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I've had a spectacular weekend.


That was sarcasm. The unvarnished truth - and this is where the title of this post begins to make sense - is that I picked up a stomach bug. Ordinarily, one of the benefits of having limited shoulder, elbow and wrist movement is that you'd can't touch things like door handles, elevator buttons, etc. (except with a collapsible stick you carry in your purse), which blessedly means I tend not to pick up too many of whatever maladies that are floating about and deposited on public surfaces. Considering my suppressed immune system, this is an excellent thing. However, there's a stomach thing trotting about and despite not knowing anyone who has it, I somehow ended up hosting a rather enthusiastic party for it. I’m thinking of blaming my doctor - she's the one who told me about the thing, citing evidence from the nursing home where she works. I may start calling her Typhoid Mary.


It's been fun (again with the sarcasm). It started Thursday evening and continued into the weekend, days worth of my bowels frequently entertaining me with the ominous gurgling we all know and dread followed by profound episodes of ... well. You can imagine.


I did learn a number of things in the past 4 days, though.


Keep bland and easily digestible foodstuffs on hand.

I've been on Biologics for my RA for five years and they tend to put a cork in you (this entire post will be TMI…). As I’m looking in my goodie drawer Thursday evening, a theme develops. Brown rice crackers, 12-grain crackers, my beloved Wasa crispbread (intensely high-fiber), black licorice, prunes… There is not one thing I can safely eat while in the throes of stomach flu.


Exercise extreme caution when eating, despite appetite suggesting otherwise.

By dinnertime Friday, I was ready to start gnawing on my dining room table and as this seemed to me to possibly be in the high-fibre category, as well, I stuck to steamed rice and toast and both tasted like manna from heaven. However, eating turned out to be a bad idea, as the gurgling and subsequent consequences increased exponentially and by the end of the day, I was weak as a kitten, flirting with fainting at regular intervals and positively green around the gills.


Bland and easily digestible foodstuffs don’t taste good.

I don’t like ginger ale at the best of times, but flat? Nauseating. And why does it take upwards of 24 hours for it to go flat?

Premium Plus crackers without salt are what I imagine fluffy cardboard would be like. Almost aggressively bland.

Steamed rice eventually gets nauseating, too.


Sometimes, you get lucky when a cat picks you.

Lucy is one of those cats who, when she senses I'm not feeling well, will park herself on my lap as if attached there by crazy glue. For days on end. Which was lovely.


The Universe has a perverse sense of timing.

Getting this sick when you have a deadline for not just one, but three articles at work sort of interferes with your ability to think. I could almost hear Her cackling while muttering “let’s see how you manage this, you cocky twit!”.


Have the video version of easy listening on hand at all times.

I’d rented two movies – Young Victoria and Sherlock Holmes – but due to diminished mental faculties, both felt entirely too complicated and demanding to watch. Of course, anything more advanced than The Teletubbies would’ve been too complicated and demanding, so mostly I sat and stared while Lucy gurgled back at my nether region.


Independent living has its limits.

Having to wait for an attendant to come help transfer you to bed forces you to choose between staying up while the room spins like a carousel to have access to toast, rice and fluids or collapsing into bed without same between trips to the bathroom torture chamber. And then there’s having to wait for an attendant to come help transfer you to the seat o’ torture multiple times a day.


Sometimes, you get lucky when you find a man.

Saturday, David came and made it so I didn’t have to wait for assistance or choose between bed and fluids. Which was lovely and by Sunday also healing (3 naps!), but not before my 29.5-year record of not barfing bit the dust. Yes, it’s been twenty-nine and a half years since I last tossed my cookies and it choose that exact day to give in??? Single, least romantic moment of our relationship. Despite the embarrassment, I am closer to being myself today because of him – thanks, my love.


Life teaches you lessons. I don’t remember signing up for these.



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