Tuesday, March 4, 2008

you never know when it might be you

Yesterday there was a sick passenger on the Metro that caused delays on the Blue and Orange Lines. My heart went out to that passenger and I hope he/she is ok now. Having been a sick Metro passenger myself before, I know the feeling.

It was the day after Christmas and I treated myself to a breakfast sandwich at the cafe in my building. Hardly anyone was in the office, but it was my last week at the old job so I needed to do some wrapping up. A short while later, my stomach was acting up. A little later after that, I ran to the bathroom and expelled my sandwich. Hmmm...clearly, my belly didn't like the sandwich. Regardless, I went back to work and tried not to think of my upset tummy.

An hour and several glasses of water later, I started to feel ill again. I ran to the bathroom and heaved some more. Ugh. This time I went back to the office a little bit weaker and way more thirsty.

Seeing as that it was the day after a holiday and the office was pretty slow, I decided to call it a day. I would rather get sick at home then continue to get sick at work. And I felt far more comfortable feeling absolutely dreadful at home (in a warm bed in comfy jammies) than at work. So I went home.

However, I was short on cash, what with the biggest shopping holiday barely behind us. Instead of taking a cab, I decided to take the Metro. Just a straight shot home on the Orange Line. I assumed that it would be a routine, uneventful ride.

Rush hour had just begun when I got on the train. By the time we passed Rosslyn, my stomach started feeling really, really bad. At Courthouse, I felt like I was going to get sick again. Frankly, I didn't think there was anything else in me to throw up. I prayed for the train to hurry. Right when the doors closed at Virginia Square, I knew I was going to vomit. The question was where. And my first thought after coming to this realization was, Oh no, please not on the train.

The last place I wanted to get sick was on the train, because then I would be that sick person that caused a delay on the Orange Line during evening rush hour. I would be the person that commuters silently curse in their heads just because I made their trips home difficult. And I don't blame them. I'd hate to be the reason why people took forever to get home, especially on a day that most people didn't want to go to work.

The train stopped at Ballston and I could feel It coming up my throat. Please just let me get to a Metro trash can, I prayed to no deity in particular. The train doors opened and I rushed out. I knew I was going to make it up the escalator with all of the people getting out of the train. I desperately looked for a trash can and couldn't find one beyond the crowd of commuters on the platform. It was coming. I could feel It. I tried swallowing to no avail.

Finally, I couldn't hold it any more. I got sick all over the platform.

I aimed for the tracks actually, but my projection wasn't so great. I walked up the escalators embarrassed. I told the station manager who was very sweet and said, "Don't worry, honey. We'll take care of it. Did you want to go to the bathroom and get cleaned up?" I had never been so grateful to a Metro employee.

The station manager gave me a couple of trash bags in case I needed to go again. I walked away completely mortified and still feeling really ill. I actually didn't fully recover for another week. That's a whole lotta soup and gatorade.

But hey, at least I didn't get sick on the train and cause a delay.

So the next time a sick passenger makes you late for work or dinner, just say a little prayer for them instead.

1 comment:

Mme. Meow said...

Oh sweetie... beautifully written. I'm so sorry for you or anyone who's ever been sick far away from home and gets to be that person.