Thursday, December 29, 2005

Down and Dirty

There is nothing like a bout of stomach flu to reduce an otherwise confident adult into a sniffling child who wants her mommie. If you have a weak stomach or are eating right now, please skip this post.

Yesterday started out much like any other, with the jarring exception of me waking up at 3am having to go potty. You know, #2. Not a big deal, really. Got up, did the dirty duty, and went back to bed. Not ten minutes later, major #2 emergency sensations send me running back to the bathroom. Hmmm. I begin to ponder my previous day's meals. Five minutes later, I am still on the toilet, and feeling that special, shivery-cold far-away feeling I get right before I faint. I immediately call for back-up. I mean, who wants to pass out on the toilet at the same time as they're going #2??
"[Blue's name omitted for privacy]!!!"
Blue: "Uh?!" He wakes up groggily. I make piteous noises.
"I'm in the bathroom, and I feel faint." My hero rushes into the bathroom, holds my hand, and lets me lean against his tummy. By the way, if anyone ever doubted, I love the tummy. The tummy is MINE.
Anyways, Blue says comforting words and brings me cold water to drink and a damp cloth for my forehead. I continue to sit on the toilet and have diarrhea for another 30 minutes. This, I think, feels so awful. But then it's over, and we go back to bed, until the alarm goes off, which is not very much later. We discuss my work schedule for the day and decide 2 immodiums and toughing it out are my best options. I have unavoidable obligations at work, I say. So off I go. At work, I have three more miserable visits to the toilet before I discover, around 9am, that my unavoidable obligations are actually Thursday, not Wednesday. I promptly let my supervisor know I would like to go home, and he gladly sends me that direction. Except Blue's car is in the shop, and he has an off-site meeting that afternoon. So he needs my car. So I call and leave a message on his voice mail that I'm on my way, and head to the library. When I get there, as I knew he would be because he told me about it [good boy!] Blue was doing meet-and-greet duty with some volunteers. Only he wasn't quite done when he thought he would be, so I needed to wait for him a bit longer. But my gut said nooooo. Back to the bathroom I go. More diarrhea. I am beyond suspicion of my recent meals and have concluded I must have the stomach flu that's been going around my office. When I finish with that, I go back to the lobby. Still no Blue. I sit and wait. And fidget. And feel cold and shivery again. And get a nauseous feeling in my tummy. I have not vomited in years, I tell myself. I never vomit. I hate vomiting. There is no way I could possibly be about to vomit in the library. I wait. The feeling grows stronger. It is superceded by the time-to-go diarrhea feeling. I head for the bathroom. Enter the stall. The handicap one, since it's available, even though you're supposed to leave it open for possible handicapped people who happen by, I use it anyway cause it has more room. Which turned out to be my saving grace. Because when you're sitting on the toilet emitting diarrhea and suddenly begin to vomit, there's no where to put it. You're already on the toilet. I look around in desperation. No regular trash can, that would be too merciful. There is only a wall-mounted sanitary napkin trash bin with a tiny paper bag in it. I am desperate, what else can I do? So I grab the bag out of the sanitary napkin bin. And oh yes, it is not empty either. And I puke in it. If only that were the end of the story it would be bad enough. But no. The sanitary napkin bag is not big enough for my stomach contents. It quickly fills and I have no choice but to drop it and continue puking all over the floor next to the toilet. By now I am crying. I am humiliated, disgusted, and the sickest I have been in all my memory. My stomach muscles ache from the rigors of wretching. My hands shake so much I can barely manage to clean both ends of me and make my way to the sinks to wash. Then there is the walk of shame. I have to walk to the circulation desk and confess that I've been sick on the bathroom floor, request clean-up assistance, and humbly ask that my husband be paged to the front so I can finally leave. Then I return to the scene of the crime and try to put down some paper towels, but the mess is beyond my ability to tidy up. I have to leave it for the janitorial staff. I feel guilty as well as sick. At last, Blue rescues me and quickly walks me outside. I cry again, tell him what I did, he says it's okay and leads me to the car. Then my hero drives me home, takes me upstairs, helps me to bed, brings me ice water, a back-up glass of ice, the cordless phone, and a book. Lays down with me until I calm down and become sleepy. Promises, at my request, to apologize to the poor janitor who had to clean up my awful mess. Says he'll bring them doughnuts the next day. And heads back to work. I spend the entire rest of the day either in bed or on the toilet. I call my mommie, and tell her my horrible adventure. She comforts me, and wishes she were closer, as I do. I think no matter how old I am I will always wish for my mommie when I am sick. Mercifully, that public display of affliction was the only time I vomited yesterday, but the diarrhea was bad enough on its own. I did not eat again until supper time, when I sampled some lightly buttered toast, and on keeping that down, fixed myself a grilled cheese sandwich with chicken soup for dinner. And when I woke up this morning, I felt fine. It truly was only a 24-hour bug, but those 24 hours sure were bad! Today I am a humbler, and more grateful person, to say the least.