I came down with a pre-Passover plague that almost smote me. It began in my lungs with a ferocious cough, then, before traveling to my nose, gave me a vicious bout of stomach flu. It settled in my ears, then gave me vertigo, and ultimately, last Saturday, landed me in an ambulance and in the hospital for about four days. The worst part was that Richard told me there were six paramedics* in the house and I was so sick that I couldn’t open my eyes and didn’t get to see even one of them.
Vertigo makes you dizzy. Really dizzy. I couldn’t lift my head off the floor, or the bed, or wherever I happened to find myself.
I couldn’t talk on the phone. I couldn’t talk to anyone face-to-face for more than about five seconds without feeling nauseated. Nurses who wore even scented deodorant sent the room spinning, let alone my doctor’s cologne. I never noticed before how much of it he wears, or maybe, he always wears that much but I noticed it more because my senses were being overly-sensitive, like they were when I was pregnant.
When I was pregnant, I couldn’t even stand the scent of my own husband, and he usually smells really good to me. But, because I spent most of each of my two pregnancies “Yawning in Technicolor,” “Booting,” “Racing to Talk to Ralph on the Big White Phone,” ”Blowing my Doughnuts,” “Driving the Porcelain Bus,” “Laughing at the Carpet,” and a host of other euphemisms I learned from reading an ancient article by William Safire**, his scent made me want to hurl.
I was finally allowed to come home yesterday, even though I was anxious because I feared I wouldn’t be able to function. Thanks to a medication called Antivert, lots of fluids, and a family who is watching my every move, I am doing much better. Richard set me up like a queen in our bedroom with a cooler full of Jello, ginger ale, applesauce, and ice. He also left me crackers and other easily digestible sustenance, and a babysitting schedule so that at least one child would be home with me at all times before he left for work. I am happy to say I am much improved, and hoping to keep getting better.
Writing is making me focus and sit up, and that is helping to reconnect my body to the earth in an upright fashion. I have never been as aware of my feet as I am today. I am walking barefoot on purpose, so, much like a monkey’s prehensile tail, I can grasp the ground with my toes. Another monkey-like thing I have been doing, which has also proved extremely helpful, is burping. While researching monkey behavior for this post, I found out that the Angolan black and white Colobus monkey has a four-chambered stomach, and burping is regarded as a friendly gesture. Let’s just say I am being very friendly right now.
And one more simian-related thing: when I came home from the hospital, I looked like a monkey, and I smelled like one, too.
The medication Antivert is aptly named. Most aren’t and leave you wondering why they’re in your medicine cabinet in the first place. I think it is very nice of the people who make Antivert to have given it such an easily distinguishable name because when the room is spinning, and what goes down must come up, it’s nice to know you can find the medicine you need. The only other product I can think of at the moment that has a name as helpful as Antivert is Afro-Sheen.
A few funny things:
After a couple of days of laying in a fetal position at the hospital, I decided to try to watch television to see if it might help me regain normal vision. The first channel I clicked onto was airing racecar driving. I wonder if any NASCAR drivers are sponsored by Pepto-Bismol.
When I got home yesterday, I woke up from a nap and immediately put my glasses on, forgetting I had already put in my contacts. Don’t try this at home. Or anywhere.
Why oh why would today be the day that the Google logo reads “Topeka?” Oh, yeah. That grand old tradition of April Fools Day. Really, people, don’t do shit like that to me today. I’m having a hard enough time getting to the bathroom. If Google is calling itself “Topeka,” does that mean The Onion is reporting real news today?
I am happy to announce that I can now walk almost as well as Tommy Pickles from the cartoon Rugrats. I am not wearing a diaper, as he does – yet.
I have to say that it’s nice to feel more normal. Well, anyone who knows me knows I am not normal, but I mean normal for me. When I first got sick, I couldn’t imagine feeling as well as I do today, which isn’t very well, but well enough.
I am enjoying sitting outside in the shade on this most fabu of 80 degree, sunny days in Chicago, listening to the flocks of birds visiting our bird feeder.
But, there’s that one female Cardinal who I can hear repeatedly knocking her head into our living room window as she has been for the past few weeks. Richard asked me why she keeps doing that. I told him that I didn’t know, but if I had to guess, I’d say that either she has vertigo or is pregnant. “Oh,” he said, “That explains it.”
* In my experience, and unfortunately I’ve had several, paramedics are always cute.
** I wrote to William Safire in 1992 to tell him how much I enjoyed that article and he wrote me back!!