Two days ago I woke up with a tickle in my throat, and by tickle, I mean “it felt like I was drinking straight out of my hot glue gun.”
As a kid, I used to get violently ill around the same time every year, which mystified doctors until I was about 11 or 12 and one of them finally figured out that I have an oddly specific allergy to a certain type of mold that grows on certain types of citrus trees during the harvest season in a certain region of the United States, and as coincidence would have it, we had three of said moldy citrus trees chilling in our yard that would start bearing fruit at exactly the same time that my respiratory system started re-enacting The Exorcist. Now that I’m an adult who maintains at least a 50-mile distance between herself and the nearest orange grove, I don’t really get colds or flus or anything like that. When everyone else is being obliterated by whatever Zombie Swine Chupacabra Plague happens to be sweeping the world at the time, I’m sitting at home watching the advisories on CNN and making smug faces. On the extremely rare occasion that something does manage to force itself through my mucous membranes, all Hell breaks loose. The way I see it, I get all of my requisite sniffly stuff out of the way in one shot every five years or so. I’d rather be sick as balls for a week and then not have to deal with it for like a million years, you know?
At least, that’s what I tell myself until I actually get sick.
But more about Hot Glue Gun Throat Syndrome. It’s about the worst feeling in the world. You go to bed and everything’s great, then you wake up choking on all of the terrible booger-y shit that’s decided to jailbreak out of your sinuses and down the back of your throat. I’ve got a high pain tolerance — I actually fell asleep during my tattoo because I got bored — except when it comes to throat pain. I would take a papercut to the tongue over a sore throat. I’m not sure if I hate it so much because it legitimately hurts, or because it’s always a harbinger of doom for my immune system. Some people know they’re getting sick when their nose gets runny or their left third metatarsal starts throbbing; I know I’m completely and utterly screwed once I get that constant drowning sensation.
I spent that entire day frantically chugging every source of vitamin C I could find, because unlike a normal person, I actually go through the stages of grief when it comes to getting sick, and here was Stage 1: Denial. I hit Anger upon finding that my herbal chest rub had gone a bit off, meaning I spent the rest of the day smelling like I’d been rolling around in menthol cigarette butts (as opposed to regular butts, which I would love to roll around in). Within another couple of hours I was Bargaining with Azazel and every other major and minor denizen whose name I’d heard on Supernatural that if they’d just, like, cancel this delivery of Extreme Suffering I’d sacrifice an entire herd of alpacas in their honor. Depression and Acceptance hit about the same time once I realized that I was almost out of Supernatural episodes to watch and laid down on the couch in utter defeat, at which point I didn’t so much accept my plight as tried to get back up and nearly threw up everywhere so I really couldn’t fight it anymore.
It’s amazing how the crappy things you hate doing when you’re healthy suddenly become all you want to do when you’re confined to bed. I like to pretend that I’m this ironically lazy creature like Garfield except actually funny (and also lasagna tastes like Silent Hill and broken dreams to me), but the reality is that nothing drives me further up a wall than a wasted day, especially now that I’m out here in Irvine and actually have the desire to do stuff. There’s also that tiny little detail of “every day that I don’t work on writing or practicing my coding is another day I don’t add to my portfolio and an even longer delay with getting hired at Blizzard” so between my type A personality kicking in and a built-in biological warfare system, I haven’t been the easiest patient to deal with. I technically shouldn’t even be sitting here writing this for multiple reasons, the least of which “it’s by far the stupidest thing I’ve ever written” and the most important being “The Fiance is going to realize I’m not laying down and come into the room and make loud annoying noises at me until I go back to resting.” Yes, The Fiance has pretty much ordered my complete quarantine to the point that I’m not even allowed to get up and get myself a glass of water. I made my own lunch this afternoon and I swear the little shit gave me the evil eye. But I’m an independent person, and thus being told “no, you are coughing up globs of brown things, you cannot do the laundry” without being allowed or able to yell “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED” afterwards is one of the least sexy tortures that a person could inflict on me.
Not to mention that I’m just flat-out unused to being able to take time off to recover from an illness. Before my short stint at the tea shop, I had a job where we were legit not allowed to call in sick. Ever. We were so under-staffed and over-worked that one person not showing up could mean the difference between hitting our deadlines and getting hopelessly behind for a month. My former significant others were not always the most sympathetic people. I ended up bedridden for a week with a nasty case of food poisoning and my boyfriend at the time accused me of faking it so that I didn’t have to do housework. I learned not to rely on people for care while I’m sick or injured. The Fiance, meanwhile, brings me medicine, food, drinks, extra pillows, blankets, and kisses to the forehead without me even having to ask for them. He’s stepped up to the plate by taking over all of the housework with exactly zero complaining about having to do so. If I try to protest or do something anyway, he very gently takes it out of my hands and ushers me back to the couch. He isn’t cranky with me despite the fact that my coughing and tossing-and-turning has kept him up for three nights straight (and when I offered to sleep on the couch, he refused to let me even think about it). My Jewish guilt can’t handle this kind of spousal excellence, I swear.
If there is a bright side to being sick, it’s that I’ve managed to catch up on Netflix and regained my ability to do a bitchin’ Dr. Girlfriend/Dr. Mrs. The Monarch impression, although my Skeletor and Eric Cartman are currently suffering. The fact that my sinuses are so tightly packed with rainbow colors of snot and other nastiness means that I can actually consume foods I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy, so finding something to eat is easy as the pie that we sadly do not currently have. A cat peed outside of our window last night and while it was a horrible experience for The Fiance, I just sat there blissfully ignorant to the stench. I have an excuse to not shave my legs for a week. I get all the tea I can drink (even though I’m not allowed to make it for myself).
And then I cough up something that tastes vaguely like bug spray and I just sort of sigh and resign myself to another three or four days of being an observer of the chaos rather than an active participant.