I’m not feeling well today, so I’m home sick when I’m scheduled to work. It was especially important that I come in today in order to qualify for my holiday pay for Christmas. Company policy dictates that an employee must work his/her scheduled shifts before and after the holiday to qualify for holiday pay. I’m pretty sure this is standard for most companies. Anyway, my manager was pretty cool about it and just moved my “scheduled” day to tomorrow and considers today a “scheduled day off.” What a guy.
I can’t be sure when I got sick. I’m guessing it was around Christmas, since one of my nieces had a cold and was dribbling snot all over the place. I didn’t actually feel the effects, however, until Saturday night when I went to my parents’ place to housesit. That house has the worst insulation for any structure in the history of structures. The only reason it has doors and windows is to keep people and bugs out. Otherwise, the night chill is more than welcome to seep on in. So by the time I get there, the temperature is probably in the high 50’s indoors.
I popped on a movie (We Own the Night) while I munched on Taco Bell. I was shivering so much that my back was spasming. I chalked it up to the ungodly cold, but by the time I was dragging myself upstairs to go to sleep, I felt the internal chill that doesn’t come from being cold. Even after I piled on two comforters, the chill persisted, especially in my feet. After about two hours of tossing and turning, I finally passed out. I awoke two hours later, body temperature at a familiar level. My body tends to get warm when I sleep. The problem was that I felt like there was some kind of solid mass lodged in my abdomen. Obviously, it was the Taco Bell, but it felt wrong, like it wasn’t being digested. I thought for a moment that I had gone to bed too soon and that my horizontal orientation was keeping my digestive track from functioning properly. I propped some pillows up on the headboard and tried sleeping sitting up. No good. While I didn’t feel the familiar pangs of vomiting, I knew that that would be the final outcome.
So I decided to get it over with. I rolled out of bed and stumbled through the dark in a half-conscious state to the toilet. As soon as I got down on my knees and propped my elbows on the seat, the saliva started building up in the back of my molars. Then came the first tiniest stomach convulsion. Finally, the first full heave erupted, squeezing partially digested Taco Bell out through my throat. I had to shut my eyes because the toilet water was splashing back into my face, such was the force of my vomit. After the first wave, I nearly passed out. I remember darkness and the sensation of rocking left, then back, then right. If I hadn’t subconsciously remembered that I was mere inches above the yawning opening of a toilet filled with my putrid filth, I might have pitched forward, face first, and you’d be reading one of those oddball headlines on MSN or Yahoo! about how “Man vomits in toilet then drowns in it.” Fortunately, I fought my back to consciousness and prepared for the next heave.
For the longest time, I never found the vomiting in movies to be realistic. People were always coughing while they vomited. I’d never done that. It was always heave then ho and the stuff just came out in a steady stream. In fact, that first round just a second ago lasted a good five seconds. That doesn’t seem long, but imagine vomit coming out of your mouth for that same period of time and it’ll seem like an eternity. That’s probably why I nearly passed out: lack of oxygen. Anyway, movie-vomiting and coughing was never believable to me. Until Saturday night. The second heave needed a little help. It needed a little cough and my body was apparently happy to oblige. Soon enough, I had another chunky stream coming out of my mouth. Grains of Spanish rice got stuck between my teeth and I had to fish them out with my tongue.
After a few minutes of spitting, I flushed, went to the sink to rinse my mouth and checked my temperature. 101.2-degrees F. Not the worst I’ve had, but serious enough to lay me low. While I haven’t been vomiting lately, the food I’ve been eating has not been exiting my body in an encouraging manner. With that said, I may not be returning to work tomorrow either.