Warning: As you might guess from the title, this post is not for the weak-stomached. Elder Brother, turn away now.
At 3:30 AM Monday, I suspected I was in trouble. Rarely do I awaken with the desire to toss cookies (that usually comes after watching a political debate) but there I was, lying in bed, with that awful suspicion that vomiting would follow consciousness at some point. I made preparations, so the trash can was ready when the moment came.
I'd like to pause and reiterate that tacos, however delicious going down, are not nearly so coming up.
Adults know a calm follows the first round of vomiting (usually), so I had time to clean up, move the bag to the outside trash bin, blow my nose, sip a little water - you know, prepare for Round Two.
There's always a Round Two. Your stomach knows its unhappy. Round One gets rid of most of it, but Round Two finishes the job. Normally. This time was odd because Round Two took two hours to erupt. I ejected the bit of water I'd swallowed, the rest of the tacos, some of Sunday's lunch, I'm sure, and that should have been the end of it.
I texted Mom that I was sick, asked for some clear soda, unlocked the back door and went to bed.
By Round Three, another two hours later, I was in trouble. The trip outside was harder. My limbs were shaking. Dehydration was setting in. I had nothing more to expel, yet my stomach would not stop trying. I drank water in the hopes some of it would absorb before the next round. Stupid me should have texted mom that I was worse than previously indicated, but I didn't. I was likely already more than a little out of it.
Mom came with the soda, left it on the porch as requested and went on with her day. She never saw me or she would have dashed into the kitchen and called an ambulance on the spot, I'm sure.
I woke up on the kitchen floor about 10 minutes after her departure. I'd gotten out of bed to fetch the soda and ice chips from the porch and fainted, apparently. I couldn't even turn over to crawl. How fitting for the Turtle. Flat on my back and down for the count.
My phone was in the bedroom a million miles away. The back door was locked (I'd managed that stupidity before fainting - joy!). I lay on the kitchen floor in my nightshirt in my 64 degree house and the heat bled out of me. To top it off, Round Four presented itself.
As I threw up into a towel I keep in the kitchen to dry the dog during rain storms, I realized I had a very good chance of aspirating on my own vomit. How ignominious. Considering all the puking I've done in my life, to die that way was really too much.
Remembering that episode of Firefly "Out of Gas" when Mal gets shot yet has to repair Serenity's engines, I pulled myself upright enough to unlock the door. Good. Mom could get in. I might be dead, but she wouldn't have to break the glass.
Keeping the kitchen counter at my back, I found the bag of ice chips and sucked a couple down. Hopefully, I wouldn't aspirate on those. The dog finally came by to stare at me. How I wish I'd trained her to fetch a cell phone. Or drag me somewhere on command.
Obviously, I lived. I made it to the bed, and the phone. Mom and Little Sister came and got some fluid into me. I refused a trip to the hospital. My last bout of dehydration-inducing vomiting cost $900, two bags of saline and an IV phobia.
The rest of the story, and the explanation of the title, will come tomorrow. I'm out of space and time today. Kinda like when I was on the floor in the kitchen. Surreal, that was.
Happy Wednesday, dear readers. Try to keep it in your stomachs, OK?