I had a few good days last week. Not because I didn’t have pain – assume until I tell you otherwise that I live every minute of my life in pain – but because I was able to spend time with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I made the effort to make sure those hang outs happened. I rested on the days leading up to all the activity. Actually, I napped a lot because otherwise I might not have had the energy to do the things I wanted to do with my friends.
I started by hanging out with my friend ‘P’ on Friday evening. I’ve known her since kindergarten. It amazes me at times that we have managed to maintain a connection that started when we were five. That’s not to say we haven’t lost touch at various points over the years, but we always reconnect in the strangest ways. Right now I’m just happy she tracked me down about five years ago. I enjoy spending time with her because she’s always positive and has a smile that can light up the darkest day. It amazes me that I’ve known her for so long and she’s still the same person: honest to a fault and funny as hell.
P knows what foods I crave, but can’t go out to get for myself, so she brought me some treats. She also took me out for a short drive so I could run an errand, and on the way back we picked up ice cream. We spent the bulk of the evening sitting in my living room eating, chatting and laughing. It felt good and I felt normal for a few hours.
On Saturday I was still feeling positive, and I was single-minded about my plan to go to a movie and dinner with my friend ‘J’. I’ve known J for about a decade and she has been an incredible support to me since my illness arrived. Unfortunately, in the last month or so I’ve had to cancel our plans repeatedly because of my pain. Last week I decided that I was going to go out with J no matter what.
I was up early on Saturday morning – I didn’t sleep much on Friday night so I’m not sure if saying I was up early is accurate – and just before 10:00 AM I started to feel extremely tired. I was being overcome by the need to take a morning nap and started to feel anxious that I might not make it out the door for the day. To solidify our plans I sent J a message and we picked a time for the movie. With that done I set my alarm so I would wake up with enough lead time to get showered and dressed and rest a bit before the movie.
This time out J let me pick the movie. We got lost for a few hours in Cinderella. We enjoyed it. Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of the wicked stepmother was outstanding. After the movie we went for dinner at a restaurant that is a short walk from my apartment. I ordered a hamburger, which is a big deal for me because I generally don’t eat beef – or other red meats – but since my illness arrived I’ll eat just about anything when I have the appetite to eat. While we were waiting for our meals to arrive my evening medication alarm went off. I took my pills then focused on enjoying a meal and conversation with J.
After dinner the plan was to walk J to her car that was parked across the street. As we started crossing the street I was overwhelmed by a wave of nausea. I was certain I was going to vomit, but nothing came up. As we continued walking toward the car my stomach turned again and again nothing came up. J became very concerned and decided that it might be best if she walked me home and stayed with me until I felt better. I wouldn’t feel better for hours.
When we got to my apartment the nausea reached a high. I started to dry heave. At one point I actually vomited in my mouth a bit. J’s concern climbed. She wondered if I might have eaten too much in a short space of time (popcorn, a large Coke, peanut M&Ms, a hamburger, and fries) or if the nausea might be a reaction to my medications. She got me a bowl from the kitchen so I didn’t have to keep getting up to go into the bathroom each time I heaved. She checked my temperature to rule out the possibility that I might have a fever that could be an indication of a bug or some other infection. It was normal. Then she started to wonder if she should take me to the hospital emergency room – a valid concern considering my not at all straightforward illness. I decided against the emergency room and continued to sit in my living room heaving into my stainless steel mixing bowl for another hour.
Around 10:00 PM when it was clear that I wasn’t going to vomit and I had no other worrying symptoms, I told J she should go home. She was a bit reluctant to leave me alone. Before she left she made sure I had everything I needed (water, juice, and a blanket). And she asked me to send her a message after I took the last dose of my medications before going to bed because she was worried that I might vomit them up, which would probably mean a visit to the hospital emergency room would be necessary later that night. Thankfully I did not vomit up my medications and the dry heaving came to a halt around 11:30 PM.
I can almost laugh about this now because, except for the dry heaving on Saturday night, I did have an enjoyable weekend. Sometimes I feel it is crazy how unpredictable my life has become, but if I’m being honest with myself that’s not true. Life is never predictable. Even when we’re healthy life throws unexpected things our way. And just like when I was dry heaving on Saturday night, we deal need to deal with the unexpected by taking deep breaths and hoping for the best.
Good Times – Chic (1979)