It was a muggy morning. I had just finished getting a hair cut when I got a phone call from my daughter The Spare.
(For those of you just joining "The Gods Are Bored," we have two daughters: Heir and Spare. This is what the British press called Prince William and Prince Henry back when they were kids, and ... well, it works.)
Over the phone, Spare said, "Mom, I'm having a panic attack. It's only three days until I go to college!"
I told her to come up and meet me at Starbucks.
We live in Snobville, New Jersey, and like every other hamlet on the map, it has a Starbucks in the dead center of town. I've never liked the joint. It rarely wrenches ducats from my hands. But it was nearby, and I was pretty certain that Spare hadn't eaten anything, although it was almost noon.
Quick as a wink, here came Spare on her cruiser bicycle. She must have peddled like mad to get to the center of Snobville from the far side of the tracks. And when she sat down at an outside table with me, she was shaking and blinking. She said she felt sick. Then she closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, she said, "I can't see." She closed her eyes again, and when she opened them she said, "I can't see. I can't hear either."
Next thing I knew, she was sliding out of her chair as if her bones had turned to mush. She fainted in my arms. I laid her down on the sidewalk, center of town, and put my purse under her head.
Needless to say, this unusual drama attracted a lot of interest from the locals. One fellow went to fetch the paramedics from the fire house across the street. Another lady went into Starbucks and brought out a cup of ice water, with lid and straw. As Spare came around, another lady hovered, saying she was a nurse.
Spare was lucid again within about 20 seconds, and ten seconds later she remembered to be embarrassed. This was, after all, the square of her home town, and she was lying on the sidewalk with a purse under her head.
The paramedics arrived in the ambulance (from right across the street they had to come by truck). They got Spare seated again and took her vitals. Spare's dad came around the corner and was shocked to see the health care professionals surrounding his pale offspring.
No, Spare had eaten nothing that morning.
No, she had nothing to drink.
No, she had not taken her medication.
Yes, she was wearing a cardigan even though it was muggy.
Spare's blood pressure was a little bit low. We got her some orange juice and a bagel, and she drank both the juice and the water the lady had brought to her. The paramedics stayed for awhile and suggested that Spare go see a doctor, or go to the emergency room.
Spare and I sat in front of Starbucks for over an hour. She inhaled a bagel with cream cheese, an apple, and some grapes, which bucked her up considerably. Then her dad drove her home, while I, Anne Johnson, rode her bike. And it's true. You never forget how.
Long story short, I called the doctor, and we got an appointment. Our usual physician, Doctor Mushroom, was out of town. But he recently got shoved into a multi-doctor practice, so there was another doctor in the office.
We went there. Another set of vitals was obtained, and yet another just in case, because Spare's blood pressure was still low.
I'm sure I've written before about my dear Doctor Mushroom, so named because he would rather rub moss over you than prescribe some fancy drug. (His predecessor used pendulums, so it's all good.) Lo and behold, the lady doctor in this multi-doctor unit is rather of the same mindset. It's refreshing.
Upon ascertaining that Spare's blood pressure was still a little low, this estimable physician did not inundate us with blue prescription slips. She gave sound medical advice. She told Spare to eat something salty. Like potato chips.
There you have it, my dear readers. Under certain circumstances, the very best thing you can do for your health is to eat potato chips. Don't let anyone tell you to take those vitamins! Potato chips are the go-to cure for low blood pressure.
If you're not sure whether your blood pressure is low or not, my advice would be to eat potato chips just to be on the safe side.
And yes, Spare is fine now. She had a hamburger and a milk shake with her potato chips, ensuring she'll live to be 100.