It’s curious to consider what your mind focuses on when you are severely ill and flitting between the conscious and subconscious worlds.
For me, it was an old skate boarding video that my brother would frequently watch. He had a favorite part which humored him endlessly; it was a brief vignette of one of the featured skateboarders eating breakfast. The cameraman asked the skater what he was eating, and the eater replied, his mouth full of food, “ham and eggs.” At that my brother would burst into a wild fit of laughter. Laughing is contagious and though I didn’t find the clip intrinsically funny, I often found myself chuckling along with him.
Like our VCR that played that video again and again, so too my mind, as if stuck in some infinite cycle, has looped that old video for my review since early this morning, when it all began.
I’m ahead of myself, no?
As is sometimes the case, I arrived home at 6:30am Wednesday morning after a long night of troubleshooting my company’s software release. I crashed into bed and slept for an hour or two before my phone began ringing; there were problems with the release which required my attention. Half of an hour later, fires extinguished, I surveyed my situation. I was really, really tired, but sadly, once awakened, I cannot fall back to sleep. I laid in bed, silently fuming over my predicament. There I was, robbed of precious rest with the looming reality of my marketing class that evening I had yet to prepare for. Somehow I needed to get up, study and drive to school. I walked into the kitchen and drew open the refrigerator door and peered inside. Nothing. I was long overdue for a food shopping trip.
hungry. tired. irritated.
Can this living nightmare get any worse? Astute reader, I was soon to discover that the answer to this question is an unequivocal yes.
I shuffled back to my room, took a brief shower and then set about reading my class textbook.
4:30pm came quickly. I piled my books and laptop into my carrying bag, tossed it over my shoulder and headed out to my car. A few minutes later I was cruising down Foothill Blvd when I spotted a Top-Stop convenience station. I pulled into the parking lot and headed into the store. I grabbed two bottles of soda and made my way to the register when I spotted a variety of wrapped lunch food in a small side-cooler. I fumbled through the selection before choosing a ham and cheese sandwich. I would later severely regret that decision.
7pm. I eat my sandwich in class
10pm. Class lets out, I head home and upon arrival, quickly fall asleep
1am. Awake suddenly. Something is not right. Stomach experiencing knife-like pains. I stumble in the bathroom and vomit four times into the toilet. Sitting against the wall, I wonder what could be wrong. My roommate who is still up playing World of Warcraft peeks into my room and asks if I’m ok.
I walk into the living room and collapse on the Love Sac. For the next ten minutes I watch a bit of the History Channel. Still feeling a bit uneasy, but hopeful that the vomiting episode was only a brief stomach upset, I returned to my room and lay back down to sleep.
3am. I wake up again. Another dash to the bathroom. Another string of body tensing vomiting episodes. I decide to go to Smiths grocery store and pick up some Pepto-Bismol. I drink a cup or two of the pink stuff and again try to catch some sleep. But from that time forward, sleep would not come to me for many, many hours. The Pepto-Bismol did stop my vomiting temporarily but only at the expense of a new aliment: trips to the bathroom. For the next 15 hours I would have upwards of thirty diarrheal episodes.
7am. In addition to visiting the bathroom, I’m now experiencing massive stomach cramps, hot sweats, the chills, a pounding headache and full body soreness. I call my parents for advice. They seem concerned.
9am. Vomit six more times
3pm. Dad comes over to house and brings me Gatorade which seems to help somewhat.
5pm. Mom comes over to check on me. With all the water I’ve lost, I’m beginning to become delusional and no doubt my conversation with her is filled with confusing rambling. Charlotte stops by at 5:30
9pm. Mom and Dad come over. My condition has grown ever worse. They drive me to the emergency room at St. Marks Hospital where I am admitted and treated for massive dehydration and stomach pain. Two liters of intravenous saline, several morphine drips and an anti-nausea injection later, my condition at last begins to stabilize.
1am. Twenty-four hours later, I am again in bed, but this time I am soundly asleep.