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6:13 a.m. - 2003-05-21

I'VE GOT A RUMBLY IN MY TUMMY

Ugh.

Yesterday, I had what you common folk might call "a stomach virus".

I'd rather call it "A Cavalcade Of My Insides Pouring Out Of My Body".

Everything was fine yesterday morning. I was a bit dizzy, but that's practically natural when you're as intelligent as I am. Sometimes my neck buckles from all the knowledge swimming around in my head. No big whoop.

I drop Andrew off at daycare. Everything's fine.

I pump some gas in the car. Everything's fine.

Somewhere between pumping gas in the car and driving a mile to the office, my tummy starts doing flips that would have Olympic gymnasts gasping in awe.

I get to my office, sit down at my desk and take a moment to admire the way that the room is spinning around at dizzying speeds.

The boss walks past and asks how I'm doing.

"Dizzy and nauseous," I retort.

"Oh my," she says. "Do you need to go home?"

"Nah," I said. "I'll be fine."

An hour goes by fairly quickly as I'm holding on to my desk for dear life, scared to death that this whirling vortex that has been dubbed "my office"is going to spin out of control, slamming me into a wall.

Another co-worker walks in to my office to ask me a question.

"Uncle Bob, you look awful," she says. "Do you need to go home?"

"Ha! Nope, not me!" I chirp, engaging my desk in a death grip from hell. "I'll be fine. I just need to vomit up most of the fluid in my body and I'll be fine."

I take a chance on letting go of my desk and staggering to the bathroom. I walk past the receptionist desk and the receptionist makes a point to tell me I look horrible.

"I'm fine!" I say. "I'll be in the bathroom vomiting!"

I go to the bathroom and grip the back of the toilet to steady myself.

I then manage to vomit every single meal I've eaten since 1993 into the toilet.

I even vomited an old shoe, a tire and a Louisiana license plate.

I figured that this would make me feel better. Purge the poison out of my system and carry on through the day.

Wrong.

I had apparently vomited all the warmth out of my body because I was left standing there shivering.

I walked over to the sink, threw water on my face and realized that I had just vomited at work and didn't have a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Call me quirky, but I like to clean my mouth thoroughly after vomiting. The last thing you want is to go back in the office, announce that you just vomited and grin with chunks of expired halibut wedged between your teeth.

I rinsed my mouth out as much as I could and then began the long stumble back to my office.

A crowd had gathered at the receptionist desk where they had apparently been listening to me retching like an elephant with morning sickness. Then again, I work in a building that's almost 200 years old. The acoustics are phenomenal in this place. They probably heard me gakking in Mississippi.

"Uncle Bob, you seriously need to go home," the receptionist said in a stern voice. "We don't all want to be sick here."

"I'm fine," I belched. "I'll go close my door and stay in there with all my germs to myself."

I go back to my office, sit down and rest my head on the desk, hugging it for taking such good care of me and not letting me slam into the walls of my office as a result of the whirling tornado that my office had turned into.

Finally, at 11:00, I realized that I was nowhere near fine. I had to go home and lay down or else I could die.

The one thing I kept thinking is that I ate Chinese take-out on Monday for lunch. And those wily Chinese people carry SARS like breath mints.

So naturally, I thought I was dying from my gluttonous penchant for Sweet and Sour Chicken.

I left work, drove home in excess of 80 mph because I was having trouble sitting up straight and concentrating and needed to get home ASAP.

I pull up in the driveway and Susie's van was in the driveway.

This was peculiar.

I go inside and yell "Hello!" in case she was having an affair on me and had to usher the guy out the back door.

I go to the bedroom and she's in the bed.

...White as a sheet.

"What's your deal?" I asked.

"I can't quit throwing up," she said. "I left work. How about you?"

"Same thing," I said. "Will your room stop spinning? Mine won't."

"Nope," she said. "I feel like I'm on the Scrambler ride at the State Fair."

"Me too," I belched. "I'm going to go lay down in the guest room."

"You go, boy," she said, gripping the mattress hard to keep from flailing into the ceiling fan.

I went and laid down, shivering and sweating and sleeping for three hours.

Last night I was still plenty dizzy so Susie had a friend watch Andrew for the evening while I laid on the couch and she went to do one of her S0uthern L!ving parties since she felt well enough to do that. Andrew is apparently fine and shows no signs of the virus.

This morning I'm weak and my body aches.

But I've actually eaten a bagel this morning and haven't needed to rush to the bathroom to cough it back up.

Susie's already said she's not going to work today, whereas I think I will.

You know...if I can stand up in the shower long enough without falling through the glass doors.

I guess I'll be holding on to the spigot for dear life in there.

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