You can’t say “pee” and “poop” to your friends


I was a sickly child. I’m a sickly adult.

Allergies. Migraines. Delicate stomach. Weak ankles. Anxiety. Problems sleeping. Snoring loudly. Frequent cavities. Arthritis. Mild carpal tunnel. A pinched disc. Colds that last 6+ weeks. And many many other things.

I get sick a lot. I stay sick longer than is usually expected for the malady I’m suffering. And I’m not exaggerating for attention. In my life, being sick is a nuisance, not something that garners special attention.

I’m sick right now. I’ve been sick for nearly a week. I’m really tired of being sick.

I really need to put “sick” into perspective to help you understand here. I’ve had relentless nausea, fever, chills, all of my muscles ache, cramps, my head hurts, I’m exhausted beyond words, wooziness that comes and goes, and I’m having issues concentrating. I’m somewhat aware of what day it is, but I couldn’t remember my phone password earlier.

Can you tell why they tested me for the flu at urgent care? BTW, I don’t have the flu. I also don’t have any of the other things that normally cause these symptoms. And the symptoms I haven’t mentioned here are flummoxing the medical professionals. I’m sick and none of the treatments they’ve given me have worked so far. I’m sick and I’m not actually getting better.

But as I sit here, drinking what I think is my 10th bottle of water today, shivering, squinting against the glare on the computer, I’ve decided to share some things I’ve learned from being a sickly adult (recently and not-so-recently). If you’re easily grossed out, you may want to abandon the post right here.

  • You can only use the words “pee” and “poop” with close family members and medical professionals. I don’t care how close your friends are, there is always going to be long-term embarrassment around conversations with those words.
  • Most people really think I don’t already know that the need to go pee every 20 minutes isn’t normal. Yes, I’m aware it’s bizarre. No, I don’t want to discuss it. Your need to bring it up is only going to embarrass me. It’s also going to ensure that I never go out with you anywhere ever again. (And it’s not really every 20 minutes, but some days it’s not much of an exaggeration.)
  • After 5+ days of severe constipation, diarrhea counts as a bowel movement.
  • After 5+ days of severe constipation, bowel movements are going to hurt. There’s no way around it.
  • I can’t do an enema on myself. Finding someone to do an enema on you is a test of true love.
  • You can’t get in for an appointment with your regular doctor in less than a week. Give it up. It’s not going to happen.
  • Urgent care is only good for a very few items. They’re almost always going to tell you to go to the ER or to see your primary care physician. Make sure you know how much the visit is going to cost you before you go.
  • Vaseline is my new best friend.
  • Nausea could be a form of torture.
  • It’s possible not to remember the last time you ate.
  • Modesty becomes optional the worse you feel. I walked from my room to the bathroom without pants or even underwear — yelling that no one should look. It’s possible that the dogs were sitting outside my room at that point, but I’m not sure.
  • It’s possible to sleep comfortably on the bathroom floor with enough towels.
  • There is nothing on television, but it doesn’t matter. If you’re actually sick, you’re not going to stay awake to watch whatever is on.

There’s more. I know there’s more. I’m just too tired to keep typing.

Aren’t you better yet?

Aren't you better yet? I'm feeling like I've been sick forever. ( got sick and I’m still sick. Why can’t they just make it go away?

Last Tuesday I woke up sick. There wasn’t any real indication that I should expect it. I went to sleep well and woke up hacking up a lung. It was seasonal allergies, I’m pretty sure. And I treated it with the regular over-the-counter medications. And I got worse.

Almost immediately I saw my energy level go down and my attention span disappear. My billable hours went down down down.

On Thursday I had to “go into work” to cover a client event. I was miserable all evening, but made it through the night. But I knew, halfway through the evening, that I was going to pay for working an event where I had to yell to be heard over the DJ and had to go out into the cool winter air.

On Friday I woke up with my throat feeling like I’d swallowed cut glass. It hurt to swallow and cough. It hurt when I tried to talk. And my voice was non-existent. It was time to see a doctor.

Armed with prescriptions and additional over-the-counter goodies, I prepared myself to feel better. When, exactly, is that supposed to happen?

Today is my ninth day ill and I’m still having trouble breathing, I’m dragging myself through the day and doing the bare minimum to keep my work up to date. Things are piling up. I’m making mistakes and oversights. I’m cranky and tired. All I want to do is take a nap.

My new out of office responder and voicemail message should read something like: “Thank you for your message. I’m too sick to deal with it. Send me the details of your problem and I’ll take care of it in the order in which I received it. And I’m too sick to care how this will affect you. I’m taking a nap.”

Wait … I know there’s a reason why I can’t use that message … but my brain’s too fuzzy to think clearly. It’ll come to me later.

Daily log, January 28 — I need to feel better

It’s been a week since I went walking. My friend has been indisposed or I have. I know that I need to go more often than twice a week, but it’s not becoming reality.

I’m on a prescription,have been for a while, but I’m not feeling better. Can I pleas start feeling better soon?

9 AM — breakfast was leftover macaroni and cheese. I just didn’t feel up to creating something more nutritious.

Yes, I know that that’s not what I should have had for breakfast feeling the way I do, but laziness won over health.

1 PM — lunch was Kim Son, General Tso Chicken. Met a friend there for lunch. I used to enjoy that restaurant a lot, but lately have been less than impressed with the food and the service every time I go.

9 PM — dinner was stroganoff noodles from a packet and leftover turkey.

I felt much better today. That is, I didn’t throw up once.

{{Written on my iPhone}}

Daily log, January 27 — taking a sick day

It’s not a good sign when you start the day throwing up. My body keeps trying to expel the phlegm and it’s not working. I threw up three times, and then just slunk into bed. I ended up going into work after noon, but I was wiped out all day.

In an ideal world I would have been able to take a sick day. Hell, I’d have been taking sick days for a while now. But my colleague is out taking care of her mother (who’s in the hospital) and my big boss needs me to take care of details today for an interview tomorrow. Going in to work is non-negotiable, so I went in to the office.

9 AM — I don’t remember having anything for breakfast except for tea. Which I promptly threw up.

1 PM — I picked up a bowl of hot and sour soup from Pei Wei on my way to work, and I had it at my desk. That soup always makes me feel better.

8 PM — dinner was turkey breast (which I picked up at the Deli at Kroger’s) and macaroni and cheese. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been craving mac and cheese for days.

Very glad the nausea went away. Hoping tomorrow is a better day.

{{Written on my iPhone}}