There was a time in my life where throwing up was as common as taking out the trash. Actually, it was probably more common, but I have to say that I didn’t mind it as much. And at the time, that really didn’t seem like an issue. If you carry gum “in case you puke”, something could be wrong. If you’ve made peace with the fact that throwing up is a common part of your day, something’s definitely wrong. At least, it was for me. But that was a long, long time ago.
As far as I’m concerned these days, if your body decides that you have to throw up, I think it should be for two, or maybe three reasons: 1.) To teach the body’s owner that debauchery has a price, 2.) To make the person disgusting enough when passed out that no one wants to put their balls on them and take pictures, or 3.) Possibly to punish the person for spinning around and around in circles one too many times. That’s it. Vomiting should not come on randomly like it did to me this week.
It all started when we went to visit #1GF!’s sister this weekend. Because I was heavily involved with the semi-annual maintenance on their family PC, my inquisitive brain parts were busy forming questions starting with “How the fuck…”, while my fix-it brain parts were spending a fair amount of energy pushing the inquisitive parts out of the way, so it could get the PC fixed. With all the pushing and shoving in there, I failed to take better stock of the fact that #1GF!’s normally energetic sister had suddenly climbed under a mountain of blankets and was not the least bit interested in dinner. Although I am a wiz at diagnosing PC issues, I admit to being less than skilled when it comes to humans.
Let’s fast forward 24 hours or so when I started getting nauseous. Because I get migraines all the time, nausea creeps up on me enough that I don’t take much stock in it. I grab a coke and something bready and wait for it to pass. What I didn’t seem to notice this time was the lack of headache that one would normally expect to accompany a migraine. Like a child that can’t seem to get the attention of a dismissive parent, my body changed tactics and replaced the nausea with a very large temperature drop.
The fact that I was dressed in a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and under two blankets and a quilt did not alarm me at all, probably because, as I said, I am merely a human who troubleshoots computers. If I were a human that could troubleshoot other humans, I may have reacted differently, but I was so relieved by the repeal of the nausea that I simply amused myself by jolting #1GF! with my ice cold feet until she fell asleep.
After spending hours trying to distract myself from the minor waves of nausea and the lack of heat within my thermal cocoon, I finally started drifting off to sleep after a Valium-like dose of a late-night PBS special on the topic of the construction of the Alaskan pipeline. Because I had never been so cold inside the house without running out of heating oil, some small part of my brain must’ve finally started to worry. Just as I was drifting off, I was jarred awake by the thought, “If you fall asleep, you might die.”
“I’m fine,” I thought. “I’m just cold and nauseous.”
Then, I started churning, “I’ve never been this cold. What if I got bitten by a spider when I was cleaning out the PC yesterday? What if this is some sort of reaction? I could drift off and never wake up.”
“This is irrational,” I thought, and started drifting off again. Just as I touched sleep, I was again jarred awake by a skull on a black background in the center of my vision. And there I was, awake, irrationally nervous, nauseus, and freezing in the dark. I figured that even if I was being irrational, it couldn’t be good that I was still so cold. The only way that I could think of to get warmer was to hop in a hot shower. I snuck out of bed and made my way through the black hallway to the bathroom.
When I closed the door and flicked the light switch, the sudden burst of bright light burned my eyes, as waves of nausea washed over me. I turned the shower handle as hot as it would go, and while waiting for it to warm up, I weighed the pros and cons of throwing up in every single receptacle in the room, just in case I was presented with an opportunity to choose. As soon as I reached into the shower and my fingers touched the falling water, my choice was made for me.
I dropped to my knees and heaved. My body stiffened, and the force only made it to my chest. “Fuck,” I groaned, “Fuck.” And then I tightened again as if every cell was trying to pry itself away from me.
And I threw up like I hadn’t done in years. By then, #1GF! was at the door and trying to get in, and I was waving her off. Whatever was in me, it wanted it out, and I wasn’t going to let anything distract me from letting it go.
And I threw up again. And again. And then, for a minute, it all stopped.
Despite being baptized with an icy sweat, it was the best I had felt all day.
After I collected myself a little, I showered, changed clothes, and tried to go back to bed. My temperature started to normalize, and I thought relief was on the way. Unfortunately, by now we all know my record on human diagnostics. As soon as I warmed up, the nausea came back. The warmer I got, the worse I felt. I would eventually have to wait for #1GF! to fall asleep before returning to the cold linoleum floor of the bathroom where, using my sweatshirt as a pillow, I would see only flurries of sleep. My subconscious would only wake me up once wondering whether I was having a heart attack because one of my arms had gotten caught under me and gone numb.
There was a time that sleeping on the bathroom floor was common, but that was a long, long time ago. And even though I can see the holes of mortality have worn through the invincible armor of my youth, I can’t say that I’d trade a moment of where I am now to mend them.