Today is my sixth day in bed, sick as a flea-bitten mutt.
What began as a soft tickle in the back of my throat in a Las Vegas hotel last Wednesday has bloomed into a beautiful bouquet of mucus and pain that has temporarily, taken over my entire body and mind.
Here’s a look at what happened, as best as I can remember with this cement block sitting in the middle of my brain.
Wednesday: I woke up in a hotel room with a small tickle in my throat and knew I could be in trouble. I was driven to a small private airport terminal, boarded a chartered plane and drank coffee on the 45 minute flight home. After arriving home, I changed clothes and hit the gym. Then I ate, showered and read dozens of stories online about the flu bug that had swept the nation. Before bed I swallowed as much vitamin c and cough syrup as I could and sullenly accepted my fate before falling asleep.
Thursday: I woke up feeling like I’d been attached to the front of a Ford pickup truck and driven into a brick wall. Every bone, muscle, tendon and corpuscle in my body ached. My head and jaw were the worst. I walked dizzily to the bathroom, then to the kitchen for aspirin, water and cough syrup and gathered all my devices and power cables into my bed. I knew I wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while and I needed my things. I ate, slept, ate and slept again. Then night came – so I drank cough syrup, took sleeping pills and slept again.
Friday: Every pain I had Thursday was twice as bad. I wore a path from my bed to the bathroom, to the kitchen and back to bed. Around noon my sinuses cleared up enough for me to walk to the gym. I hadn’t been outdoors in about 30 hours and felt like an alien walking down the street. I got in and out as fast as possible. 3–4 sets of squats and gone. I kept cleaning my hands, didn’t touch my face and generally tried not to sneeze. The whole trip was 30 minutes and when I got home I crawled back into bed and waited for night to come so I’d have an excuse to drink more cough syrup and knock myself out again.
Saturday and Sunday: A blur, I really don’t know what happened these days. But I knew I had stopped getting worse. Things didn’t feel better yet, but the awfulness had stopped increasing in weight and that felt like a win. I spent a lot of time searching online for home remedies, cold vs flu symptoms and how many days it would take for a bad cold or flu to kill me. I watched the news for the first time in years. It reminded me of the Jerry Springer show. A host invites people with opposing views and they fight it out. People who watch the news are the Jerry Springer audience chanting “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” It’s horrible, negative and amazingly addictive. I can see how someone with no life and not much of a brain could get swept up in it. Maybe soon they’ll start selling tickets and have the commentators fist fight in front of a live audience. I didn’t go outside at all, keeping a steady routine of waking up, watching the news, eating and sleeping until it was time to go to sleep.
Monday: I woke up feeling pretty good. I immediately turned on Fox News to see what kind of drama was going on. Then CNN. Back and forth. The addiction to negative news only took a day or two to grab me. “Please ruin my day!“ I cried. ”Please spend hour after hour telling me one-sided theories about things that may or may not be true!” And they happily complied. Soon, I paused the race war, nuclear war, gender war, and rape war and dragged myself to the gym again. I felt bad, but not bad enough to miss the gym. I did the bare minimum amount of deadlifts, rows and shoulder presses to feel like I’d done something and walked back home. By now my bed had become the greatest place in the world. A sick sanctuary where all I have to do is survive. The internet told me the most brutal parts of a cold last 7–10 days, so in theory, I was almost home.
Tuesday: Today I woke up feeling more human than I’ve felt since waking up dead last week. All of the pains are still there, just less. I’m still moving slowly, hacking, coughing and sleeping. It’s 2:46pm and I’ve only left bed to use the bathroom and eat. Haven’t been outside since yesterday for the gym. Right now it feels like I could be relatively better by the weekend. I credit most of the healing to sleep and time, and this stuff called Wellness Formula that a friend recommended. Yesterday I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but today… there’s hope.
It hasn’t been all bad though.
Luckily, I work online and have been able to manage things just fine. Campaigns are booming and all I have to do is maintain things. This is good because anything that requires actual thought makes my brain break.
I started reading Marylin Manson’s book, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I’ve just gotten past his childhood and his move to Florida where he starts the band. It’s been extremely gross and explicit so far, just as you’d expect. When I was 17 I moved to Florida and “Marylin Manson and The Spooky Kids” were the hot local band. A few years later he was the biggest star in the world. He played last night at the Palladium across the street from my apartment – it’s a shame I couldn’t walk over and watch.
I figured out how to play one of my favorite Jane’s Addiction songs in an Open G tuning. I hit it by accident and then worked it out, luckily there are only a few chords to translate.
I’ve had tons of time to think about what I’m going to do this year. I cracked open a document and did a quick outline of three things I’d like to get done and how I’d like it to happen. So stay tuned.
The news tell me that for the first time in history, every state in America is having a flu epidemic. So if you’re feeling healthy, you’re lucky. Enjoy it.
And if you’re feeling awful and like there’s a good chance you may die, I’m right there with you. Let’s raise our glasses high…
Cough Syrup Cheers.