I spent a good portion of today feeling oddly patriotic, like I had joined the larger culture and put aside my hippie leanings. I bought medicines and foods that put me in line with a majority of Americans, although I had to go over the counter, not earning my rank for actual prescription strength just yet. I came home with a backpack full of non-whole grain cereals, instant microwaveable soups, and frozen PB&Js.
This morning, in a brief cognizant moment preparing to commute to work, I remember thinking, I better eat that Indian dish in the fridge for lunch today. It’s going to go bad soon. I packed it, a small bag of organic carrots, an organic apple… and headed for the door.
One of the morning’s other failures was I didn’t work out, but that’s because I stupidly tried to make my corporate laptop talk to my home networked hard drive, and ended up rendering it useless, so during my normal workout time, I was tethered to my desk waiting for my high priority trouble ticket to transform into someone from IT to arrive.
For whatever reason, I was oddly hungry today, eating the apple upon arrival, and the carrots before lunch. For lunch, I heated up my Indian spiced peas and mushrooms in the cafe microwave and joined my co-workers to eat. The dish had passed the sniff test at 6:30 in the morning, and once again gave no indication anything might be wrong. I often prepare dishes in bulk and eat them for the next week and a half or so, and can usually get away with it because there’s no decomposing animal flesh or liquids (congealed or otherwise) in it.
As you by now have surmised, something was wrong with something I ate. I have no insight into what exactly it was. You know how sometimes just thinking of a specific dish or ingredient after food poisoning makes you feel sick? I’m not getting that vibe off of anything. I can’t even point fingers with complete certainty. I tend to think “mushrooms,” but for all I know I got a rank bag of carrots grown downstream of the fecal river of an animal processing plant, who can say?
We ate at noon, and by 2 p.m., I had tried to make myself throw up several times in the company men’s room. I was under the impression this was an easy thing, just throw down a finger, no? I could get gagging just fine, but no payday. But no one’s ever accused me of being anorexic, if I am I’m wildly unsuccessful at it. Not to mention stopping and waiting for people to enter and leave so I could be the sole occupant of the room. Who ever knoew this many people brushed their teeth after lunch… and take so long doing it?
I kept looking at the time, and wondering if I could stick it out for a few more hours, and whether my symptoms would get better or worse. When they seemed to not get better, possibly helped along by my drinking orange juice to try and get myself sick enough to vomit (classy), I finally looked at the train times home. I figure I’d rather vomit on public transportation than in a packed, northbound employee bus. My other big thought was “Thank God I switched concerts, and my Police concert is now on Wednesday and not tonight, as originally booked,” although that was a pointless concern, since I wouldn’t have brought my lunch if I was seeing a concert that night, to lessen my backpack load at the show.
At around 2:20, I decided it wasn’t worth the money (I’ll make up the hours anyway) or discomfort to stay there, and I looked up train times. One was leaving shortly, and I had like 6 minutes to get to the light rail which would then take me to the SF-bound train. But my co-worker didn’t like the idea of my being sick and transferring trains on top of that, so he drove me to the train station. We barely made it in time, as the train pulled up the same time as we did, so I jumped on without paying. I figure I was dressed decently enough in business casual, so I was unlikely to be singled out for a ticket check (please, profiling is true), so unless they did the whole train, it was OK. And I figured I had a good story anyway, food poisoning and all, and I’m sure I was adequately pale and sweaty at this point to pull it off.
I tried to watch Sex & The City on my iPod, but I couldn’t be bothered. I thought it might be an appropriate time to listen to the Fleet Foxes new album I downloaded (legally), since they are described as mellow and pastoral, but even that was just blah. So, I just sat there, two seats away from the rest room, and counted down stop after stop, in what seemed like the longest train ride ever. Tried to throw up twice on the train, too, but no dice. Although, in hindsight, it’s good I didn’t since I was sort of standing and not right at the bowl (the squeamish may not want to read this whole blog… consider yourself warned).
I debate whether to bang off at Millbrae, and jump on BART, which according to the BART schedule on my iPod would only be a 6 minute wait and get me three blocks from home, unlike the train stop a good distance away. But, I figure, I’m already riding this for free, so if I grab a cab, I’m still ahead of the game money-wise and it’s curb service. And, if cabs are ever appropriate, I think this moment rises to the occasion even if I did pay to ride Caltrain.
I get off the train, jump in the first cab, and we’re headed home… I feel much worse than when I left work, and am pretty certain I’m going to best Lardass Hogan in the pie-eating contest as soon as I get home. After four blocks from my house, there’s a new bitter taste in my mouth, either gastric acid, bile, who can tell… and the sweat starts pouring off of me. I debate telling the cab I’ll get out there, figuring it’s where all the homeless sleep under the freeway anyway, and I’ve had to step over enough bodily fluids and such in my time, may as well contribute for a change. But I hold it together, although I seriously have my hand on the door handle, ready to open the door at any red light and unload (do they auto-lock the back doors in cabs? That could have been a bad scene if they do… vomiting on a cab door).
So, I get home, and realize my body just sent out its vomit signal and accompanying fluids and I suppressed them, so now I was on my own again, just with more acid in my esophagus than before. It was like that weight that goes up and down at carnivals when people hit the plunger below with a sledgehammer, trying to hit the bell at the top. It help going higher then lower, but I couldn’t get the bell to ring. And now that I was safely, albeit uncomfortably, home… I was more than happy to spew. Again, the finger down the throat just gagging me and gagging me, and some thick fluid and “particles” but still no show.
I decide I should probably drink water, because it will at least dilute the acid and, at best, it will give the stuff that wants out more volume to work with. It’s been four hours since I ate at this point, so I’m rather amazed my body has still not digested this stuff, it *really* didn’t want it to go through the rest of the system, I guess.
Within a few minutes of drinking two full glasses of water, there is a disturbance in the force. I head to the bathroom, hoping some big muscle queen is about to try his hand with the sledgehammer. And, to my luck, he is… and two big torrents of blech come out. I look to see if my body actually picked through it, and maybe there would be clearly all mushrooms or whatever the dodgy ingredient was, but no dice. Immediately, whatever fever I had goes away, and my body feels slightly better.
I shouldn’t be tired, but I still feel blah, so I try to force myself to nap, figuring it will lead to feeling even better when I wake up. When I sleep with the sweatshirt, I’m too hot; T-shirt, too cold; so Goldilocks went with no shirt, but my (fake) cashmere throw pulled over me.
I have no idea when I went to bed, but I wake up around 9 p.m. My first thought is, this will not be good for waking up for work tomorrow (although I work from home, so not as big a deal). My second thought, the more familiar one, is “I’m hungry.” (Although to be honest, how often am I really hungry? I never let things get that far… obviously)
I’m kind of suspicious of a lot of the food in the house, though. All of the healthy, whole-grainiess and spices of everything make me skittish, so I decide to walk up to Safeway and go get some supplies. Things that seem appropriate for my palate in its current state. Uncrustables (strawberry-filled PB&J sandwiches), because if I buy bread, peanut butter, and jelly, I’ll be eating that stuff long after I feel better and I’ve gained enough weight as it is, so 4 little Uncrustables is a much better option. Some soup. Some highly-processed, non-whole-grain, turns-to-mush-when-you-add-milk cereal. And a small watermelon. Applesauce, a usual staple for such a Safeway run, somehow eludes me at the time. Pity.
The cereal I bought is some Special K but a Cinnamon Pecan version, and I seem to recall cinnamon is a good digestive aid, so that seemed to be a good balance. Did they stop making Cinnamon Life? That was the intended purchase. I fill a bowl, douse it with non-fat vanilla soy milk and let it sit. No fiber, thanks, just mush is preferred.
After it sets for a while, I eat some cereal. Seems fine. It doesn’t take too long to realize that the cereal is not agreeing with whatever dormant acid pool had been festering. And we’re back where we were a few hours ago, with fingers throats gagging nothing. Learning from earlier, I hit the water again. (Skittish people, suffice it to say I’m feeling good now. You may not want to continue. You’ve been warned.)
I remember when I was younger, a term that is beginning to cover more and more ground anymore, I decided I could change my own oil to save money. We had the little ramps to drive the car onto, so I bought the right filter, oil, and went to work. I remember I put the drip pan directly under where you unscrew the filter or whatever else was under there, it’s been 13 years without a car now, so it’s becoming vaguer with time.
All I remember is my thought that the oil would be entirely vertical, so the pan was directly under what I was unscrewing and on the other side of the pan to catch the oil was my face. Of course, the oil completely overshot the pan, covered my face, and only then lost its velocity enough to use the pan.
Twenty plus years later, physics still eludes me and I decide that for round two, rather than kneeling down to be closer to the toilet, it’d be fine to just be over it. If you think about it, of course, the trajectory is coming up the throat, and banking off the upper palate, though, not just shooting out of where you happen to point your mouth. Of course, this sort of Monday morning quarterbacking is never difficult.
So, water plus Cinnamon Pecan Special K plus whatever acid and funkiness didn’t evacuate earlier start to indicate they’ve had enough and they are on their way out. I’m leaning but not kneeling over the toilet, with a wide stance to make Larry Craig proud and, as you may have surmised, almost nothing ends up in the bowl. Instead all of the vomit doesn’t project down as gravity might allow, because gravity is also impacted by velocity, so all of the fun shoots out of me, banks on my upper palate, redirects, and all shoots back at me. Onto my socks, the carpet, the floor, my legs… and seemingly goes for more of a wide horizontal coverage area that is wider than my widened stance, but less on the vertical axis. The top of the puddle, of course, being the very end of the toilet bowl. And, when you’re seriously vomiting, there is little chance to redirect, it’s sort of over before you can do anything about it.
So… I haven’t had anything else to eat after that. I’ve sort of lost my appetite at this point. So, there’s one plus. How was your day?