I’ve been sick and injured many times in my life as of yet. None of it too serious, and all made for a good story down the road. But in recent times, nothing has been quite so, how to say it… life-changing, as the bout of flu a friend and I were cursed with…
My friend, who shall remain nameless, had it first. Her face was turning whiter by the second as I sat stirring a bowl of guac at a restaurant. From the outside, we appeared to be a couple of friends sitting down for a nice meal together. But something was just, ehhh… “off”… ya know? “I’ll be right back”, she said. She folded her napkin, and politely and quietly pushed her chair back and made her way to the bathroom.
What I saw when I was able to enter the bathroom twenty minutes later was something between an explosive scene from ‘The Exorcist’ and the saddest, most desperate-looking pair of eyes I’ve ever seen. She had extending arms between the toilet and the door:
“OHMYGAWD HELLLLLP. I NEED HELP. SOMEONE HELP.”
Poor thing. It was obvious that I had a ticking bomb on my hands, so I thought it best to get her out of there quickly.
We walked out of the restaurant on that sunny day. Again, from the outside, it looked like a rather pleasant afternoon with some friends strolling down the street. But the reality of our conversation:
“I do believe,” she said affirmatively, “…I have shat myself.”
Inquisitively: “Do I smell?”
Me: “Come now dear, I’ll take you home.”
The next day I was out with some colleagues celebrating an exciting turn of events. I was staring at my drink, but I just didn’t want it. I don’t know… something just felt ehhh…”off”..
My eyes popped open at 3am.
And in that moment, one is forced to make a seemingly complex decision about which end, in fact, takes priority, when both ends feel the simultaneous urge to sneeze, and sneeze violently. Which they did. Simultaneously. And violently. And just… simultaneously. There’s no stopping it. It Was. So. Violent.
My insides hurt. And this didn’t stop for hours. I managed to make it back to bed sometime late into the evening, no fluids left to pour out of my body. Some kind souls, bless their hearts, brought over Gatorade that night. My eyelids, half shut/half open for an entire day now, burst open at the thought of anything, literally anything, going down instead of up. I summoned the energy to unscrew the bottle, and my anemic tongue made it’s way, quivering, to the rim, and I was ever so lucky to get the tiniest, most bless-ed drop of sucrose there was. I was so grateful, and so exhausted, and so overwhelmed at the thought of nourishment that a single tear dribbled down my sunken-in cheek…
And it lasted for three minutes, after which I had to belly flop my way across the hall again, and hoist myself up long enough to vomit the aforementioned droplet which I had consumed. I was like a bulimic mermaid, but from Hell.
I found myself begging, praying even, into the toilet. “Please no more. Pretty please no more. My eyes will burst. I just can’t-… ”
Never has there been anything more destructive…more…unfortunate. This coming from a Dengue fever survivor. So as you head into the new year, may you be grateful for every day this has not happened to you.