"Believe what ya like. Think what ya like. You'll be judged for what you do."
-- Tim Minton, Eyrie

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Broken Promise

     "I never throw up," I bragged to B on one of our first dates. This was sometime in 2003. At the time I was working on a no-throw-up record of almost 30 years.

     B was pretty; she was smart; she had a great personality. I liked her. So I thought this was a good selling point for myself. I mean, who likes someone who throws up a lot? But I guess what I was doing, with my lame attempt at humor, was making a kind of promise. I would stay healthy for her. She was not signing on to be my nursemaid. No throwing up.

     The last time I'd thrown up was in 1974 or 1975 when I'd had a terrible bout of the flu. And, well, stuff happens. Soon after, I fainted and cracked my chin on the bathroom sink as I went down. My wife (my first wife) panicked when she saw me crumpled on the floor with blood running down my face. She called 911. The first thing I knew, I woke up with my wife hovering over me and two male faces murmuring some mildly reassuring words.

     That's how bad it has to be when I throw up.

     But last weekend . . .

     We had just gotten home from our trip down south. Our grandson had had a bout of stomach flu. So did someone else in the family. But I kept my distance, washed my hands. And anyway, that was four or five days earlier.

     The morning we got home we went out to breakfast at a diner. We had never been there before, but it was crowded. Must be good.

     I ordered eggs, pancakes and a side of fruit.

     The portions were huge. But the fruit looked good. I dug in. As usual, B forked a few pieces for herself. But I was the one who gobbled up most of it. 

     Later that afternoon I just felt tired. I don't know why. I'd slept well. I hadn't really done anything vigorous or taxing. But we'd been traveling. That creates more stress than you think. Maybe it made sense that I was tired.

     At dinner the food, to me, looked intimidating. I ate a bite or two of chicken. It was too rich, too spicy. The asparagus seemed stringy and hard to chew. I left most of the meal on my plate.

     I did the dishes, as usual, then went upstairs to my desk. I tootled around on the computer for a bit, then B came in. We had an engagement the next day. She wanted to discuss what time we should leave and other details of the outing. I looked at her and said, "I hate to say this, but I don't feel so good."

     She looked disappointed, but understanding. "Well, let's see how you feel in the morning."

     It was about five minutes later when for some reason the thought crept into into my mind: I'd better get to the bathroom.

     I'll spare you the details. But it's a good thing I did. Because my now more-than-40-year throw-up record was over. In spades.

     Luckily, B decided to sleep at the other end of the house. I got more exercise than sleep that night. But finally around 5 a.m. I settled down and slept till about 10. I heard the phone ring a couple of times but didn't pay attention.

     I got up for an hour or two and found that B was still there. She had canceled our engagement. Then I went back to sleep. I got up again around 2 p.m. B asked me if I wanted anything to eat. I said no. She asked about dinner later on. Some toast? Chicken soup? No. No. Then I saw a potato on the counter. "How about mashed potatoes?" I asked.

     I took another nap from about 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Got up. Ate a few mashed potatoes. I was worrying that I would lie awake all night since I had slept most of the day. But no. I fell asleep listening to a podcast and stayed asleep until 8 a.m. the next morning.

     I got up. I don't know if it had been the flu or the food, but now I felt fine. Well, mostly fine. I felt like I had been through a fight, and was now recovering, like the guy in the movies who is sitting there half-dazed with a bandaged face and an arm in a sling.

     A day later I was back on my feet. I went to my class, played table tennis that night. I had met the enemy and had won. And the silver lining -- I'd lost about five pounds. But it took two days out of my life. And I had broken the promise I'd made to B, all those years ago.


gigi-hawaii said...

So, mashed potatoes after a vomiting spree did the trick. Interesting.

Arkansas Patti said...

Isn't there a saying about never saying "never?" Yikes that sounded just miserable. I am so glad you survived, your wife was spared and a 5 pound loss is seldom to be frowned upon.

Celia said...

Glad you're better, tough way to lose a couple of pounds.

Carole said...

This is hilarious. I don't mean that you getting sick is funny, but your telling of the story made me laugh out loud. Glad you have recovered.

Barbara said...

Mashed potatoes does sound like a good compromise. I have had stomach bugs quite a few times and I blame most of them of the Grands. I also think my resistance is low because I get them so easily after seeing the Girls in the winter. So consider yourself lucky that this was your first case in sooo many years. I got my shot and I'm hoping for the best

Tom said...

Carole, Glad you "get" me. And Barbara, I'm beginning to think one of he benefits of having Grands is that ... you can blame things on them!

Bob Lowry said...

I never made the type of promise you did to B, but I very rarely get sick like that. The last time was probably 45 years ago, during the early stages of my career. Parties with rock musicians and free-flowing adult beverages. It wasn't pretty. Except for one or two bouts of the flu, there have been no nighttime trips down the hall. Maybe that is because I don't know any musicians any more.

One truism, though: after such an experience doesn't it feel wonderful to feel normal?

Anonymous said...

It's true. As people age, they talk more about their health. Or, should I say, ill health?
Good thing you didn't get diarrhea. What would you have shown us a photo of? The toilet bowl?
This post was really in bad taste.
But I guess as you age, you can get away with it.

Kay said...

Oh I can relate. I can’t remember when my tummy went that bad. Usually, it’s the other end. I don’t think I even had morning sickness. However, I know this could happen to me and don’t want to jinx it. I’m so glad you got back on your feet after a couple of days. I’ll bet you discovered that the weight you lost comes back too quickly. I’ve always been disappointed about that.

Anonymous said...

Flu shots--so easy to get and free with Medicare. I go to CVS. No appointment necessary and they will give you the high dose multi-valent one for folks over sixty-five. Takes maybe twenty minutes.
Glad you're feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Do you boomers realize how universally hated you are? There is not one single demographic that does not hate you- white people, black people, asians, mexicans, indians, chinese, millennials, GenX, GenZ. Something tells me that you boomers are not going to have a very comfortable or easy retirement, especially once you end up in the retirement homes.

Can you baby boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead? Enjoy your retirement homes cause we younger people will not take care of you even if we wanted to, due to the shitty economy you boomers created. Do you boomers realize that the younger generation is simply waiting for you to fucking drop dead?

You are all going to end up in retirement homes and we all know that the elderly gets treated pretty badly in retirement homes. Well, that's what you get for ruining your own children's lives. Even if your children WANTED to take care of you, they couldn't, due to you boomers destroying the economy. So I hope you enjoy the retirement homes, boomer scum!

Anonymous said...

If you are a representation of your generation, the boomer progeny responsible for your birth clearly shows how horrific the boomer spawn can be. A foul mouth, likely uneducated or poorly educated, clueless clay brain such as yourself signifies the boomer gene pool was tainted. Enjoy the dregs while you can. Your future is about to get exponentially worse as the thin veneer of the US economy evaporates. Please enjoy eternity in hell with all the boomers? ha

Karen D. Austin said...

I usually don't eat mashed potatoes, but when I am sick, I make the instant kind, and I often thin it out to be like a potato soup. That usually settles my stomach.

I'm so sorry that you had repeated bouts of vomiting. My hypothesis is food poisoning since it came on quickly and was over after a few (miserable) hours. Flu is usually more a fever, cough, and body aches, and it persists for days.

Whatever the dx, I am glad that it's OVER!