It came to be that I was lying awake, twitching at 1 am Christmas Day, in my parents’ guest bed in Burnaby. Even the catt had made his peace with the new surroundings and was curled up tidily on my feet. Saint Aardvark dreamt of opensource fairies with nary a quiver.
I, though. I.
Two days ago, after an ordinary morning, it came to be that I was walking blindly home from work at 2 pm in the beginning stages of what would be, at its highest, a 103.5 F fever and at its lowest, a rotten sinus infection.
In an effort to bring the fever down, I swigged Tylenol, Ibuprofen (alas, it cannot do everything) and finally Tylenol Cold (night), with its magical decongestent and pain and fever relieving qualities. SA assured me that the Tylenol Cold would knock me flat on my ass until morning. It didn’t. I lay awake, wondering if my fever was lower, willing myself not to turn on the light and check, drinking more water and then, predictably, having to argue myself out of bed to the bathroom.
The next day was blurry.
The next night, having spent the evening upright, not flat on my back, and having consumed some chicken soup, I assumed I was on the mend. The only symptoms remaining of my flu-like illness were the exhaustion, which could easily be due to the lack of uninterrupted sleep, the random aches and the incredible pain in my face, including my teeth, indicating a sinus issue. But that night, last night, I came to be unmedicated, tossing and turning, half able to breathe, half not, with my face throbbing with pressure. I resorted to snorting salt water at 2 am; got up at 5 and sat on the couch until I stopped pulsing.
Christmas Eve is traditionally when we come to my parents’ place, have supper and wine, sit around & gab, head to bed and wake up like it’s every Christmas morning ever. I love this. I have lived in this house on Christmas Day for 28 years. Coming down the creaky 17 stairs from the guest room (which used to be my bedroom) at 7 am to see my dad already shaved & reading in his armchair, lit by the Christmas tree and his reading light: this is Christmas morning. But first there is Christmas Eve.
In my quest for a pain-free existence, I acquired Aspirin (never taken it), Excedrin (thinking – it’s a headache – headache medicine will work) and generic Sudafed. The latter two carried me through dinner, when I started clogging up and aching again. I took a Tylenol Cold (night) after dinner, which made me pleasant company until 9:30, when the face pain started again so I took an Aspirin, just for fun. I read for a while and then, when the pain didn’t abate, took another Aspirin. Mom swears by the stuff, takes 3 when she has a headache and bam! she’s functional. At 10:30 I was lying there, lights out, sleepy but aware that my head was actually bobbing off the pillow, it was throbbing so hard.
My semi-lucid semi-waking thoughts over the last few days have circled like this:
Fucking naturopaths anyway. Never been so sick in one fall in my life.and
Where did I put that last unused prescription of Tylenol with Codeine?and
I wonder, if I hit myself really hard in the face, would it hurt more? Or less.
I added a new one tonight:
Aspirin is a piece of shit painkiller.
So, desperate and in tears, which of course makes more phlegm, which I certainly don’t need, I took two Tylenol Cold (Night) pills. 1000 mg of pain killer & 60 mg of decongestant, which just happens to also be a stimulant. For some people, like SA, the stimulant gets lost in all the pain killer and they just zonk out. Apparently my body loves this stuff so much it just licks the plate clean and to hell with the potential drowsiness. It is better to be awake but without pain than to be awake (and tired) with pain.
And so I came to be in my dad’s study, wrapped in a blanket at 1 am, catt now on my lap, waiting for the magic moment where the stimulant wears off but the pain killer is still working so I can maybe sleep for a couple hours.
But: maybe I’ll see Santa.
Have wonderful Christmases, everyone.