Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What a Lovely Way to Burn

I was in Toronto a couple weeks ago when I started to get a fever. Actually, backing up for a second, I should mention: I don't get the flu. Ever. I just don't. I never get a flu shot, because a) no insurance; but also b) I hear it makes you sick anyway, and since I never actually get the flu, why bother with yet another cold in the winter time? So when I start to get a fever, then chills, then a fever again, I'm not entirely sure how to process it, because I don't get sick like this. When I get sick, it's with my head all full of gook and there's sniffling and sneezing to the tune of an entire box of Puffs, and I get to ride the Sudafed express for a few days -- inevitably leading to at least one writing assignment written under the influence of those tiny red pills which invariably turns out 20% funnier than it normally would have. That's how I get sick. It's annoying, and it last for about four days, but it has a beginning, middle, and end that I recognize, and I can deal with it.

So I'm in Toronto getting hot flashes like I'm fucking Maude or whatever. Going through the change. And I'm trying to be a good houseguest by not, you know, napping all day. I have absolutely no appetite, so the entire weekend consists of me ordering food and then eating about a third of it. This culminates at the vegetarian restaurant where I order a delicious big salad ("crispy tofu cubes" might sound effing disgusting, but they really just taste like deep-fried nothing, and trust me, you don't think you're in the mood for deep-fried nothing, but you totally are) and, yummy as it is, I barely finish half of it. The waitress is all, "Wrap this up for you, then?" and when I say no thanks, this poor girl does not know what to do. "You mean you...don't want it? Wrapped up? I don't...what? I don't understand." I start to freak because this is the vegetarian place, and wasting food is probably up there with taking a huge bite of a live lamb. "No, no! It was delicious! I'm just...finished. Not hungry. Even though it was very good and tasty! I'm sorry you have to go out back and compost my salad. I don't know any better!" Fucking wasteful American, that's me!

So that's a lot of my weekend. No apetite. No energy, to the point where I was unable to keep up with Sarah and Tara on a Queen St. shopping excursion. No, that's a total lie. I could have been made of PowerBars and Red Bull and still not have been able to keep up with those two. I think at one point I wound up sitting on a comfy chair and reading a book about big hair. That's not even a joke. It was a fun weekend -- any weekend involving The Death of the Incredible Hulk has to be considered a raging success -- but there was still this nagging concern about me going through The Change. Hot and cold. Hot and cold. I've got the fucking flu.

I get home and lie down for about a year. My head hurts. My stomach hurts. I can't eat. I can't sleep, at least not comfortably. I do wind up with a few interesting fringe benefits as a result of what ended up being seven days of misery. For one thing, no appetite for a week means I lost some weight. Mostly in my face which, combined with a week of not shaving, gave me that nice "Day 36 on Survivor" look. The coolest thing, though, was that somehow, be it by not eating or by sweating out all my electrolytes, my senses of taste and smell became crazily heightened. I smelled chicken wings that had been eaten and thrown away, like, a week ago. "What the fuck is that smell?" Oh, you mean this celery stalk? "I can smell it from the basement!" The sense of taste was even weirder. I had such a sensitivity to salt. Like, a plate of cheese and crackers was the equivalent of licking a pretzel factory. I lost it after a few days, but for a while there I was enjoying being an X-Man. They called me "Tastebud" and I joined up with the Magneto terrorist mutants. Mostly because Famke Janssen is pretty.

So last week, at long last, flu's over. I'm still a little sore, probably from all the laying around and not doing stuff. And my throat's a little raw, but that's probably nothing. So's that dull pain in my jaw and ear emanating from my throat. Just after-effects, right? Just the last few remnants of flu sticking around. Just...strep throat. Strep. Throat. I wound up having a fucking beehive protruding into my gullet, like a reverse goiter. The production necessary to just swallow a sip of water was the height of physical comedy. Hey, way to go, immune system. One measly bout with the flu and you leave the barn door open for strep? I'm totally knocking y'all down a pay grade. Finally, the last straw having been placed, I went to the doctor. Who gave me pills! Beautiful little pills! Free beautiful little pills! Thank you, pharmaceutical salespeople! They worked within a day. Kind of makes bed rest and Vitamin C look like a couple of chumps, huh? Sadly, the strep didn't give me any super-powers, besides the ability to call off work in a single bound.

So I'm all better and ready to start blogging again. I know, right? Breathe that sigh of relief! Barring any sudden case of malaria or rubella or whatever, I look forward to being disease-free for the summer. You hear that, avian flu? Disease-free. You better step off.


aaron the bootleg guy said...

Sweet fancy Moses, this was the single funniest thing I've read since I stopped reading my own material.

1.) "I hear (flu shots) make you sick anyway..." Jesus Christ, Joe, are you serious or did you slip into Abe Simpson voice for a second, there? I half expected you to type "that raccoon stole my lamb chop", immediately afterwards. I'd love to hear your dissertation on 'cooties' in your next post.

2.) "Puffs"? As in the tissue with lotion? Pfft...pussy.

3.) And, you're eating salads as meals instead of as a hamburger topping, as Allah intended? "Hollywood" Joe Reid lives! Meet you at the oxygen bar in 20, 'K?!

4.) C'mon, Joe. "Sarah" and "Tara"? You can't be serious. Could you not secure the rights from Fox to name your imaginary friends "Sherri" and "Terri"? (I have it on good authority that one of them likes you.)

5.) So, you dropped 10 lbs. of face weight? Is there such an animal as a "gaunt Buffaloan"? You people are perennial top 10 contenders in "America's Fattest City" rankings every year, pushing and shoving with Philadelphia, Houston and Milwaukee. You're throwing off the curve, you bastard!

6.) Umm...I live in California. I've lived here all my life. We don't have basements, as we don't need the 100 sq. feet equivalent of hiding under our bed from the inclement weather. Know your audience, Joe.

(Seriously, this was HEE-larious. I wish nothing plague and pestilence upon you if it results in posts like these.)

Sticky Keys said...

Thank you, pharmaceutical salespeople!

Pharma Reps are like Santa Claus for adults, only, you know... real.

I have gotten so many free meds during the great "Death Run (as in, away) of Fall 2005" from wonderfully awesome pharma reps.

I know there's a clause in their contract that somehow they are associated with the Devil, but I'm a good God-fearing girl, BRING IT ON!

ps. I know that Time Warner Cable is the incarnation of evil that even Satan himself cannot control, but I light a candle every night in honor of my DVR. Seriously Joe, jump on that.

And I don't know that you had the flu as much as you had anorexia. You're a beautiful butterfly Joer, don't go all Emma Nelson from Degrassi on us.

Sticky Keys said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tara said...

Aaron: Hey! I do so exist.

Joe: I had no idea you were sick. Had I known...well, I'm not going to say we would have not shopped on Sunday. But we would have put you in a cab.

Joe R. said...

Are you kidding? I consider that a badge of honor. I'm still waiting for my t-shirt, HINT!

Judi said...

Mostly in my face which, combined with a week of not shaving, gave me that nice "Day 36 on Survivor" look.

Awesome. I'm glad you're doing better!!!