As I exited the movie theater after an exhausting weekend, my body shut down. As I emerged from the dim theater into the cold spring evening, incontrollable fits of shivers took me over. Never before had I experienced what could have easily been observed as convulsions.
After surrendering my keys to my fiancé, I bundled up in the discarded blankets and hoodies that littered my car the whole way home. As the heat and my improvised insulation began to soothe me, the fits slowly abated. More concern grew as I found myself feeling a way unknown to me.
The minute the door swung open at home, I hopped into a scalding shower and dove under the heated blanket. In any other context, I’d avoid such a contrived warmth. I relish the feeling of snuggling under a mountain of blankets on a cold night to create a cozy cocoon. But this was a different type of need.
The thermometer confirmed my fears; temperature had spiked over 101 degrees. Feverish, Monday morning and its 4:00 wakeup call were playing a game of chicken with my recovery time. 8 hours and counting to get my health back on track and ready to rock. I hated that this led to sleeping alone. I was burned out and likely sick and was yearning to have that familiar body quietly snoring next to me. But Tabitha and I agreed that whatever I had wasn’t worth infecting both of us. I was quarantined.
Sleep was episodic at best. Once an hour, my brain would stir me. My eyes pried open to see the time, my body would flop over to the other side of the bed, and exhaustion would quickly close everything down. When 4:00 am crept up on the clock, instinctively I reached for the thermometer. Wagering my health versus work yielded results 30 seconds later. I wasn’t going anywhere.
I continued my broken attempts at sleep for another few hours, before I realized I needed food. I quietly nibbled down a Pop Tart in the dark, careful not to upset what felt like a shaky digestive tract. I located the heated blanket and crawled under, anxious to see if alleviating hunger would create comfort. As my eyes began to shut, sun started to peep between the blinds, drilling into my temples. Things appeared to be getting worse.
Normally, my sick days consist of drinking lots of fluids, watching lots of TV, and a great deal of lying about. Even when I contracted walking pneumonia last Thanksgiving, I barely did any extra sleeping beyond the occasional 20 minute snooze. The naïve side of me thought it was going to be just another sick day.
Around 9:00, I felt compelled to attempt my normal sick day routine. I put in a disc in the Blu-ray player and waited for the TV show to allow me to select the next episode. As the selection unfolded, my body refused to allow the entertainment to reach me. In a matter of 15-20 minutes, exhaustion overcame me to the point finishing a single 45-minute episode wasn’t an option. I would struggle to finish it, and then fall asleep for an hour. This went on until my fiancé came home at 3:00 pm. On top of the exhaustion and bizarre sleep pattern, I was covered in hives. Yet another unexpected turn of events.
Turns out I’m allergic to the very antibiotics I was taking to cure a current affliction. Not to do anything the easy way, my body attempted to function for 10 days (the length I was to take the pills) with a chemical it can’t tolerate. After ten days of unintentional abuse, I had depleted any means to fight it further.
I don’t know why so many things in life have to be learned the hard way. This was one I would have gladly chosen a different route. So now I add certain types of antibiotics to my verbose of allergies. Lesson learned, I guess.