Illness

Yesterday was a lost day.

Before bed we watched “28 weeks”, a movie set in London when it is attacked by a zombie virus. In the movie the virulent infection turns the humans into raging, attacking maniacs whose faces are covered in blood as they rip open the eye sockets of their victims. It is “good” sci fi, but I went to bed a little nauseated and thinking of the movie over and over as I fell asleep. Then, I woke with a pressure in my guts. Deep. I had the shakes and shivers. I threw the bed clothes off. I groaned enough to wake Graham. Get the thermometer, I said. Perhaps I had a temperature like when I got cellulitis in my leg. Whenever I am sick I think of that time and how I had failed to notice the blotching of my leg that was the tell tale sign of bacterial infection. But that’s another story. No temperature.

I get Graham to cover the chair with a towel and race to the bathroom. Even though my sensation within my abdomen is incomplete I get the sense that it is the source of my illness. I am leaning forward on the toilet and groaning my death groan; the one I do when I am about to vomit. At times like this I wonder about how I would ever be able to have chemotherapy or the like. I just am the worst at nausea.

There is the sound of someone throwing buckets of water on the bathroom wall behind me. If I had sensation I would know that this is coming from me, but I don’t and it’s the weirdest thing. It is weird, till I realise I have sprayed shit all behind the toilet and down the walls. Weird, till I am attempting to clean up while still feeling vaguely outside myself and blurry. I have taken my glasses off, a good thing. The foulness is muted by poor focus. But the stench. I am yelling Oh My God and asking for towels and garbage bags. Graham is passing things through the door and I am saying Stay Back.

In the hour that follows I am washing down the bathroom and having showers as I ooze uncontrollably. Everything is foul. Jasper wants to know why one of his toy catalogues from the bathroom is in the bin. Because it’s got shit on it, says Graham.

Being vets might help us handle a morning like this I think. We are used to shit. Dogs with parvo; where their guts literally come away from them and spill out in shredded globs of blood. But there seems nothing more foul than human excreta.

I use lots of Radox for Men that Graham brought home from Woolworths by mistake when the check out girl put it in our shopping. I use it several times that day so it will always be a reminder of the day of illness. It is a dark green, like bathing in algae and smells strongly of male deodorant. I go back to bed, lined for safety with towels and ball up. I can’t get comfortable for most of the day. I drift in and out of sleep, groaning, when it seems the only thing that will help. Outside there are men at work on the oval planting trees. I can hear the thud of the shovel on the earth.

I can hear Graham in the kitchen playing his ukulele.

He brings me gastrolyte and an enormous vomit bucket.

Luckily school duty can be left to him. I am a bundle of illness. I think of nothing but my stomach. It takes all my thought. I try laying one way and then the other. Nothing is comfortable. I am cold and then I am hot. I can hear the thump of Jasper’s basket ball in the lounge room when he gets home from school. I can hear him asking Graham to go outside to play. I can hear Graham frying onions. I can smell the bolognese cooking and I hate the smell of it.

I hear them outside calling Murphy, who is not coming, and I think they have not taken treats with them. I hear the front gate swing open and know they have got him inside, contained in the front yard now, and they are probably kicking the footy. The paper barks  being their goal posts. Murphy will be standing at the gate wishing to be out but they cannot be bothered to watch him as well as play their game. I can hear Charlie and Sally from next door. In my musty bedroom I feel the haze of illness here under the sheets with me.

It is not a real day. There is no thought of doing anything but surviving it and getting through. How strange it is that when you are sick it seems difficult or impossible to recall being well. The feeling is so far from you that you cannot capture it. It is like you have been ill for your entirety and will be ill for ever more.

Jasper is very disappointed that I will not be getting up to watch Masterchef. It is proof that I am really sick. It is dark when they get back from piano lessons. I hear them run through the new song, then later Jasper reading Dr Seuss. Still the smell of Bolognese wafts up the hall. I hear them hoop and holler as Lleyton comes good at Wimbledon. Graham makes up the spare bed in Jasper’s room to stay away from me and my cloud of illness. I eat a banana. It is heavenly sweet and I take small mouthfuls. It leaves my mouth furry but I am beginning to feel better.

A dog is barking on the oval outside my window.

I am taking sips of water.

It is a new day. Today I will air the bedroom.

 

 

 

 

 

About Nicole Lobry de Bruyn

Born in the psychedelic sixties to hard working and conservative parents my sister and I grew up in sleepy suburban Perth, Western Australia. We played by the river, the beach and in the bushland of the cementary. I loved a chocolate Dachshund enough to make me want to become a veterinarian. I did. I became paralysed from the waist down when car hit tree. But not running, walking, standing or kneeling didn't prevent me being a vet. I am still a vet but would prefer to write and read and read and write about walking and not walking, feeling and not feeling, knowing and not knowing. So this is what happens when you enter thechookhouse.
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One Response to Illness

  1. sandy williams says:

    None of us can know how horrifying it is for you to have to manage this kind of thing. I am such a wimp with my own bodily fluids which I can discreetly dispose of generally always with a degree of control…. What can you do but deliver yourself into the process and triumph over it eventually as you did with your accident. ..Reminds me of Boadicea…… xxx Sandy

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