didn’t have a brain tumor (just a few months after my mentor of nearly 20 years died from a brain tumor, so yeah, there was a little bit of baggage there), I had to go to an audiologist and sit in a room and get my hearing tested multiple times (which mostly just confirmed that I wasn’t insane, I had experienced hearing loss, and fortunately, it has now been restored and I can say with absolute medical certainty that I have excellent hearing, knowledge I would gladly have forgone if it meant skipping this entire experience), and I couldn’t drive or take care of my children, so my mom came from Alaska to do both of those things for me.

Although I think some of my records probably posit that I had an anxiety attack, every quantifiable test ended up being inconclusive, and as it turns out, sometimes you can just be completely debilitated by vertigo and tinnitus for a length of time for no known reason and then go back to normal. In case you didn’t have enough hypothetical things to be worried about.

Here, though, is the key takeaway and the reason I’m telling you this story.

When I got home from the hospital that day, unable to walk on my own, hear out of one ear, or focus my eyes clearly enough to play Candy Crush, I looked in the mirror. The one thing I could see?

My lipstick.

Still perfectly in place after a day of weeping, vomiting, sweating, wrapping up in blankets, and crawling along various stretches of floor.

So if you are in the market for a bright pink longwear lip color that truly will. not. let. you. down, allow me to recommend Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick in Oh My Dolly.

And I dare you to find any other blogger who has put it to a more rigorous test.

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