Stomach Bug: An Essay

I wrote this last week, but didn’t post it because I didn’t really know if I wanted to share it. But then I realized there’s been a superb lack of fearless creativeness lately, and this is real life and real me and real everything. So here it is. 

It’s been 5 hours and I still haven’t managed to eat the Sonic cheeseburger Jimmie so thoughtfully brought me for dinner. I managed the tater tots, though. And half a can of ginger ale. That’s something.

I’ve been sick for 5 days now, and I’m starting to seriously contemplate posting everything that pops into my head as a Facebook status update. I’m lonely and bored and miserable. Jimmie’s here and the dogs are here, so I shouldn’t be lonely, but that’s what happens when you spend 5 days sleeping and sort of working and surfing Facebook and Instagram every 20 minutes in the hope that something new and exciting has appeared. Mostly, it hasn’t.

I suppose this is some stomach bug or possibly something gross in some food I ate – though what, I have no idea. Jimmie isn’t sick, so of course my mind is going to the worst case scenario. I’ve got Crohn’s, or Stomach Cancer, or Appendicitis, or the Heartland Virus. None of these the doctor mentioned, but that doesn’t mean they’re not possibilities.

And then I read that the Nexium I’ve taken faithfully for years (along with its companions Prilosec and Prevacid, also former friends of mine) is linked to a 15 to 20 percent increase in heart attack risk. Not cause and effect, mind you, so there could be other things in play – and likely are – but needless to say, my inner hypochondriac is having a nice night.

I’ve lost 5 pounds, by the way. Almost 6. The burger and tots are all I’ve eaten today besides a squishy few pieces of cauliflower that kind of creeped me out because they looked like brains. Have you ever noticed that? Cauliflower looks like brains. No? Look closely next time. It does.

Sorry if I just ruined cauliflower for you.

I’m on my 5th book in 4 days, and I’m starting to get bored with reading. It’s not that they’ve been bad books – well, ok, two of them were kind of dull, and one was SUPREMELY fucked up (more on that later), but I’m just tired of reading words across a page. And imagining people who are not sick or who are sick but in a different way and who can eat without feeling like their abdomen is going to explode.

One of those books was a book on essays. Here I am now, writing my own essay. Is that pretentious?

I’m a baby when I’m sick. We knew that, but I’ve discovered I’m an even more annoying sort of baby when the illness goes on for more than 3 days. And when I can’t do anything to stop it, or even find relief from it. Psychologists would no doubt say it’s because I don’t like not being in control. Or that being sick makes me vulnerable, and I don’t want to be vulnerable. Probably they’re right.

I have no idea where I’m going with this. But it’s been a while since we’ve been honest here, hasn’t it?

I had a meltdown last night. Just couldn’t take it. Sobbed so hard the dogs freaked out. Luka has been a champ, by the way. Hasn’t left my side. Super nurse dog, he is.

Jimmie’s been a champ too, consoling me when he clearly doesn’t want to come near me for fear of catching this if it’s viral. Holding my hand so I can fall asleep. Coming home during his lunch hour to check on me. Doing everything around the house because all I can do is lie in my own sweat and moan.

I took a shower today. I didn’t wash my hair, but I did get it wet so at least it looks less gross. That was another win.

I’ve been taking every day as a series of tiny victories – realizing the things I take for granted every single day. Like being able to shower without passing out or falling down. Like having the energy to feed the dogs or empty the dishwasher. Eating.

The doctor wasn’t terribly concerned, so I’m trying not to be either. Truth is, I am getting better day by day….and I’ll survive.