Tuesday, December 9, 2003


The worst thing about being sick is that you can't enjoy lying in bed all day, there is no zest in watching idiotic daytime television for hours on end, and your brain — much less your body — won't let you do anything even remotely productive with all that time on your hands.

I've had a stomach flu for the last couple of days, which was inaugurated by the first vomiting I've done since I quit drinking eight and a half years ago (I'd quite forgotten how nasty it is) and was followed by rather extreme diarrhea. No fever, thank God, those are too debilitating to consider, and the aches and pains were fairly minimal; but my brain has been sluggish, to say the least, and it's been difficult to keep myself nourished and hydrated.

Reading has been impossible, it made my eyes hurt, so novels were out of the question, and all I could do on the computer was download my daily barrage of spam... now enlivened with ads for the Paris Hilton video containing the most amazingly inventive subject lines along with all the usual penis enlargements, mortgage reductions, online prescription drugs, and pleas from the shift-key-addicted relatives of deposed African despots to help them launder their ill-gotten money.

So for the last two days, I have been alternating between lying in bed watching videos and lying on the sofa watching television, punctuated with unpleasant episodes of running to the bathroom with my buttcheeks clenched together (an excellent exercise, but uncomfortable) so as to shit gallons of green water into the toilet instead of into my pajamas.

To make matters worse, Grandmother came down with the same flu, so I've had to take care of her instead of her taking care of me. Not that I let her take care of me, I'd never ask her to fetch and carry for me, but it's nice when someone brings you tea or broth when you're sick. But since I'm the stronger of us, it wasn't too hard to bring her some tea or broth or a boiled egg and toast or a fresh column of soda-crackers when I was getting my own. More of a detour than a separate chore.

On the plus side, it's the only time I can imagine not being bored by sitting still watching television and doing nothing useful or entertaining. I was too ill to feel guilty about missing work, to ill to care about my laundry, too ill to think about how badly I need a manicure. Laying very still, and shitting green water, were quite enough to occupy me.

Now I'm feeling ever so much better, but I don't dare go in to work. For one, I don't trust that the shitting-green-water thing is completely done with, and I don't want to have an episode while I'm driving to the office (that would certainly take care of the new car smell); and considering the speed at which Grandmother contracted my flu, later the same day (and I know she caught it from me rather than the other way 'round because she always shows symptoms faster than I do), argues that this bug is quite virulently contagious. My guilt at leaving my coworkers at the mercy of the telephones all day is relieved by not giving them this really quite unpleasant virus.

But writing just this much has given me a headache. I guess I'm not as well as I thought I was... though, oddly enough, Grandmother is up and about and feeling all better. Ah, well, maybe I just need some more rest, I was getting pretty run down before this virus hit me. The Long, Hot Summer just started on AMC, I think I might just go revel in the young Paul Newman for a while... though probably with the sound off since an hour and a half of cracker accents might just get on my nerves.

In the meantime, I hope you are having a pleasant day, either in bed or out.

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