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I am alive--just barely

My recent extreme illness doesn't hold a candle to the plight of a friend of mine, but that doesn't really make me feel much better. I haven't had much contact with people lately, not real quality contact, anyway, and I'm mildly lonely in a very passive and almost comfortable way. That's not on the part of other people--that's solely my inability to snap out of this miserable condition. Kelsye and I went out briefly--was that Monday night?--and I feel bad for letting her get me out of Kotoen because I ended up spending an impotent half hour in the bathroom. I couldn't even pee. I felt like I had to do something, but nothing would happen. I'm falling apart. I feel like things are speeding up, like I'm racing toward some mystery finish line, but I'm pretty sure this is the wrong event--I can be a distance runner! don't kill me yet!--and I'm supposed to be over there with the beefy girls in the shotput circle. (I have killer biceps.)

Here's my fabulous week (it's graphic, so I don't recommend eating while you read, although it's pretty tame....for me, anyway):

5:30am - Sunday: get up after only a few hours' sleep, go to the bathroom, hover half-standing Chinese-fire-drill style, waiting to see which end is going to produce first. Top wins. Retch for a while. Go back to bed.

12:30pm - Sunday: wake up with what you think is gas and ends up being rancid diarrhea. Use hands to protect pj's. Finish the job after dancing awkwardly to the bathroom. Wonder vaguely if this is what old age is going to be like. Convince yourself otherwise for sanity reasons. Clean up. Go back to bed with jeans on because apparently lord knows it's easier to pick shit out of denim. (?)

1:00pm - Sunday: call the fam and talk for awhile. Realize there's nothing in your apartment to eat. Nap on and off for a few hours, watch a movie or two. Fight the good fight and keep down the crackers and medicine and Mitsuya Cider Kelsye was an angel to pick up for you. Wonder at how Mitsuya Cider tasted like ass the last time you had it 3 or 4 years ago, but it tastes like the nectar of the gods now. Attribute that to starvation/ dehydration. Wish for more Mitsuya Cider. Wait for a minute, then realize that it's not going to manifest like you had hoped it would. Give up and drink water instead.

10:42pm - Sunday: finally fall asleep.


6:14pm - Monday: wake up. Look at your watch. Wonder if it's am or pm. Realize that you've slept almost 20 hours. TWENTY HOURS. Decide that something is probably very wrong with you. Make a quick escape to the bathroom. Get a phone call from Kelsye, asking you to hang out. Take her up on the offer because you've lied to yourself through your teeth twice (once going out, once coming in) that you're all better now. Notice that you're extremely drowsy in spite of the day and a half's worth of sleep and can hardly talk because your tongue is dry and keeps sticking to the insides of your mouth. Make for terrible company. Spend most of your time in the bathroom (partly because you thought you had entered the men's bathroom by mistake, partly because nothing was happening). End up making an early night of it and coming home and upping the aloe yogurt you downed once you got home. [Note to self: pay Kelsye back for dinner.]

The rest of the week sort of follows the same pattern: a long-standing stint hovering over the toilet, broken only by the occasional bout of sleep or food or internet. The diarrhea stops on Tuesday, but the vomiting continues as far as this morning. Nearly pass out on Tuesday afternoon and spend the evening at Kelsye's watching both Unico movies and The Dark Crystal, which is good because that's probably what helps you keep down most of your food. And that in turn keeps you from losing consciousness completely. Spend this morning puking and having really bad--really bad--heart fits like you haven't had since having heart surgery back in high school.

The whole out-of-body distance, the delay of the reception and process of external stimuli, the racing heartbeat when you've been sitting for hours. The tunnel vision and the very real knowledge that you can die, you know? your body doesn't age, but that doesn't make you immortal. The tingling in the fingers in toes as unnecessary functions shut down to keep blood pumping to the vital circuits. Even I noticed that I was whiter than my jacket. That my pupils were dilated. I noticed the dilation two days ago, but I didn't make the connection between that and my heart until today. I shone a bright light in my eyes and my pupils reacted--slowly--so I figured I was fine. When I told Carolyn about it, she said that she had noticed it.

I think the most interesting thing about all of this has been to see how quickly my body has fallen apart without food. (I'm such a glutton for observation. It doesn't matter what's wrong with me or how bad it is, there's always a part of me standing aside, taking an objective view of things.) I haven't been able to keep much down, so it's sort of like I've been on a semi-starvation diet for the past several days. They always tell you [high, nasal Monty Python voice]: "You can't live for more than 5 days without food." And I'm starting to believe them. I've actually been getting some stuff down, and still I'm on death's door. I didn't take my Concerta this morning because I thought it'd finish my heart off right then and there. I had the WORST time getting to work today because my heart kept trying to make me pass out. I was breathing so hard and the rain was pounding against my jacket and the wind was blowing my umbrella around, taking me with it crisscrossing the road and nearly killing me. And through everything, my field of vision continued to narrow until I thought I'd end up left for dead beside a green bike at the base of a purple newly-blooming plum tree. (How poetic! How Japanese!)

Wow. I just got it. "Monty Python." Hahahahaha.

I made it to work and did nothing and went to the health clinic and was told what I told them: stress is making me ill. The doctor really pissed me off--he was sort of condescending and kept explaining things I didn't understand using THE EXACT SAME WORDS EVERY TIME LIKE I WOULD MAGICALLY UNDERSTAND THEM AFTER SAYING THEM 80 MILLION TIMES GOOD LORD. I mean, honestly. He didn't even alter his sentence order or anything. He just changed his intonation a little, like that would make me suddenly magically understand Japanese. No, I don't know words like esophagus or anal-retentive jerk in a white coat who thinks he's ALL that. I was also totally confused when I first started explaining what was going on because he kept talking about tranquilizers. What the hell does that have to do with diarrhea? Ends up he wanted to give me tranquilizers to help with the stress and thus get rid of the stomach problems. Once I understood his rather ginormous leap in logic, things were smooth-sailing from there, but it was rough in the beginning. I mean, I'm right-brained and I couldn't follow where he was going. Plus, the constant tunnel-vision didn't help much. I couldn't hear what he was saying most of the time.

Okay, I'm getting sick about writing about all of this. (Har har.) I lost quite a bit of weight (mostly water, I'd assume), and I think I managed to gain it all back while eating crackers this afternoon.

When I have an actual stretch of free time that isn't spend sleeping for days, I plan on posting the entries I wrote while I was in Hokkaido, as well as the pictures I took while I was there.

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