Monday, November 29, 2004

Am I Still Here?

Something about catching a vague virus when the first crushing wave of cold weather arrives seems to separate me from myself.

First, Daring Dayton caught it two Friday's ago. The poor little mite! One minute he was wolfing down his macaroni and cheese, and warm wheat tortilla, with a happy grin on his face, and not a few pieces of each flung across the dining room. The next minute, it explosively reappeared all over his booster chair tray table, his fuzzy blue jacket, and his mother, who was sadly not out of range. Tears coursed down his cheeks and his lower lip curled down in a way that has to be seen to be believed. And the volume! The amount that comes back out of a little baby is shocking.

Within minutes, Daring Dayton was happily thumping around the living room/dining room/kitchen as though nothing had happened. Nothing did for a couple hours, until we tried to give him a bottle. That came back out all over his mother again. This time, it finally got a grip on him, and he was only able to stare listessly at the Lidless Eye for the rest of the evening. Even mother's milk would not stay down his gizzard. The tired little buccaneer finally crapped out around 10, but not before vomiting in our bed. Wow. A fragrant night was had by all.

He was over it by late the next day. Having sung the O'Roark Chorus a couple of more times Saturday morning. The household was calm and happy all the rest of that Saturday. Cal beat Stanford, and peace reigned on the ranchos and haciendas all across The Land.

The next day, just about dinner time, my wife came over queasy and within half an hour, lunch was bouncing off the roof of her mouth on its way out the front door. Not long after, some other clever microbes beat it our the back door. The poor woman was incapacitated in nothing flat. My evening was spent trying to get Daring Dayton to go back to sleep, and watching waves of nausea wash over my wife, for whom I could do not one damn thing.

The following day, Monday, I stayed home from work to help out at home. It was mercifully calm,with just a couple of brief, brutal episodes for my wife. All was then well through Wednesday at Noon.

I went to the gym feeling fine, but a bit foul from what I thought was a couple of rich pastires consumed during a morning staff meeting. They didn't seem to have been digested. I just thought I'd eaten too fast and hadn't had enough water to wash them down. No problem, I thought. A good workout will see it all through. I planned to work out extra hard with the four day Thanksgiving weekend providing plenty of time for recovery.

Silly me. Everything was harder than it should've been. The pastries repeated on me throughout the session. Lunch held no pleasure, and repeated on me all afternoon. I felt as though everything I'd eaten that day was still sitting packed against my pyloric valve. By the time I walked back to me car, everything hurt.

Oh joy. It was coming to get me. I haven't vomited in almost 40 years, and I didn't want to break the string.

Just that day, the first brutal cold wave hit. Though we spent Thanksgiving at home, with a small dinner, I felt oddly separated from everything. My mind was being carried around the house in a vessel of some kind, control of which was being effected elsewhere. I was just along for the ride. This feeling was never more profound than the following Monday when I walked to work. The cold was absolutely painful...not for anyone from anywheree north and east of here. However, I am a mediterranean climate guy through and through. Temperatures in the high 30s put me in a frozen semi-crouch as I shamble along the sidewalks.

I recall coming downhill through a particularly beautiful part of the lower Berkeley Hills. My face hurt with the cold, and I cursed myself roundly for not wearing a hat. Someone steered me into Peet's coffee, where I normally would never go, because even Peet's coffee is hot and they have these fruit and oatmeal breakfast bars.... Some moments later I was disgorged from Peet's, happily leaving behind a mob of chattering Berkeleyites. I was directed on toward my office on campus. I am normally very aware of my body and how it's reacting to the moment. I have excellent recall of how particular actions felt, but I don't recall having any impression of any of it on this walk. I was running on impulse power...George was flying the plane...I was directed by the Larger Mind...I was without sensation. I was watching the day unfold through the lens of some camera that was projecting onto my mind's eye.

The cold remains. Do I?


Blogger Don said...

Damn, dude, when you want to you write mighty finely. Mi-T-Fine! Clearly a horrible disease was coursing through your household but your stalwart constitution, bred of hardy men inured to the cold wet winds of the Irish Sea and the sea lanes of the Hebrides, held it well enough at bay. Good deal. We flirted with illness but all were well by the cruise ... about which I may not blog much, as my wife reads the thing and all I can think of to remark upon are those few passengers who were a) female and b) mind-bendingly fine. Oh, there weren't many, but it only takes one. Gahd.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Why...thank'ee most kindly, har har! Garn! One of my hopes for this thing is to reactivate the long dormant chops, which weren't that sharp to begin with. Fortunately, my constitution inherited from my seafaring forebearers has dashed the pesty virus from my system. Thus I can get me to the gym and burn off a smidgen of wasteful consumption.

Watch out for those cruise ship vacations. They cause fantasy to run amok. Tuck thou thine orbs back into thy skull and rock on with the business at hand...whatever that may be.

10:38 AM  
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7:40 AM  

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