Diary of a Sick Person

6:05 AM – Awaken to strange sensations in head, neck and feet. Groan at the thought that sore throat of yesterday has become full-blown head cold. Convince yourself that you can work through it.

6:12 AM – Attempt to stand.

6:15 AM – Call work. Leave message saying you will not be in on account of plague. Hope to have passed it by tomorrow.

6:16 AM – Hang phone up incorrectly. Fall back asleep.

6:18 AM – Wake up to busy signal, hang phone up correctly, grumble. Fall back asleep.

7:04 AM – Deny nature’s call.

7:13 AM – Grumpily heed nature’s call. Trip on laundry pile upon descent back into bed.

8:45 AM – NyQuil has worn off. Time for DayQuil.

8:47 AM – Practice Jedi mind trick, mentally beckoning cold drugs and orange juice from the kitchen.

9:12 AM – Curse dormant superpowers.

9:15 AM – Fall back asleep.

9:27 AM – Awaken to ringing phone. Grope for phone. Tell panicked mother that you have called in sick, and are not in fact dead. Do not add ‘yet’. Assure her you do not need a doctor’s appointment. Hang up; gather blanket, pillow and tissues for Operation: Couch Bivouac.

9:30 AM – Deposit bedding onto sofa. Make tea.

9:37 AM – Line drugs up on table, adding antihistamine like it will make a shred of difference in breathing efforts. Down each dose with 300% Vitamin C OJ, saving horrid cough syrup for last. Wonder what in hell takes an expectorant so long to start working. Entertain thoughts of LiquidPlumr as substitute, perhaps coupled with wasabi-paste Breathe Right strips.

9:45 AM – Consider breakfast of Hot Tamales and Coke, in the hopes that your nasal passages will, if even for brief, agonizing seconds, clear.

9:46 AM – Decide stomach’s neutral state is tenuous at best, and horking cinnamon candies in prismatic colors would not only tear holes in esophagus, but aggravate sinus headache. Decide it’s not worth the energy. Wonder if it’s too early for soup.

9:47 AM – Suspend all activity until appropriate amount of caffeine needed for the making of simple decisions is consumed.

9:55 AM – Drink tea. Watch the end of Green Card.

10:12 AM – Finish tea. Discover you’ve been watching Green Card. Shudder; switch channels.

10:21 AM – Discover the reason people have jobs is because there’s nothing good on TV.

10:27 AM – Phone rings. Unfortunately, you’ve become trapped in the sofa’s Sarlacc sinkhole, and escape is impossible. Realize you’ve made two Star Wars references before noon and therefore consigned to die alone. Throw self on floor. Wiggle prehistorically toward phone, answer.

10:29 AM – Repeat earlier phone conversation for sister, adding that, from vantage point on unswept living room floor, things are totally under your control. Deny need for doctor’s appointment. Hang up.

10:37 AM – Fever is back. Two more Tylenol.

10:45 AM – Decide food would go well with the medicine cabinet wending its way through intestinal tract; run breakfast options through brain, dismissing anything not palatable.

11:10 AM – Sit down to oatmeal with blueberries, more tea, more OJ, cinnamon toast and side of Frosted Mini-Wheats. Decide that it’s a good sign for your immune system’s chances against Ebola if it’s forcing you to eat This Complete Breakfast.

11:14 AM – Add an apple.

12:04 PM – Take up spot on couch, adjusting for comfort.

12:06 PM – Get up and answer phone, repeat earlier conversation for father, foresightedly asking him to pass it the hell along, mentioning need for nap, probably omitting thanks for concern. Hang up.

12:10 PM – Get cordless phone from bedroom and set next to couch. Resume comfy position. Find television programming suitable for napping.

12:46 PM – Realize you’re too interested in the life of Benjamin Franklin to fall asleep. Switch to cartoons.

12:57 PM – Apply tea bags to face. Assume sick person napping position: upper torso elevated, head back and tucked into couch, tissue shoved up one nostril, one foot uncovered and stuck at odd position. Fall asleep.

1:42 PM – Blearily realize the phone is ringing, the answering machine is speaking, someone is saying your name. You can’t get up, being underwater, so you return to the action in progress, seeing if Al Swearengen is going to win it all on Project Runway: Deadwood, as he keeps offing his competition. His lapels are gorgeous, also.

3:49 PM – Awaken. Decide against watching Project Runway and Deadwood in the same evening, or at least palate-cleansing with Are You Being Served before attempting any restful sleep. Throw off blanket, pillow and pajama bottoms, which are soaked through with somnolent sweat.

3:53 PM – Giggle at Heidi’s “Auf Wiedershen, Cocksucker.”

4:10 PM – Check answering machine. Call your mother back and tell her yes, you were napping, and no, you’re not feeling any better. While listening to her healthcare recommendations, make confused face and fish sad used teabag out of cleavage. Speculate with horror where the other might be. Resolve that, as soon as your headache goes away, you will search for said teabag before your house starts to smell of damp old ladies.

4:27 PM – Stumble casually, half-naked, past open curtains into bedroom; change clothes.

4:43 PM – One nostril is clear. The other is still clogged to the medulla. Re-dose.

4:45 PM – Declare “Guaifenesin doesn’t work for shit!” Stuffed toys worriedly agree.

4:49 PM – Stuffed toys appear to be melting.

4:52 PM – Consider crying. Reconsider.

5:17 PM – Father calls; says he is on his way over with movies, wants to know if you are hungry. Plans are made for vegetarian pizza and Ben & Jerry’s.

5:30 PM – Make attempt to clean for company.

5:37 PM – Regain consciousness. Settle for a state of disorganized clutter.

5:42 PM – Open window to dispel smell of the sick. Realize smell is coming from self.

5:59 PM – Open door for father; choose pizza place. Jump into shower while father orders food.

6:31 PM – Emerge from shower; sit on toilet with head between knees, wait until the bright purple lights go away. Small consolation: nostrils now clear.

6:57 PM – Nostrils clogged. Can’t smell pizza. Get dressed.

7:05 PM – Resume position on end of sofa, watching The Sixth Sense and eating pizza. Onions and green peppers bring one nostril to its knees. Worry briefly about carb intake. Eat fourths.

9:16 PM – Head begins to bob. See father out, thank him for coming over, assure him I will be fine tomorrow. Resist urge to smack him when the peals of laughter ring off walls.

9:29 PM – Move bedclothes back to bed, turn off lights, line up drugs. Re-dose.

9:35 PM – Take NyQuil.

9:35 [:12] PM – Fall aszzzzzzz….

9:37 PM – Sleepwalk toward bed as if swimming through sand. Reach bed, make Scarlett O’Hara declaration that BY GOD you will be going to work tomorrow. Watch stuffed toys nod in loyal, slow-motion assent. Fall unconscious.


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