The 32 1/2 Hour Stomach Bug

I awoke at 3:15 this past Saturday morning feeling as if an alien life form, which had been secretly gestating in my belly, was about to come bursting forth. Thinking that perhaps it had just been a momentary case of food poisoning, I figured I would be "good to go" for the mail route I was scheduled to deliver that day.

By 7am I was somewhat showered (though unshaven), dressed (though sloppily), and with teeth brushed (well, most of them). Corpselike and gray, I dragged my Lazarusian carcass out of its tomb and headed down to the post office. For an hour I sorted mail with one hand while I held myself steady to the table before me with the other as if I was trying to keep my balance upon the deck of a rocking ship. By 8:10 I was back in bed - moaning as I am accustomed to doing when faced with a seriously upset stomach, or a severe headache, or while doing my taxes. All day I remained in bed, except for the occasional recon mission to the bathroom. I lapsed in and out of sleep, unable to get comfortable, rolling this way and that, sometimes finding myself sideways on the bed. Perhaps I was on the deck of a rocking ship after all!

Evening came at some point. I awoke to find darkness and figured I was dead. Thank God! Then I felt that nauseous feeling and I remembered ... no such luck. Nope, I'm still alive and I still have the stomach bug! Maybe an asteroid will strike Cape Cod in the next minute or so and this will all be over!

A night of strange dreams, as is typical for me when I'm ill. It's always the same thing - I'm at war under heavy fire in some God forsaken place and people are getting killed all around me and it's my mission to drag the wounded soldiers to safety. Since I just finished reading Flags of Our Fathers, I spent this particular semi-sleepless night on Iwo Jima. Boy, if war is anything like the stomach bug it must truly be hell!

By mid next morning I awoke, feeling somewhat better and by noon I was taking nourishment - Jello (cherry flavored). The 32 1/2 hour stomach bug was largely over.

What is it about a stomach ailment, or a major headache, or the flu that can turn a guy into a weepy bowl of milk toast? I often wonder how I would hold up under torture. All the North Koreans would have to do is threaten to inject me with the 24-hour flu and I'd be spilling the beans. I've often thought that if the male of our species were the ones responsible for reproduction we would have gone extinct long, long ago with the very first bout of morning sickness. Instead, reptiles would now be ruling the planet, which would be just fine with me.

So, today is Monday. The sun is out. It's President's Day. I'm listening to Mel Torme  - "The Velvet Fog" - the perfect soothing voice for my stomach's tender mood. Today, I'm thinking I might branch out from my diet of Jello and Gatorade. Maybe segue into a soup. Perhaps tiptoe toward a tomato. Mosey over to a meatball. Suddenly I have a craving for a strawberry shake! (Not so fast ... perhaps stick to Jello for one more day ... try the orange flavored.)

The good news - I'm down about four pounds! To heck with the Popsicle diet. A dose of the 32 1/2 hour stomach bug. Now that's the ticket to a trimmer waistline!

Jack Sheedy (a/k/a Lazarus II)

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