I recently saw a joke on Facebook that went along these lines, that cute toddler offering you a biscuit is not an adorable child. It’s stomach flu.
Despite the absence of biscuit-bearing toddlers – cute, adorable, or any other flavour – I managed to get a gastric virus recently. I was one very sick puppy, and I’ve been out of action for an entire week.
It’s hardly the stuff of blog posts, but I am still in such shock at how badly it took me down, that I feel the need to share with my virtual friends.
I’d been unwell, sleeping in broken bouts in the spare room for two nights, when chest pains began in the early hours of the second. As luck would have it, Bill was to be away golfing, so in the morning he looked in on me, dosed me up on paracetamol, popped in to a neighbour to alert her, and took off with her husband to go chase a white ball.
Fast forward to late-morning, and the chest pains were so severe I activated our emergency call button (all apartments in our over-55 resort are fitted with these) and texted the neighbour. She was up within moments, and the ambulance wasn’t too far behind.
A funny thing happened on the way to the
forum hospital. The driver was flagged down by someone on the opposite side of the street. Turns out a lady had collapsed in the road, and passersby had moved her to the footpath and called an ambulance. We were there for some time while she was assisted before her paramedics arrived. Clearly my guys didn’t think I was dying – yet – and they’d already given me a shot to stop the vomiting plus two rounds of morphine, so I was comfortable (kind of), but still very, very unwell.
Eight hours later I was discharged from hospital with a list of things I wasn’t suffering from. I’d been cleared of a heart attack. Their best guess was “reflux”.
Not that I was thinking in alarmist terms, but by this time I’d told anyone who’d listen that my brother died of esophageal cancer last year. So they’d pegged digestive illness as a family trait.
I thought that was the end of it, but no. When the injection wore off the tummy started up again, and later, the chest pains. This time, rather than the ambulance, I asked for the “radio doctor”. It’s an out-of-hours home-call general practitioner service. She pretty quickly gave me the gastric virus diagnosis, and the blessed injection with a follow up pill for when it wore off.
I’d say that doctor hit the nail on the head. My lovely neighbour, the one who came to my aid, administered comfort, and cleaned up after me, came down with a 24 hour version. Some years ago we were “bunion buddies” having that surgery together. Another time, while travelling together, she had to take me to hospital in Split with similar symptoms to above. And now, this. We are such close friends 🙂 At least she can laugh about it.
Some days before I got sick, a friend visited and set me up with his Netflix account. Once I felt a bit better, but not yet well, I lolled on the lounge binge-watching The Crown, starting from the first series. I’ve almost finished Series 3.
So what am I left with now? Weakness, lethargy, and blurred vision. A taste for soft-boiled eggs with processed white bread. A fear that I must be getting old, since I didn’t rally easily. And a tendency to slip into an upper-class British accent circa mid-20th century.
Last night I ate food that required chewing for the first time in seven days. In honour of one of our American residents, eighty-five of us became her family for a Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, vegetables and pumpkin pie. It was nice to have a little taste of each, but I was careful not to go mad.
She invited us to reflect on what we are thankful for at this time in our lives; and I think this post demonstrates my thoughts.
I’m thankful to live in a society where there is an ambulance when you call. To have a hospital ready to receive you, and who doesn’t discharge you until they are satisfied it is safe to do so. To have doctors who are prepared to come to the house and administer practical advice and relief. To have the type of medical system where those choices are not dependent on your ability to pay. To have friends who are ready to get sick on your account. To have supportive neighbours who raid their pantry to find something you feel like eating (you know who you are). To have a dear friend who sensed I was unwell, and rang to check on me.
And most of all, as she re-assured me, I am thankful to be certain: this too, shall pass.