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THE ATTACK

30 June 2010

Slurred speech, that was the thing that really frightened me.

When I had a small attack of hyperventilation on Monday, it started out with spots before my eyes, but quickly after involved me desperately wanting to say words and those words coming out as garbage. For someone who makes a living stringing words together into coherent thoughts conveying a message, that is about the scariest thing. I had the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack still ringing in my head from the day before and I will spare you the travesty that my mouth made out of the evergreen lyrics ‘When You're Caught Within The Grip Of The Evil Unicron’ when I tried to test my newfound speaking disability. Indeed, these words were Transformed, as it were. Transformed into poop.

Classic symptoms of hyperventilation also include a sense of tingling and numbness in the arms, lips and tongue. But since I didn’t know that -and neither did anyone around me in the office- in my mind these might also be the precursor to a mild tingling and numbness in my lungs, or mild deadness in my brain. It was about the time that I felt my tongue slipping away from my nervous system that I starting panicking a little and insisted that someone Please Call A Goddamn Doctor, Please.

Ironically, when I tried saying that it came out as ‘When you're caught within the grip of the evil Unicron’. Go figure.

OK, that last bit was a lie. The doctor informed me that I was suffering from hyperventilation, which to me seemed ridiculous because at no point had I been doing that whole stress-breathing that one usually associates with a case of hyperventilation. But apparently, that’s not the only thing that does it: as long as there’s a deficiency of carbon dioxide in your blood you have a good chance of orally raping Transformers: The Movie lyrics. Now I also know where all those greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are coming from. The mystery is solved, people: they’re from my blood and I need them back before I get to ‘Dare To Be Stupid’!

After my colleagues and friends at work, who had been champs at supporting me, let me go safely home, I crashed on my bed with a headache that dissipated after a couple of hours. Looking back on it now, I am none the wiser. What the hell had happened? I hadn’t eaten, drunk, moved or, to my knowledge, breathed any different than usual. Had this been just a fluke, the stars aligned for a one-in-a-million tipping point of events culminating in my lips tingling? Will I ever be able to watch Galvatron again without thinking about tingling lips?

As long as I don’t lose my ability to speak again, I’ll gladly accept that.

Roderick