Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The last time I wanted to vomit into a trash can, I was in college. That was my freshman year, 1976. I was living in Worchester House, a converted Navy barracks, on the south end of campus. My roommate, Richard, was a tall lanky fellow - at least a head taller than me. It was clear we were each strange cats, and had little in common.

I suspect it was early in the year that Richard suggested we go out drinking, as a way to bond. We walked to a bar about two blocks from our dorm. The Fallout Shelter was downstairs at a mini-strip mall. We drank pitchers of beer, all the law would allow.

We actually did use the trash cans that night. And maybe the next morning as well.

When I started feeling bad last Wednesday, I thought breakfast had not settled well. I had eaten at a greasy spoon, and it seemed possible the sausage had been too greasy. I still felt uneasy at lunch, but felt I should eat anyway. Something light - like a bowl of chili.

Not a great idea.

After lunch, I started feeling really bad. I felt bloated. I felt like I needed to use the restroom, but "nothing was delivered". I began to feel warmer than normal. I finally left a bit before 4 - just a half hour early.

Driving home was the greatest challenge. Every bump was amplified by the bile in my tummy.

By this point, opening the garage door did not seem an option (I have to open it manually). I parked in the drive, and ran in the house. I turned on the TV, intending to lay on the couch. I think I laid on the couch for about 10 minutes, then decided my bed was much more inviting.

I left the TV on. I left my dress shirt and pants on. I crawled under the comforter, loosened my belt, and prayed the increasing nausea would pass.

About two hours later, I felt the gorge rising. I wasn't sure I could make it to the bathroom, and grabbed my trashcan. I did not throw up at that time.

I did make it to the bathroom. That's when the diarrhea started. I started going to the bathroom about every two hours.

Thursday morning. I felt feverish. The diarrhea was on-going. No way I was going to work. I left a message on a co-worker's phone. Shortly after, I dashed to the restroom and knelt before the porcelain shrine.

It appeared that I hadn't really digested much of the chili I ate the day before.

During one of those frequent trips, I did use the trash can in the bathroom. I had lost the energy to kneel, and had laid down on the bathroom floor. The gorge started rising, and I just grabbed the bucket just in the nick of time.

Happily, I line my small trash cans with plastic grocery bags.

Now, I don't generally let myself off the hook very easily. My goal is to go to work every day. I figured once my stomach pumped all the gorge out, I'd be good to go to work Friday.

Not so. I felt better, but extra movement seemed dicey. I made one trip Friday, to buy more Pepto and 7-up at Target.

Now, I have two theories as to how this thing started. My original hypothesis was that it was food poisoning from the greasy spoon. Then, sometime Thursday or Friday, I remembered my elderly neighbor had described similar symptoms last Monday.

I've been helping him get adjusted to the converter box for his TV. Which, naturally, requires I go in his house on occasion.

I've been living on clears liquids and crackers the past few days. My stomach was queasy Sunday and Monday; it's now "hinky", which seems like an improvement.


Anonymous said...

Yuk, sounds like a classic case of intestinal flu. Glad you are recovering...

Anonymous said...

Hope you are doing better, nasty stuff, those intestinal bugs.