The Return Of The Crunk

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A couple years ago, I posted about the bizarre mutant virus that nearly resulted in a chest burster from Alien erupting from my tortured thorax. The last time I was that sick was 1994, also the last time I ever had a flu bug worth mentioning. Ferris Buehler could have gotten another day off by imitating me that weekend. But that was the flu, and I could power through it.

This bug, however, was not the flu. This probably was what started World War Z. It felt like it. It begins with a slight headache. Well, slight headaches are like the lines at BMV. Everyone has to stand in it, but eventually, it goes away. You don’t really know you’re sick with this bug until the projectile vomiting begins. And it begins with your stomach sending a signal to your brain: Evacuating dinner in 5… 4… 3… 2… bleeeeeeeeegghhhh!!!!

WWZ2

World War Z, source: Paramount

That’s right. It never makes it to 1. We have a small house, so I do make it to the toilet. After that, just moving back to the bedroom or sitting on the couch has roughly the same effect on you as running a marathon. Only after a marathon, you’re heart works better, and you’re left with a day of soreness. With this modern plague, you spend the next three days with just enough energy to get out to your car and start it.

Glad I got through it, and that’s over. Right?

Um…

The news talked about an outbreak at a local school of norovirus, also called Norwalk virus. What is that? Well, it starts with projectile vomiting, followed by three days of being so weak that sitting down leaves you winded and sweaty. But I already had that. Right? It’s like measles or the mumps. Once you had it, you can’t get it again. (Although chicken pox leaves you with the gift that keeps on giving: Shingles. Don’t try that one at home.)

Well…

Just as one cold doesn’t prevent the next one, and the annual flu shot attacks different strains of the flu, so, too, the norovirus has a new model year. It’s just like new cars, only more of an ordeal unless you go to a buy here/pay here/repo here lot that occupies a former gas station in a bad neighborhood. And the folks on Channel 19 were referring to this year’s model. I didn’t know that. I turned to Nita and said, “Hey, honey. Glad I already had that bug.”

And then two nights later, while watching television, I said, “Wow. Those pork chops really don’t agree with me for some reason.” It happens. We had a big dinner.

Which ten minutes later, I proceeded to send directly to the Metropolitan Sewer District by kneeling in front of the toilet and emptying my stomach. Last time, I coughed it all up at once. It was over, and I could get on with wallowing in my misery. This time, it took four trips to the bathroom to bring my stomach under control, the last time dry heaves. I stumbled into bed and passed out, thoughts of Eric “Stumpy Joe” Childs briefly crossing my delirious mind.

It took me an hour to call off work the next morning. I went out to the kitchen, grabbed my cell phone off the charger, and that was pretty much it for an hour. Finally, I had the energy to use the phone. Then I did what passing out would not let me do the previous night: Slept.

I’m writing this on Sunday morning and still not feeling a hundred percent. However, I’m actually the healthiest one in the house. Two days after getting clocked by this microscopic freight train, Nita took ill at an afterwork party. Then Saturday, I returned from my monthly writers group to find AJ sick. However, AJ turns 20 soon (making me feel old), and his immune system seems to be kicking this thing’s ass. He’s been sick, weak, and achy, but he’s powered through it. This is something no one powers through when it hits full force.

I know this is not the last time any of us will get this. Like the flu, it has different strains that change from year to year. But man, I could really go another 18 years before getting that sick again.

Down With The Sickness

So Thursday night, as I was checking on my sick stepson, I mentioned I had not been seriously ill since I started living with Nita and AJ. And then, as I sat working on my laptop afterward, I started getting a headache. I shrugged it off as either stress or fatigue.

Nope. I jinxed myself. And I should have known better. Two people in my department at work had been sidelined this week with some crazy mutant stomach bug. Two other people had been out the week before. So the next morning…

5:30 AM

Alarm goes off. Climbing out of bed, I feel like I haven’t slept in days. I don’t even make it to the bedroom door before I realize something is seriously wrong. My stomach is in an aggressive mood, and I’m already winded from just walking around the bed. Between the bedroom and the bathroom, I feel something in my chest. Am I having a heart attack? Nope. Last night’s snack is stuck about halfway up on its unplanned return trip. Moments later, I am hugging the toilet for dear life as Mr. Stomach Bug says, “Good morning. Today you will be watching Jerry Springer.”

7:00 AM

I get back up out of bed and call both my boss and the network administrator to say work’s not happening today. About halfway through the voicemail to my boss, I realize that he was taking the day off. So after leaving a voicemail to the network administrator, I logged into my work computer and emailed the company to say I was down with the sickness. I did all this in the living room. Getting back to the bedroom felt like running five miles. I crashed.

Noon

Text conversation between me and Nita:

Me: Nita, I’m sick. Will you sing “Soft Kitty” to me?

Nita: You’re adorable, but you’re not Sheldon Cooper.

Me: But I’m sick.

Nita: Jim, I’m having lunch with my sister.

Me: Will she come over and sing “Soft Kitty”?

1:00

Body aches get the better of me. I pry myself off the couch to get a shower. Once again, I’m completely exhausted by the effort. After getting dressed, I collapse on the couch and fall asleep.

3:30

I wake up and am actually able to move around the house without needing 2-4 hours of rest to recover. I’m still dizzy, but I can do something that, only two hours earlier, would have been repulsive: Eat.

7:00

I actually feel human again. I’m ready to tackle the day tomorrow.

Saturday 8:00 AM

Take the car into the shop to get the car to quit making that damned noise. I leave the shop light-headed again.

9:00 AM

It occurs to me I ate nothing from 10 PM Thursday night to about 4 PM the next day, and I didn’t even finish dinner. I stop at a coffee shop to get a muffin. I feel human again. OK, so all I have to do is bring my blood sugar back up to normal levels. Cool. Off to Wal-Mart to pick up a new grill.

10:30 AM

OK, so that was not a bright idea. I get the grill wheeled out to the backyard, but I’m in no condition to put it together or do anything else. On the upside, when I’ve rested up, I’ll have a shiny new grill put together with a built-in bottle opener for my beer.

Now, if I can just drink beer…