Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beware The Unwell

Screw the undead. It's the unwell you need to fear.  Seriously, when I'm sick, I'm either helpless or mean. Sometimes I'm helplessly mean.

I've been sick for over a week. I don't mean a little sniffle or a little congestion; I mean out-of-work-for-a-week, shivering-on-the-sofa-waiting-for-death sick. And that first part? That out-of-work-for-a-week part? That means I was trapped in the house with the increasingly fretful DH (still recovering from his surgery) and the stupendously annoying demon spawn (home for winter break).

My best efforts at recovery were destined for failure from the start.  When I get sick, I cocoon.  I want to hole up in my nest with all the supplies I'll need to ride out the storm of my illness. This was not to be.

DH heads out for his daily walk with the demon spawn in tow. The walks get progressively longer as he tries to improve his stamina and strength. He is that guy though. You know the one, the hero, the competitor, the one who has to go a little too far, do a little too much. On my Recovery Day One (RD1), I got the phone call.

"Ummm...can you come get us? I've walked too far and can't get back."  <sigh> This will mean shoes/coat/going-out-in-the-cold.  "Where are you?" I'm given coordinates.  I suit up and go begrudgingly out into the cold, find the pair and ferry them home. Much moaning, groaning and complaining ensue over the remainder of the afternoon and evening, reminding me of why I own an MP3 player. I suggest the effort was overmuch; my opinion is poo-pooed. I move on. 

RD2: Still feeling crappy, but figure I should push on (stiff upper lip and all that). Throw in a couple loads of laundry to start the day and feel like I might be a tad productive. As I perform my morning caffeine sacrament, DH mentions we need a few things at the store. I grunt acknowledgement, shove a list pad towards him. He makes notes, then says, "Maybe you could drive and I could do the shopping as my walk...."  There it is. The Request. The I know you hate to leave the house when you're sick but I'm gonna ask anyway... request. I allow it's a possibility. His ears hear an enthusiastic "Sure!".

A dose of medicine and a two hour nap after lunch is needed to prepare me for this outing. I notify him of our impending departure. "Oh. I was just making a bite. After that?"  I grunt. 

<Notice I grunt a lot. Most days, I am definitely the male in this relationship.>

When he's done eating, I gear up and he begins to as well. We are just shy of stepping out the door, the promise of being permitted to sit peacefully in the car while he and the spawn shop glittering before me...when he says, "Perhaps I ought not to go."  I am certain that my illness has begun to cause auditory hallucinations. "Excuse me?"  "I might have overdone it a bit yesterday. I'm thinking it might not be a good idea for me to go. But the child can help you shop..."

In the parking lot, prior to embarkation, I inform him: "We will do this thing and we will do it quickly. Your utter and complete cooperation is required, else your life won't be worth living. Are we clear?"  He nods - he has the child's ability to see the demon lurking not far below in my face.

Congested, wheezing and attracting a following of sea lions with my barking cough, the demon child and I go to the local market. Six bags of groceries later, we return home. The last of my energy expended in putting things away, DH wanders thru and remarks, "I guess we could've waited. We weren't really out of anything."  Only my utter lack of energy preserved his health.

RD3: I have agreed to go to the doctor. They send me away with narcotic cough syrup, an inhaler, and instructions to call if symptoms change. Prescriptions will take time, so I stop at home to pee.  Back at the pharmacy, the dull little pharmacist man insists there was only one scrip to fill. "No," say I, "there are two. Inhaler, cough syrup. Two." Holding up my fingers to be sure he understands. Two.  He checks here, he checks there, he checks the computer.  "No," says he, "only one."  I am too tired to argue.  I have had to go out in the cold two times today. That's two times too many.  I call the doctor's office from the pharmacy lobby.  "We sent two," they say.  "I'm certain you did. They just don't have the cough syrup scrip. Please..."  "We'll send it again," they tell me.  I bless them for their humanity. 

I don't want to go home again only to have to come back out. I know I'll need the cough syrup to sleep, though, and to keep the barking sea lions at bay. I decide to kill time by going to the car wash. After all, how long could it possibly take to fill a bottle with cough syrup and put a sticker on it? Not longer than being pulled through the automatic washer, right?

Wrong. Apparently, it takes longer than you would expect.

I cheat on my return trip and go to the pharmacy drive-up window. "D'ya have it?" I ask hopefully. "We do!" they say cheerfully, "We got the call a few minutes ago. It'll be ready in half an hour or so."  I deflate.  I have no energy or ideas to kill 30 more minutes, so I concede defeat and go home.

I walk in to tell DH of my defeat. Not a cryer by nature, but I feel on the verge of tears over this silliness, which only serves to make me angry.  He remarks that he ought to refill two of his post-surgical scrips, now I mention it.  He makes a call, and looks content.  I retreat to nap a bit before venturing out again.

My third foray into the winter cold is made with much less good humour than before. Not that there was much good humour in either of the other trips, to be fair. As I step resignedly to the door, DH calls out "grab mine while you're there...?"  I glare back. "Call. Make sure they're ready. I'll not wait on them."  He looks alarmed and grabs for the phone and the pharmacy number, then looks positively cocky when he tells me they are all ready. Delightful.  I trek off and collect three filled prescriptions - only the one of which matters to me, unless he plans on ODing sometime soon - and collapse at home.

The prior night spent in bizarrely glorious narcotic lands, RD4 starta out promising enough...until I sit up in bed. My head throbs, I can't clear the mucus from the back of my throat and finally, stumbling and gagging, take refuge in the hottest shower I can stand.  I inhale the blessed steam and exhale a collection of amoeba-like chunks - explosively.

Something is off, but it's most likely the narcotic hangover and the congestion. Then I realize that it was the amoebae. They were, shall we say, colorful. That. Is. Not. A. Good. Sign. I have gone to the infection stage. Deee-lightful.

I augment the caffeine sacrament with juice of the orange variety. My body is craving it, which means I am well and truly sick, just in case I hadn't caught on to that by now. I am two-fisting my drinks, yet neither contains alcohol. Those that know me will see the irony in this.

Mid-morning, the fever hits. I am well and truly shivering to beat the band. Still out of range of a next dose of acetaminophen, I take to my bed and alternately nap, sweat, and shiver. I descend to the living level for drugs and the thermometer - which I will shamefully admit I can never read (it's the standard mercury type). My temp at that point will be forever unknown, as the thermometer is dropped in the hand off between subject and DH/Official Thermometer Reader. It breaks. I am now not only feverish, but have to clean up glass and mercury while keeping spawn and pets out of it. I clean it up (and not DH) because his surgery renders him unable to reach the floor in the requisite manner.

<Before you go on, yes, I know mercury is toxic. Yes, I cleaned thoroughly. Did I get it all? I try not to dwell on that.>

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