No entry last week as the (virtually) impossible has happened. Although I pride myself on my overall health and take enough minerals and vitamins every morning to count as a superhero, one got through. While all around me were collapsing with the sabre-toothed stomach bug and updating their Facebook status from a miasma of diarrhoea and projectile vomiting and, frankly, I was chortling at their puny mortal weaknesses, somehow I caught a cold.
From my point of view, I was so protected that no germs would fuckin’ dare. And yet they got through. Still, I took comfort from the fact that, although I was producing more runny snot than any medium-sized European nation, that was all it was. No squitting and puking for me – that’s just for poor people.
So. A cold. Implausible, but effective. Sunday, I took steps, phoned work to let them know I’d be having Monday and Tuesday off. I had Wednesday and Thursday as days off, so I’d be up for revile first thing Friday lunchtime, I told them. “Hah!” I whispered to my puking, squitting partner. “And a bit more work on this year’s NaNoWriMo, too.” I smiled, undead and ghastly. “I shall use this time wisely.”
It turned out that Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I was stuck. Blocked. Staring at a blank screen. My mind wouldn’t form coherent sentences, let alone communicate important thoughts, wrapped in my usual attractive prose. Bastard.
Wednesday, I got up early and wrote around twenty-five hundred words. And I did the dishes that had piled up around us while we were sneezing (me) and squirting from both ends (her). We ate well, snuggled up and watched some TV. “I shall do the same tomorrow,” I told her, as sleep gathered us up in his warm embrace. “Just you watch.”
Thursday morning, I felt like shit. I stared at the blank screen, shook my head at it, typed a couple of words and stared at them, daring them to mean something. Around lunchtime, feeling even worse, I caved in and phoned work.
“Teensy wee problem, I’m afraid.” The entity at the other end grunted something. “Not convinced I’m going to make it in tomorrow, either. If I was anyone else, I’d think this was getting worse.” The entity nodded its great shaggy head (probably) and agreed that if I took Friday and Saturday off, Sunday was a day off and I’d be bright eyed and bushy tailed for Monday. I came off the phone and told my partner I was feeling shit but that I would try the lovely bacon roll she’d made me, perhaps washed down with a small glass of dark cola – because that’s good for settling the stomach.
The squits started around two. Stomach agony, sprinting up the stairs before all was washed away in the monsoon of arse weather. It was surprising – all the more so because I do not get ill. Diseases wouldny fuckin’ dare.
That passed and I went back to bed, partly to keep warm, partly to stay as near as the toilet as humanly possible. I was starting to feel a little sick now, too. My partner pronounced the final part of the curse. “Yeah,” she shared a sickly grin with me. “That’s how mine started, too.”
I was nonplussed. Hadn’t the disease come at me already and been found wanting on the field of combat? I’d had cold symptoms, which was, for me, tantamount to the black death. I’d fought this bastard off. Mastered the fucker. I was starting to feel nauseous and lay very still.
Around six in the p.m, I realised I was going to hurl. My partner brought me a bowl, which I accepted graciously, knowing that since I didn’t get ill, it could lie there, a stark reminder of just how hard I was – until I felt a bit better, perhaps the following day.
You know the bit in ‘An American werewolf in London’ where he changes? Gut slamming in, chest expanding, that. I grabbed the bowl and revisited the roll and the cola I’d trusted earlier. The smell was ferocious. You know how veggie bacon repeats on you? That. Pouring out of my face in what looked like a couple of pints of fairy Guinness that I had no memory of drinking at any point. The liquid stopped but my body kept on heaving, just to make sure. The smell was utterly vile. The pain was awful and my throat burned. Tears ran down both sides of my face.
When it was finally over, I placed the bowl that I probably wasn’t going to need back on the floor, lay back, and thought “oh well, at least that’s it out now. Better an empty hoose than a filthy, stinking tenant.” My partner emptied the bowl and for some reason brought it back. I shook what was left of my head. “That’s me emptied now,” I told her. “I’ll be fine in a minute.”
For the next six hours, I hung between horrific dreams and a damaged semi-wakefulness. Occasionally, I would hurl even more of the bacony hell-Guinness into the bowl. My guts hurt like drunk fairies had performed unnecessary surgery. By midnight, my failing body had one final surprise. More squits.
I staggered to the toilet (not having had sufficient warning before) and dropped onto the plastic. It was then I realised that the exertion was too much and I was going to throw up again. Since I was completely empty – and had been for hours – this filthy muck had to be coming from some parallel universe, these bastards were fly-tipping their runny garbage across dimensions, to my private guts, where I had to expel it when it turned up in me. I would phone the council in the morning. Or hunt them down myself. Make an example of the swine. It was then I began throwing up.
The experience of expelling waste from either end simultaneously was a new one for me but I was in no mood whatsoever to appreciate the novelty. However, I was able to make it downstairs and fill a small glass with ice water. Over the next five-and-a-half, six hours, I was able to either rinse my mouth with it or at points, even drink a sip or two of it. I hung in the limbo between half-awake and miserable, broken sleep, my mind regurgitating a smeared collage of ‘Buffy the vampire slayer’, various political figures and just plain darkness. From time to time, I’d check my phone, work out how long I’d been like this and, from that, figure out how much more of it there was to go. My partner had described it as a ‘twenty-four hour bug’ before heading off to the spare room, so I was at least half way through it. I would prevail. The fucker would rue the day.
All day Friday, I lay, like a half-shut knife. No energy, absolutely no appetite and every time I remembered the smell-taste of the used veggie bacon, I swore on the lives of my children never to eat again. I sipped water, I huddled under a duvet on the living room floor, I prayed for death to wrap me in its arms and to bastard well hurry up about it.
Saturday wasn’t much better. My partner, a picture of rosy-cheeked and sparkly-eyed health, the cunt, suggested a trip to Tesco. Thirty minutes of wandering aisles, toying with the thought of digesting something and I was exhausted. Weakening, I ate a small banana and it damn near killed me. I couldn’t understand this. I’ve always had a good relationship with bananas.
Sunday, I rang work and got the same entity. “No way I’m gonny be in one piece tomorrow. Sorry.”
The entity concurred and I said I’d phone back after I’d consulted a medic.
Turns out it was the cold that got me first, weakening me as foreplay for this stomach bug to come and rip my lungs out for me. Signed off work for a fortnight and I’m too bastard ill to even enjoy it. There ought to be a law!