Welcome fall! Your crisp breezes, your football games, and your goddamn germs.
Last Wednesday started the cycle– sore throat, stuffy nose, general malaise. I love that word “malaise.” It sounds luxuriously exotic. “Why it’s worse than being tired. It’s complete malaise.”
But I digress.
Bill, being the good soul he is, encouraged me to take Thursday off. When I refused, he mentioned Friday.
Now I know this sounds weird. Why not take a day off? Because when you take a day off from teaching it’s like asking for a week’s worth more of work. And no one wants that. And I really thought it would be a regular ole cold that would be over and done with and on its merry way to infect someone else.
But I was wrong. So wrong.
Distracting me from my illness was that Kathleen got super sick the next week. Sore throat, fever, and so tired even she had malaise. Well, no virus is going to fuck with my baby so Monday afternoon we were in urgent care for a strep test. It was negative.
And urgent care can suck. Either you get a decent person who has opened a medical text within the last 12 years or you get someone with a lab coat that looks like it hasn’t been washed in those same 12 years.
By Wednesday she was still bad so she went to her real doctor and even though it wasn’t strep, gave her some meds due to the unrelenting fever.
Now through all of this, my cold moved into my chest bringing a smoker’s cough that would put the Marlboro man to shame. I was already off Friday and just wanted to make it through Thursday.
But then it hit.
First hour I held it together. By second hour I was freezing and could not get warm. My entire body revolted and was on fire with pain. I left work with the heat on full blast and made an appointment for myself.
I almost crawled into the house and took the hottest shower I could stand. I had to make it until 3:15 when my appointment was.
I wasn’t wearing a clown costume, but I’m pretty sure I scared everyone there. I looked and felt like death and people carved a wide path around me. When my name was finally called I was nauseous.
The poor assistant was trying to chit chat and ignore the fact that I carried a scythe while I searched for the nearest trash can. Finally, in the office, my stomach relented.
This poor nurse assistant kept up her chatter while taking my blood pressure as I was puking and retching into the garbage can. I answered her questions between heaves.
When the doctor came in my only words were, “I’m so sorry. Please help me!” He could have told me he was Jesus sent to save me and I wouldn’t have questioned it.
Diagnosis? Bacterial chest infection plus flu.
Armed with Tamiflu, antibiotics and pain relief/ sedatives I collapsed in bed. The fever caused one more trip to the porcelain god, but I paid my penance and simply slept.
These last couple of weeks have taught me a lot of lessons.
1. I have a point where I don’t give a shit about anything– even puking in public. I hope I never get there again.
2. Drugs are good. Very good.
3. I know I’m feeling better when I can’t stand Christina’s voice anymore on Flip or Flop.
4. Saltines are only good when you’re inches from death. A foot away and they taste like crap.
5. Cable TV should invent a sick channel where puppies and kittens play together all day long. With some fox cubs and bunnies to mix it up.
But the biggest lesson is that fall and spring in Michigan just fucking suck. All the viruses and germs seem to hold all of their conventions here and they bring their kids and families and make a vacation of it. My fall half marathon is now ruined. My ability to enjoy this last week of warmth is shattered. And I couldn’t see my boy run 70 yards for a touchdown.
So drench yourself in essential oils, encase yourself in garlic or chomp on zinc tablets. Do whatever you have to do to stay healthy out there.
Cuz being sick sucks.