I am sorry for the my six-day absence, but I couldn’t write, as I was dying.
Late in the week I was overcome with a malaise so overpowering that my eyes would slam shut during dinner (a time when I am normally quite animated, as I am being fed—or more accurately, feeding myself, which I can do now because I’m a big big girl) and I would be overcome with the need to put my head on the table, and then I would, and I’d get tartar sauce in my hair and my husband would have to excuse himself to retch quietly in the backyard.
(Note to literalists: we don’t really have tartar sauce at dinner. And my husband usually retches right in front of me, to teach me an important lesson.)
(Not that there’s anything wrong with tartar sauce. I just can’t eat it, or look at it. Or think about it.)
Walking up the stairs became an insulting chore. My skin began to ache, which was completely uncalled for. And worst of all—adding injury to injury—my eyes wobbled whenever I tried to use the computer. I couldn’t read the words on the screen! How would I live! The words! I needed the words!
I used exclamation points like this in my daily narrative to my husband, who (correctly) thought maybe I should go to a doctor. I refused and instead looked up “sudden fatigue dizziness” and thus learned that I suffer from shin-byung and that soon I will become possessed by my ancestral spirits. I can only hope that Uncle Lou is kinder to my body than he was to his own. Lay off the saus-eege, Lou, you hear?
Anyhow: “Stop looking up culture-bound syndromes!” my husband demanded in his standard manly baritone and then begged me (in sort of a high tenor/alto II) to go a doctor. Instead I decided I was suffering eyestrain and that I should lay off the computer, even though it is my only friend, as I am on it approximately 35 hours a day.
This lasted 47 minutes, all of which I spent gasping on the floor.
And then the next day I woke up sick. Wow, wasn’t that a story? I am going to publish it. I shall call it “Dizziness Isn’t Impending Death but a Bad Cold.” Or maybe “Being Sick Sometimes Takes You By Surprise.” The New Yorker will buy it. Rich! I’ll be rich! Short story writers are incredibly wealthy, as we know.
Where was I? Yeah, so, virus, boring. Just your run of the mill, swollen-gland, painful-head syndrome. The real kicker was when Henry woke up the same morning looking like he had been in a prize fight, and lost. He stood by our bed and cried out, “I have only one eye left!” And then I got out of bed and reeled around, weeping, “Sick! I feel sick!” And poor Scott, who you may recall has a mild aversion to pink eye, shoved his head under his pillow and time-traveled to 1672, where they burned people like me as witches and pink eye was illegal because only witches got it.