In sickness and in more sickness
At the end of March I decided that the last week of that month and the first fifteen days of the next would be my big push to get a lot of writing projects done, because as I’ve noted here, I have quite a few. I suppose at the time I should have acknowledged what an invitation that would be to the universe to fuck everything up. I have certainly learned my lesson on that score.
The first round of disruptions was due to weather. After the climatologists assured us this year would be a mild winter, we have had record snow and record cold temperatures. I’ve lost track of how many days Anna has been off school this year; I think we’re well over five now, and for an entirely urban district, this is a huge number of days. We’ve had at least double that many late starts and early outs, and several of them (and one more of the no-school-at-all days) fell into that last week of January. I can work with Anna home, but it’s not the same as eight hours of total house silence and focus. It cut into my goal.
But I soon learned this was nothing compared to Anna home because she was sick. Last week she started complaining of a stomachache, and though she went to school like a trooper, she was home before noon. By mid-afternoon she was bent over the toilet and returned to that position several more times that day. The following day was, of course, recovery. She rallied for the weekend, though, only to fall sick again on Sunday late, and after staying home again Monday got sent home from school on Tuesday. But she was good enough to go on Wednesday.
Which was when I picked up the baton.
I was supposed to substitute teach. It was a complicated assignment where I’d been requested personally, and I’d gone largely out of affection for the students and teachers of that school. But when I woke at 3:30 that morning feeling like something a dog had crapped out, I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to be able to make it even on a stretcher. By seven I’d called in, and at eight I was so bad that Dan had to come home from work to take Anna to school. I slept most of the morning, then rallied a bit at noon enough to go to the store, get a few sickie comforts, and pick Anna up. That outing wiped me out so bad that I had to go back to bed as soon as I was in the door. I slept there until ten minutes before Dan got home. But he hadn’t even been able to come upstairs and say hello before I was in the bathroom, and then the party really began.
I do not do vomiting well. Nobody does it gracefully, but I really, really don’t. Once I start, I don’t stop. When I was a kid, it was almost always twelve hours before the retching ceased–I’d kick out everything, then just heave for a long, long time after. There’s a magic moment where I actually improve if I eat a tiny bit of something, but it’s hard to find, and I always fear starting too early, so I tend to wait. But this was my first time being this sick with my body weirdness, and I have to tell you, it completely kicked my ass. I mean, I was sobbing. I couldn’t walk, I could barely stand, and I kept saying to Dan, "I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this." And he, God bless him, kept telling me I could, and kept cleaning up after me, and kept bringing me clean clothes and doing my laundry, all while reassuring Anna because I was really freaking scary sick. He got tough, too, when I wouldn’t eat, and told me it was that or I went to the ER. I almost chose the ER, but I was so tired I didn’t know how I’d get to the car. So I tried a cracker, thinking if it came back up I’d end up in the hospital anyway, so at least this was worth a shot. I tried it. It stayed down.
But for added fun, in addition to being horribly sick, I have fucked up my body like nobody’s business—again. To start, I threw out my lower back. By six PM yesterday I couldn’t stand upright and could barely carry my tray to have supper with Dan at work. A trip to the chiropractor fixed that, thank God. But today the joy is of my upper body, specifically my neck, shoulders, and arms. Every muscle in that area feels like someone has poured cement within it, but they don’t respond to muscle relaxants because I’m special that way. Dan gave me an intense massage there last night, which helped some, but this morning I’m still fighting it. Some of it is pain from being horribly abused in all that retching. But some of it was something I’d been fighting pre-sick, and now it’s just awful. It’s not chiro-fixable either, because he’s tried. So today, if I can figure out how to get Anna’s horse lesson rescheduled or get her there early, I’ll do some reiki, which has helped before.
Needless to say, I am not getting much done. I got part of a required synopsis written yesterday and a scene for TTT drafted, but that’s about it. I did send in the revision of Double Blind, and now that’s in editing. Oh, and I sold Miles. I should give it more of a party post, but I’m too tired. I am very happy about it, because I still think it’s a weird story, but I was told that I kept the submissions editor up two hours past her bedtime with it, so that’s a good sign. Lately it seems if I think the story is very strange, it’s almost guaranteed to be one that people love. Not sure how I got there, but okay.
So today is lots and lots of heat wraps, Vicodin, and working like hell to get in to that energy therapy appointment at four. It’s also, unfortunately, canceling on the lunch date with a friend I really, really want to go have, but the thought of getting dressed and going to Panera is just too much. Except it sounds really yummy. Maybe if I move very slowly….
The good news is that Anna is due to go to my mom’s for the weekend, and Dan and I could get a lot done, including just being with each other. Of course, this assumes that Dan doesn’t get the plague as well.
What I can tell you is that someone who will clean up the toilet and the floor after you throw up so hard you empty not just the contents of your stomach but your bladder as well is someone to be cherished beyond what words or actions can convey. Usually Dan and I take a pass for Valentine’s Day because we’re out of money, but this year we’d decided we’d do a "small gesture" because it had been awhile since we’d marked the holiday. As far as I’m concerned, Dan is covered. Anybody who will do what he did for me in the past twenty four hours has more than proved his love. Because even as sick as I was, I could tell he wasn’t caring out of duty. That was love, the kind you can’t put in a box of chocolates.
Love you too, baby. I hope someday I can show you that kind of devotion right back. I just hope you don’t have to feel as rotten as I did while it happens.