Blog: Hungry For Nothin' Cuz I'm Sick For Free
(originally written 9/25/10)
This is a discursive, but tactful, narrative about an illness I was overcome by Wednesday night—from which I didn’t fully recover until early Friday morning. During its’ worst moments, I began to wonder if I’d actually caught a major illness, like cancer or pregnancy or something. People have suffered and are suffering a lot worse than I—trust me, I get that—yet I feel the need to share my experiences.
It is somewhat cathartic to know my pain may bring others joy.
It often does when I’m hit by a softball, anyway.
Hopefully it will now…
All is well. I am putting together a train set for Josie in the hopes of uncovering something, anything, that will distract her for longer than 30 seconds. After some initial complications, I finally get the contraption to operate. Josie gets home at 19:30 p.m., and is afraid of the train. But at least she’s afraid for longer than 30 seconds.
Without any warning, I am suddenly…not right. I’ve got tummy discomfort, and a trip to the john does nothing to help. My ex has slaved over a hot stove preparing what I’m sure is a tasty supper, but I have less motivation to eat than JaMarcus Russell does to succeed. Before long, I’m bedridden.
No sign of improvement. Tummy hurts, I’m lightheaded, and nausea is beginning to set in. For a second I think I’m just in love again. Then I realize that’s been the case for weeks now and I had none of these symptoms. I think back to my last meal: A Whopper from Burger King in San Leandro at 5pm, followed by an Activia peach yogurt. The Whopper had been purchased around noon, but was refrigerated within 90 minutes. Could the yogurt have been expired? I thought yes, but it’s not October 2nd, 2010 yet, not even in Japan! What happened?
By now it’s clear something is wrong wrong. I’m lying in bed, but I can’t lie still—too long in any position and either my front or my back will hurt. Whatever is in my tummy is sending very clear messages to my head: “I want out. NOW.” Before long I’m forced to oblige.
BBBLLLLLAAAAAAACCCCCHHHHIIIIIIIOOOOO! If the upstairs neighbors hadn’t vacated already, that tortured howl would have driven them away. Who’d want to live above BigFoot, they’d ration, cuz that’s who I sounded like.
I actually felt better after that heave and the ensuing round of sweating. My body must have somehow sensed this and sent another “special delivery” back up my pipes an hour later. This hurl was kind of fun, I have to admit. A lot more violent, no doubt. I assumed the position, braced myself, and began the familiar convulsions. There was quite a strong recoil this time, and it sent me bouncing off the bathroom wall and against the cool side of our bathtub—which felt great against my sweaty person.
Shoot, this hurl was almost as fun as the Logger Run I rode at Great America a couple of weeks ago…and I didn’t even have to wait in line!
By now, the ex is worn out, and I’m practically useless. Josie doesn’t care about any of this. Josie WILL NOT sleep, despite having been awake for over four hours (she usually naps every three or so). I had no choice but to suck it up, take her from her crib and attempt to tire her out in the living room because her mom had a 4:30 shift coming up. Though all I was doing was supervising Josie scurry back and forth across the room in her walker, I was regressing fast, and had to return to bed faster than hoped. She resisted loudly, but somehow a warm bottle of milk put her down for the count around 1:00. This ended up being a good thing, as I’ll explain momentarily.
Soon after, I finally drifted off myself.
I awaken, not only feeling no less terrible, but now I have an awful, greasy feeling in my throat. It soon graduates into pure flaming heartburn. The ex, bless her heart—we may not be a union any longer, but we still care about each other deeply, as she proved by running down to 7-11 at 4 a.m. to purchase embarrassingly overpriced gas medicine just so I can find a modicum of relief (which is all I get). Even though it barely helps, I am grateful that she cared enough to even try. I soon return to sleep.
I awaken again, still feeling like crap. My friend Ryan sends me a text regarding my status for the upcoming water balloon/kickball/BBQ celebration on Saturday. If only he knew the condition I was in right now. I didn’t have the strength to HOLD a water balloon. I felt like a kickball. And the thought of eating anything ever again made me literally retch. That makes three times, for those of you scoring at home.
Due to work in the p.m. tonight, I realize that for the rare time, I’m going to have to actually call in sick because I’m sick. It’s the first time I’ve done so at this job, and they seem to believe me. I considered heaving over the phone to support my claim but ultimately decide against it. That still leaves the small matter of…
…Josie, who wakes up nice and late because she stayed up nice and late. Which saved my butt because, knowing there was no way I could care for my child until she got off work at 15:00, her mom tried valiantly to reach our emergency sitters—which took until 10:00. If Josie had risen at 8:00 like usual, all I could have done for her was listen.
Operating solely on backup generators, I packed Josie’s bag, dressed her, and sent her on her way—then collapsed on the bed as if Dick Cheney had shot me. I’ve played baseball doubleheaders in 90+ degree heat that didn’t leave me as spent as packing that diaper bag did this morning.
Back under the covers, it is time to get re-acquainted with my old friends, Mr. Bed and Mr. TV.
Just after hearing on the news how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is 26 and worth almost $7 billion—and briefly wanting to punt him into Saturn’s rings—it took about five tries to post a blog I’d written on Wednesday; the site was having major difficulty with a flow of error messages. I couldn’t help thinking “Zuckerberg, why don’t you take a few of those Benjamins you probably sleep on top of and invest in a competent staff???” If only envy cured illness.
People keep texting me. I’m trying to sleep. I’m never this popular when I’m awake and healthy. Ignoring the texts do nothing but prompt…calls. I don’t want to talk right now, mostly because I’m afraid that if I open my mouth, more than just words will spill out. To make matters worse, yesterday was laundry day; I feel absolutely filthy but I’m out of clean clothes. Pig Pen from Peanuts would probably pinch his nose if he passed by me. If there were ever a time to dress in drag, this was it. But I fought the urge to wear the ex's clean undies, instead rinsing out a couple of my own 1800’s style.
Still achy, still sick, still with no appetite whatsoever and another heave on my resume, I flip on my one can’t-miss show, One Life To Live. A good escape from reality is exactly what the doctor ordered. A couple of friends who are aware of my malady phone me up, and even though I REALLY don’t feel like talking, I am grateful that they care.
No. I DON’T want to do this. I DON’T WANT to get sucked in again. Years ago I made the mistake of not changing the channel after OLTL and I ended up not missing a General Hospital episode for three years. And this is before DVR’s were commonplace! (I finally broke the curse when they killed off all the Quartermaines and replaced them with a talking nerd.)
As grateful as I am to that show for leading me to my friend Tammy and what has been a seven-year friendship and counting, I’m afraid I’ll like what I see and get sucked in again. In case you didn’t hear the first time, I DO NOT WANT TO GET SUCKED IN AGAIN.
But I want to reach for the remote even less so I watch. Until I can’t take any more of old/new Lucky’s disgraceful Irish accent and finally change channels.
No real change in my condition, except one: I seem to be even fatter. Only I can go 22 hours without solid food, heave four times during that period, and somehow gain weight. Well, I always hear that unique is the way to be. I flip on this new show on KGO called 7 Live, in which a “panel” brings up hot topics and all but orders viewers to Facebook/Twitter/email commentary every 30 seconds or so.
One of the topics they discuss is high-speed police pursuits—should they be done away with? A viewer commented “If they’re chasing somebody who’s committed a violent crime, then yes, go after them. But don’t put the public at risk chasing somebody over a bag of weed.” That actually made me laugh. But since laughing hurt, it ended up pissing me off. Stupid TV…
I decide I need to eat something to regain my strength, which now measures tenuously at bullet-wounded goldfish level. Del Monte mandarin oranges decorate the fridge door. I can taste the juice. But I can’t get the stupid seal off. I’m…just…too…weak. When I finally do rip it off, I’m treated with an orange juice bath. Just when you think you’ve had your last one…
The fruit IS consumed, and does stay down. Furthermore, I now possess a…charming…musk, a hybrid of unshowered ill adult male stank and sweet, sweet mandarin orange. One whiff, and you’ll be…confused.
Once again, time to powder my nose. I also wanted to collect a glass of water and a book from the living room before collapsing back into bed for the next four months. Had it all mapped out in my head so I’d have no other reason to get up for the rest of the day unless PG&E ignored leaky pipe warnings in Santa Clara County, too.
Business was finished in the can…and so was I. The—how do I say without being too graphic—steps one takes upon finishing business in the can DRAINED me. I didn’t have the energy to make my rounds! Did. Not. Had to collapse back onto the bed for 10 minutes of recharging before pouring a cup of agua and grabbing a libro. If I wasn’t before, I was now officially embarrassed. Maybe I shoulda just drank from the tub faucet and read the toothpaste box to avoid having to get up again…
Thursday, 18:00 and 19:00
Jeopardy! and Cash Cab are two great trivia shows that can either make you feel really smart or really dumb. I’ve had my share of each feeling. Today, doped up and not entirely focused, would be a dastardly dumb day. It’s not that I didn’t know the answers. I just didn’t know them fast enough! Or any of the categories. Or what I was saying. For example, one Jeopardy! category was words that started and ended with “T”. The clue: another word for pill. The correct answer was obviously “tablet”. Out of my mouth came “tit”. Maybe the male mind is thinking about sex every seven seconds.
(For the record, it didn’t help that on BOTH programs, practically every clue made reference to an Egyptian word, god, nursery rhyme, something. Between those shows and my recent Scrabble game with my friends, I’ve really heard ENOUGH about stupid Egypt! Not counting The Bangles, of course.)
Josie defied all probability and zonked out for the night at this time, at least two hours before she usually even considers such a selfless act! There has never been another time when both her parents needed rest more, and bless my daughter’s heart, she did us a REAL solid. Her mom follows her minutes later, and by 21:00, I’m off to see Sandman myself…
I come to, still not convinced Josie actually slept through the night so early. The TV, which we left on, shows a news story about Katy Perry exposing too much cleavage in a recent Sesame Street filming, and that her segment would not be allowed to air. Of course, news needs high ratings too, and they show the segment practically in its’ entirety with Katy’s “girls” front-and-center. Typical.
The ex leaves for work, and I seem to have recovered enough to function. I’m not achy anymore, and while my tummy growls incessantly, it’s probably due to hunger rather than illness. I’m still fairly weak, but all I need to do is take care of Josie, not pass-rush the Dallas Cowboys. I see promos for four movies that look appealing—Catfish, Social Network, You Again and the Gordon Gecko one with Michael Douglas whose title I didn’t catch. These are the first thoughts I’ve had in over 30 hours in which I was still alive at week’s end.
Friday, 5:00 (Conclusion)
Time to see if I’m fully recovered, or if this is just a mirage. I rise to my feet, with no knee-jerk instinct to collapse back down. Hands? At my side, neither on my tummy. I’m walking upright, not waddling. Nausea? None. Lightheadedness? None. Hunger? SOME. Finally, 33 hours after it was prepared, I get to taste Wednesday night's (indeed tasty) supper.
I’ll tell you: it was worth the wait.
Hope you liked my story. Though I’m not sure exactly what was wrong with me, I’ll try to catch it again someday and have an even BETTER story!