I never understood this phrase. I’ve seen a lot of dogs barf, but afterward they are usually quite chipper and ready to play. I have never been ready to play after being sprawled in front of the toilet/sink/bathtub for an hour. I’m usually ready to sleep, or possibly roll around on the floor pathetically. If the term was, “Sick as a Leper” I might be more understanding.
I started feeling strange on Wednesday morning. I have a generally strong immune system, so feeling sick is an uncommon affair. I did not present with the normal symptoms of sickness, but instead felt strangely detached, almost “floaty” if you will. The closest thing I can relate it to is the late stages of a hangover or the early stages of a pain killer high. Either way, it was quite unsettling and made it very hard to focus on anything. I went through my workday pretending I was fine, trying to remember what spreadsheet I was looking at, forgetting, and having to remember again. I was confused as to actually how confused I was. I was in a bad way, but did not even know it.
My mind would not focus on the things I needed it to, instead I would begin to remember things from my distant childhood that made no sense in my given situation. I remembered a small playhouse that my sister and I had played in and a big spider that had made a nest near my water guns. A brief flash of a rat eating a Snickers bar at a terminal in Baltimore-Washington International airport shot into my brain, and was gone just as quickly. I even at one point remembered things from events that I had made up in writing or exaggeration. It felt like Salvador Dali had ripped a hole in my brain with a knife made of chocolate covered bumble bees.
I had made myself a promise to go for a run that day, in an attempt to negate the beer I drank over the weekend. Despite the strangeness of my aura, I donned my running attire and began to stretch. The sun seemed ridiculously overbearing, and my already rampaging mind made loose connections to Camus. I began to jog my normal circuit, but quickly realized I should not be exerting myself in any way, given my current state. My mind continued its frantic wandering, while my legs screamed in lactic objection. I finished a mile and a half before my body painfully demanded I stop.
Instead of continuing and completing another circuit, my exhausted mind decided to cut across a piece of grassland that separated two office buildings. It seemed a good plan; I would run about 1/3 of the circuit, return to my car and rest. My mind reached for the shade of the nearby trees, but my legs kept a straight and true path across the grass. About 10 paces in, my right foot sank – ankle deep – into a nasty bog. I surveyed the land around me. In my stupor, I had to failed to notice that this “grassland” was not in fact solid, but a mire of awful smelling water. I daintily crossed to the other side, attempting not to step in any more of the foul liquid.
Sweaty, exhausted, sort-of-high and stinking like a swamp, I managed to make it back to my office. I pulled my soggy shoes off and threw them in the back of my car. I drove, or floated, to pick up Tiffany from the Metro then somehow all the way home. I was completely lucid, but definitely not the person I usually recognize as myself.
At home, the feeling continued and made the entire evening very surreal. I believe we were watching “Hoarders” on TV, but I may be blurring one of the previous evenings into this one. The next logical thought was that drinking a beer might settle my brain. One Stella Artois later, I was ready to pull a Rip Van Winkle. I mumbled something incoherently to Tiffany and glided peacefully up the stairs.
The last thing I remember is trying to read the Transition of Juan Romero and thinking I was in Mexico. I may have also heard thunder, or read about thunder, one of the two. The next 8 hours involved some of the most vivid, border-line hallucinogenic dreams I have ever experienced in my short life. I was at one point searching from a Troll doll in a dessert (yes, like a giant hot fudge sundae), at another arguing IT with several of my bosses, present and prior, in a hotel swimming pool. The content of the dreams was not any more random than usual, but the sheer reality of the whole thing made me unsure what was waking and what was not.
I woke up to Tiffany’s lovely face, assuming it was another dream about waking from a dream. I slowly realized it was the real reality, not the weird time-loop one from the night before. Tiffany asked me if I felt well enough to go to work. I think I responded with nearly inaudible whimpers. My head still felt detached from my body and I was incredibly hot. I crawled to my computer, and apparently (even though I still don’t remember) sent an email to my supervisors telling them I wouldn’t be coming in. I promptly passed back out of consciousness but do remember Tiffany kissing me goodbye for the day.
The rest of the day was full of more confusion and dream-laden sleep. I went to eat breakfast, and mixed two kinds of cereal together, for no real reason. After Tiffany suggested I drink some lemonade for Vitamin C, I almost poured myself a glass of white wine. I attempted to play a video game on my computer, but only managed to open 10 instances of the same program without realizing what I was doing. I decided bed was the safest place for me. I spent the next 11 hours watching 15 minutes segments of random TV shows while slipping in and out of my strange coma. I really have no idea what else I did on Thursday.
It was not until 10:00 PM that I regained some level of mental composure. I informed Tiff of my crazy dreams. She very kindly nodded, smiled and gasped in disbelief at the appropriate times. She’s pretty awesome; most people would think I was just out of my mind. I fell asleep again at 11:30 PM and slept all through the night, remembering only a few crazy dream/nightmares this time.
I woke up this morning feeling mostly human. I was all reattached in the proper places and could actually focus on things for more than 2 seconds. I excitedly prepared for work; not because work is exciting, but because I didn’t feel half-way to zombification for the first time in ~40 hours. I put on one of my favorite shirts, grabbed my other work junk and skipped out the door to my car.
I opened the driver’s side door.
My nose was hit with a smell more rancorous than the set of the Sex and the City movie.
My swamp shoes were still in the trunk of my car and had been for 2 whole days; in direct sunlight plus 90 degree weather.
I may need a new pair of running shoes.