Saturday, June 22, 2019

Death Sick, Hydration Inflation, I Have a Secret

On Father's Day, I went to see my family and have lunch and drive out to look at his newly-installed headstone. I was extremely anxious about this for visit for days and was a blithering mess the entire time I was there. (Sorry, family.) I cut my thumb that morning making Special Lunch for Mr. Typist, and the wound kept re-opening and bleeding all day, which I think is an apt metaphor. It was really hard, and I started feeling very sick on the way back. Nonetheless, I went to work as per usual on Monday morning and was invited to go walking with a co-worker, during which I began sweating profusely and wheezing. I continued dripping sweat and wheezing long after the walk, and I finally gave in and came home, at which time I began my rapid descent into Death Sick: Two and half full days of me lying on the couch, gasping for breath, hacking, coughing, dry-heaving, and other unpleasantries, including endless hours of terrible TV while I stared zombie-like at the screen, unable to sleep and praying for death. 

I writhed and faded in and out of consciousness and eventually sent Mr. Typist out to get medicine for me, which took an inordinate amount of time. I realized as I waited that he was probably hounding the pharmacists to death with detailed questions about the exact, correct product for my condition, and he was right to do so. I finally got some relief and some real, uninterrupted sleep, and I felt much better. Then I decided to get cocky and go into work the next day. Halfway through the morning, I started feeling sweaty, dizzy, and frighteningly disoriented. I was so scared I texted my boss, who is a nurse, and asked her if this would be an “appropriate” situation in which to go to the Emergency Department. (I’m hyper-sensitive about the misuse of emergency service resources.) She texted me back and told me to go, and offered to send the nursing supervisor to escort me. Of course in my confusion I was having none of that and was determined to walk over there myself. 

Fortunately, I made it there without passing out, but I was shaking so badly I almost couldn’t get my ID out of my wallet. One of my kindly volunteers brought me a wheelchair, and they wheeled me in, asked me a million questions, took blood and X-rays, and stuck an IV in me to give me some fluids as Mr. Typist hovered and held my hand and asked pointed questions of the staff. Once I had the fluids, I started feeling much better. The official diagnosis: A upper-respiratory virus and dehydration. Everyone was very nice, but it’s still a little humiliating to have people I work with and see around in the halls witness me dry-heaving, crying and worrying that I was going to die. Update: I’ve had a full bout of rest and I’m better today, but I’m not going to push it. 

Ironically, I was just recently grousing to Mr. Typist about how annoyed I am by the proliferation of these gianormous aluminum water bottles that have started cropping up everywhere at the gym. They are at least one-gallon bottles, chromatic, flashy monstrosities, and always covered in multiple decals akin to cars with too many bumper stickers. People carry them around like trophies and thunk them down showily in front of their weight machines before a set, but I’ve never seen anyone actually drinking from one. In my opinion, those water bottles are strictly for bragging purposes: “Oh, look at me, I go so hard I have to carry a gallon of water with me at all times or I could dehydrate, grunt, grunt, grunt.” I was grumbling to Mr. Typist about how no one needs to be that hydrated, but now I have to admit I kind of see their point. Dehydration is no joke, kiddos. Don’t be like me. Get your eight glasses in, and more if you’re sick. 

At one point in the middle of the night while I was in the throes of delirium, for a few seconds, I felt the distinct sensation of a warm hand on my left shoulder. I have had sleep paralyses a lot in the past, and normally an unexpected visitor would scare me, but this touch felt comforting and warm. I think I know who it was, but I can't tell you how I know it because that's a secret involving an innocent third party. Just know that there are many, many things beyond the veil that we can't see. Have faith, my friends.

Here’s a pretty and somewhat mournful song for no particular reason other than I like it.

-Kristen McHenry 

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