Seeing a bucket by the bed is never a good sign, but that has been my reality over the last five days. It all started Thursday afternoon, just before Joan and I were to go out to share a turkey dinner with friends. As I was getting ready, my stomach suddenly began sending me signals that things were not as they should be. Since I had been looking forward to this get together and meal for a week, I ignored the warnings and we drove over to our friend’s house.
We had just gotten out of the car and were standing in the lawn conversing with our friends in the beautiful fall afternoon, when suddenly my stomach got back to me with an urgent message. I calmly told our friends that I was feeling sick, excused myself, and quickly headed down a hill to a small grove of conifers growing at edge of their property beside a field. I anticipated an immediate expulsion of material orally, but as soon as I got behind the trees, I realized that my body had chosen an alternative route.
Luckily, I got my pants down in the nick of time. I was feeling very vulnerable as I squatted, steadying myself with a fence post, both cold and sweating profusely at the same time. After a few brutal bouts, I was feeling extremely weak. I waited for the volcano to quiet and for me to restore some strength, then I called out Joan to explain and she brought me some paper towels.
By this time, our friends had been joined by a third couple who had been invited to the meal. I pulled up my pants, tidied up the mess I had made, then trying to assume some semblance of dignity, I climbed back up the hill, explaining from the distance that I had to go home. I got into the car and left. Joan would enjoy the meal and be driven home afterwards.
I was feeling faint, but figured I would be able to drive home. I started down the long driveway, when my body sent me another urgent message. This time it had decided to do the expulsion via the mouth. I quickly stopped, opened the door, crawled out of the car, and let go--certainly not the evening I had anticipated and it wasn’t over yet.
Alone at home, I crawled into bed full of fear, and waited to see what was next. I didn’t have to wait too long, because I soon began sweating copiously, and was chilled and felt faint. When the next alert arrived, I rushed down the steps to the bathroom, kneeled before the toilet, and let nature take its course. Time after time, it did. I was so weak and faint I had to lie down on the bathroom floor during the intervals in between, so that I wouldn’t collapse.
Throughout most of my life, my body lets me pretend that I am in control. It tells me what it would like, and I try to respond in a way that will keep it happy by supplying those things. However, every once in a while, whenever accidents or sickness occur, my body, without any room for compromise, informs me who is really in charge. Because I am a pretty laid back and tolerant person, I am always surprised at just how violent and forcefully my body can be, when it urgently needs to do something. When those times occur it doesn’t really matter what I have to say about the matter.
When this whole business first happened, I assumed that I had food poisoning and that it would all be over once that contaminate had been eliminated. However after a day or two, when I thought I was getting over it and tried to eat as normal, my body again got back to me in the same violent ways. Now I figure I have the stomach flu, and that can last up to 10 days.
I have decided not to get too pushy toward my body, and plan to give it plenty of space. I am being really hardcore about what I am putting into my stomach, just water, Gatoraide (for electrolyte replacement), white toast, and applesauce. I am feeling pretty normal today, but I was also feeling pretty normal a couple of days ago, when the second go-around occurred. Hopefully this too shall pass, and my body will soon get back to making me think that I am in charge.
You can view my paintings at: www.davidmarchant.ca