Tuesday afternoon at Pat's Cafe, I'm having lunch, eating a perfectly delicious meal of roasted vegetable sandwich (eggplant, portabella, zucchini) and garlic-cilantro-lime french fries. Everything is fine. Nothing I ate raised a red flag. But a couple of hours later, I start to feel somewhat queasy. So I decide not to go for a swim and instead hit the bus a little earlier than usual.
The instant I get on the bus, I smell steak, which grosses me out further. A few stops later, someone saturated with the olfactory pleasures of cigars and men's cologne sits next to me. When he gets up twenty minutes later, someone else wearing way too much floral perfume takes the seat next to me. I'm more scent-sensitive than a three-months pregnant woman with morning sickness and hotter than a cat in heat. I get off the bus a stop early, thinking I'd rather barf on the sidewalk than inside the bus on myself and others.
I don't puke, but when I get to my apartment, I open all the windows and flop onto the couch. I alternate between too hot and too cold before WJE3 stops by to say hi. I'm a horrible hostess; the place is a mess because I unwisely decided to put off cleaning it after I returned from Austin, and I can hardly move, talk, or listen. Once I get the dry heaves, I send him on his way.
Heaven knows how long I lie sweating and shaking on the couch before PB (who serendipitously lives two blocks away) sends me a text. I think I respond along the lines of "PLZ HALP," so he brings over some Walgreen's brand stomach-soothing pink liquid. I take some immediately and five minutes later, sweat through my clothes and quite literally lose my lunch as I had been dying to do since about 3 p.m. into the handy red bucket I keep around for such incidents. Every muscle in my body tries to aid me in eliminating the offending fibrous purply-pink stomach contents. I retch until I can retch no more, and then I experience the chills again. Once that's over, I start to think that maybe I'm in the clear. Cue three more cycles of Pepto-fever-vomit-freeze in the next hour and a half or so, and nothing is left in my stomach, so we call my health insurance's 24-hour nurse line. The nice lady asks me what happened and whether I suspect heart attack or stroke and quizzes me on my symptoms. She politely tells me to get to the emergency room or an "urgent care" facility. I babble at her about not knowing what an urgent care facility is, but she gives me a reference number to call back with anyway once I've decided on a course of treatment.
At this point, I honestly think it would be less hassle for everyone if I just die in my apartment than if I try to get to the emergency room, so I just get naked, curl into the fetal position, and sleep fitfully until the next morning.
It feels like the worst hangover ever. Also, my muscles hurt from clenching while throwing up, and my throat hurts from being the exit point. Naturally I don't go into the office; I sleep for about four more hours, wake up, and do some work from home. I eat a piece of toast and drink some orange juice and water, thinking I am on the upswing. An hour or two later, I crap my pants.
Although I am able to shower and get last night's vomit out of my hair, my well-being steadily declines throughout the afternoon. PB is a doll and brings over jello, Gatorade, tea, and saltines. I keep thinking I'm going to have another accident because my intestines are rumbling all night.
Today I have eaten jello, rice, and bean soup, all of which nauseated me and caused my stomach to make more weird noises, but at least I can get out of bed and go out of sight of a toilet. I don't know if I'll ever be back to normal.
Really, Mother Nature? Are you trying to show me what being old is like? Are you asking me to reduce consumption by making me unable to ever eat real food again? Are you punishing me for no reason? Are you punishing me for something I did, like maybe when in third grade I littered that apple core with the sticker still on it or that time in college when I didn't pay extra to recycle or all those times I forgot to bring my reusable grocery bag to the store (I recycle the paper bags, damn it!) or when I used hairspray in an aerosol can? I'M SORRY, OKAY? Earth is a grudge-holding b*tch.
I haven't plotted my revenge against the Earth yet, but it will involve elements of the following:
- opening the windows with the air conditioner blasting
- buying a McDonald's Happy Meal and throwing the whole thing out into the woods
- bringing a six-pack of PBR to a party where everyone is smoking and tossing the plastic rings into the ocean without cutting them first
- choosing plastic over paper
- purchasing a Chevy Tahoe
- leaving the bathroom faucet running all day
- having fifteen kids
Any more ideas? I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse, Earth.