The Shock-And-Awe Bug

sick-green-smileyHave you had what I’m calling the Shock and Awe bug in your house yet? Oh, it’s just wonderful.

I can’t tell you (yet) how it affects a child, but as someone who is just now climbing out of the grave from it, I can tell you how it progresses in an adult.

T-Minus 0:01

Everything’s cool. The world is awesome. It sure is a nice day today! I think I might climb a mountain or run a marathon!

T-Minus Zero

Huh. My stomach just gurgled in a strange way, and I’m starting to get a bit of a headache.

The 2-Minute Mark

Holy God, did anyone get the license plate of the bus that just hit me? Energy is completely gone. A witch’s brew is going to town in my stomach, and sunlight is like two daggers right through my eyeballs.

The Next 24 Hours or So

Just make yourself a comfortable spot in the bathroom. Your body is going to conduct its own exorcism. You’ll need a bucket.

Satan’s fury will fly out of your body with unprecedented velocity from all angles. I’m pretty sure I was spewing from my eyes, nose and ears, too. You’ll throw your back out and feel like you’ve broken some ribs along the way.

Fortunately, it comes in waves, so you’ll collect yourself a little bit, come out of the bathroom, climb into bed, pray for a quick death, and just start to nod off to sleep when Beelzebub comes calling again…urgently. You’ll repeat this violent exorcism process over and over and over again.

At long last, feeling like you’ve gone 10 rounds with a silverback gorilla on steroids, you’ll crawl into bed and alternate between burning up and freezing to death. You’ll sleep fitfully, never really getting any rest, in between sprints to the bathroom every hour or so.

In the morning, you’ll feel somewhat better and will even consider going to work. But you’ll remember that just five hours ago, you were having a nasty conversation on the porcelain phone and you probably shouldn’t spread your germs among your coworkers, so you’ll take a sick day.

Not feeling particularly hungry, but recognizing that you haven’t eaten anything since lunch yesterday and that you’ve probably lost 90 pounds in fluids over the last several hours, you’ll stagger into the kitchen and make yourself some plain toast to be washed down with some water.

Five minutes later, you’ll realize that this was not a good idea. At all.

After setting a new world record for the 10-yard sprint to the bathroom, you’ll get a few hours of sleep and wake up feeling fairly normal. The headache is pretty much gone. You’ll just feel incredibly weak. Someone stole your legs and replaced them with marshmallows.

The Last 6 Hours or So

You can get a couple of things done on the computer before you feel exhausted again. It takes all the energy you can muster to get a shower and put your bedsheets in the washer.

You’re kind of hungry now, but you’re not making that toast-and-water mistake again anytime soon.

You nap for a couple of hours and wake up feeling somewhat better. Now you’re really hungry.

A plate of pasta stays down, and an hour or so later, you notice that you have your legs back. Headache is gone. Energy is mostly back. Walking upstairs doesn’t sap you of all your strength anymore.

It appears to be over. Shock and awe.

Looks like it’s back to work tomorrow.


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