April 16th, 2008


My last 24 hours: Sick. Very sick. High. Sleepy. Better.

It's usually a good sign that your day is about to go to shit, literally, when stomach cramps wake you at a quarter 'til five in the morning. I can't ever remember having a really great day that started with an unscheduled trip to the bathroom. I'm sure it's possible... just not likely.

So, to give you perspective, yesterday started with two unscheduled trips to the bathroom before my first alarm even thought about sounding. I was not a happy camper. Under normal circumstances, I would have popped a couple of Imodiums and called in sick to work. However, we were having a big meeting at the firehouse about a new station we're building. Whether the folks at the firehouse knew it or not, there was no way they could do without my input. I climbed into the shower convinced that I was going to continue my day as planned.

More than once in my short life, I've been moved to exhibit stubbornness of legendary proportions. I planned to do such yesterday, but there are some things you can't fight. Fighting City Hall? It's possible. I've done it. Fighting bodily functions? Well, that's a much harder task. After taking another unscheduled and less-than desirable poop, I put on my uniform and headed out the door.

By the time I made it to work, I kept drifting back and forth between feeling better and feeling worse. Like a top that's making it's last few wobbly spins, I didn't know how or where I was going to land. I skipped out of our morning truck checks to catch a quick nap before the meeting. Once the meeting started, I started feeling worse by the second.

All morning, I'd chalked my illness up to some bad IHOP that I'd eaten late the night before. I figured that I'd poop out all of the evilness and go about with my life. Even though I felt pretty queasy all morning, I didn't consider vomiting. After all, I hadn't puked due to actual illness (alcohol doesn't count) since my teens -- maybe longer. Well, kids, that streak came to an end.

As I walked away from the meeting, I knew something wasn't right. I made my way down the hall to the bathroom and started to feel the tingle in the muscles of the jaw. It's as though the body sends signals alerting the mouth that it's about to experience a reverse flow. I felt the tingle in my jaw long before I felt the rumble in my stomach. But soon enough, the rumbling was there. And, soon enough, I was on my knees... briefly thinking about all of those fireman asses that sit on that toilet bowl... and then I was puking brains out. Once. Twice. Three times. Four times. Violently. My chest hurt and the veins in my head felt like they were going to explode. Vomiting has to be the absolute worse thing your body can do to you.

If vomiting is the worse thing you can experience, the feeling of happiness that you feel when it's done has to be one of the best. What a sense of relief it is to know that you're free of whatever was pissing off your gut. I grabbed a Sprite out of the fridge, returned to the meeting and announced my newfound feeling of health.

Unfortunately, the feeling of health wasn't to last. Before long, I was back in the bathroom -- first to poop and then to puke again (with enough time in between to relieve any fears of butt/mouth contamination). My body was on strike and nothing was going to be allowed to cross the picket lines. After round two of the puking, I knew I was a quitter. While still on my knees, I pulled out my cell phone and called the paramedic on duty. ME: "What are you doing?" HER: "Cooking lunch, what are you doing?" ME: "Puking." I told her I was headed her way and I was going to need some drugs. I couldn't take another round.

She offered me a shot of phenergan in the ass, but when I told her what had been coming out of that ass all morning, we both agreed that an IV might be the better route. I'd always heard that phenergan could make a person drowsy... but I found out yesterday that it makes you drunk, too. As she was pushing the drug, I could feel it burning my veins. Within minutes, I felt its affects on the rest of my body. I remember her looking me straight in the eye and asking if I was okay. I told her I was... but I was lying. I was drunk. Instantly. Loopy, I tell you.

That one dose of phenergan might as well have been 10 beers. I stumbled down the steps of the ambulance station. I fell asleep on the two-minute ride back to the firehouse. I mumbled things that didn't make sense. As much as I knew the things I was saying didn't make sense, I didn't have enough control to stop myself from speaking. Fortunately, my wife came to pick me up so I didn't have to be drunk at work. I almost fell down on my way to the parking lot and then, standing right in front of her car, I asked her where she'd parked. I slept the 20 or so minutes home. When we got to the house, I grabbed some underwear and a towel as though I was going to take a shower. Only when Jessie called for me from the bedroom did I realize the crazy of what I was doing. I wisely crawled into bed. I slept from around lunch yesterday until 10 last night and then again from midnight until six this morning.

Today, I hope that I'm on the road to recovery. My body is still not happy, but I've only had a few saltines and a banana to eat since Monday night. And, when you consider that what I ate Monday night was all puked out, my body hasn't processed a meal in 48 hours. So, I can understand if all systems aren't exactly online yet. I plan to ease back into normalcy this afternoon. Cross your fingers for me. On the plus side of this all, I have lost three pounds.