Saturday, March 25, 2006

IN SICKNESS AND FRANCE

You have been warned: The Disgusting Factor of this post has been cranked up very high.

Beginning last night from 10.30pm and lasting until 11.30am, I lived on and in my toilet. There were many times that chunky liquid shot from multiple holes in my body, and eventually, pure liquid spewed when there were no chunks left. Many times I was diarrheaing into the toilet and puking into the bathtub simultaneously. (I've since cleaned the bathtub, but please don't tell my flatmate anyway.) I felt like my body was possessed. For 13 hours I ran back-and-forth between my bed and the toilet, emptying out my little body. And when there was nothing else to empty out, I stood over the bowl dry-heaving violently. At one point, due to fever and faintness, I fell over, nearly hitting my head on the bathtub and knocking myself out. For 13 hours I had chills, the shakes, and extreme dizziness.

Now I am so light-headed and weak. Rising from bed - and now the sofa, where I plan to live for the next 24 hours - is beyond difficult. I feel like I've got the worst hangover in the history of hangovers. But I didn't even drink last night. Before going to bed last night I took all of the pillows in my flat and built a grande pillow slope at the head of my bed. It hurt too much to lay down flat and I had visions of myself choking to death on vomit. I normally like that my flat is two-levels; right now, though, I feel like I need someone to come over and install an escalator, as it takes me about five minutes to descend the staircase.

In between bathroom trips 18 and 19, I texted Awesome to ask him what was wrong with me. He immediately started freaking out (as he tends to do - I'm the level-headed one between the two of us) and demanded that I go to the hospital and be hooked up to an IV. If you're not British, then you're probably unfamiliar with the practices of NHS: if you arrive at the emergency room and wait there dying for less than four-to-five hours, you are considered lucky. There was no way I was going to be away from a toilet for longer than a three-minute period.

It's nice I have someone who worries about me so much, even if he is 8 time zones away. But see, sometimes he's just crazy...in a rather endearing way. Uh...Awesome called my friend Clare at 2.30am and demanded that she go over to my flat to take me to the ER or at least to stay up with me so I didn't faint and fall over. I protested and she returned to sleep. Later, at around 9.30am (3.30am Texas time), my mother texted me to see if I was okay - I quickly realized that Awesome had called her, too. So sweet. And a little bit psychotic.

See, the thing about having a nurse as a partner is that he'll ask me the most mortifying questions that I don't want to answer, questions that he's used to asking and learning on a daily basis while at work. Last night, for example, included the questioning Baby, what color is your shit? Is your vomit completely chunky or liquid? What's the consistency of your vomit? Meanwhile, I'm thinking, Awesome, I do not want to tell you what color my diarrhea is because, well, in the future I actually want you to have sex with me again.

I am so dizzy. I cannot eat anything. I really want to try slurping down some broth or tossing some small crackers into my mouth but the thought of extending 13 hours of horrific bathroom time is really not something I want to do. Earlier I called Simon, one of my straight British boyfriends (one in the pair of men who take care of me when Awesome cannot) and asked what sort of electrolyte-replacing sports drink I could go purchase since this damn country doesn't have Gatorade, which, as everyone knows, is the best thing to drink when vomitous or shitty (speaking literally).

Within the hour, Simon rang my doorbell toting a bag of Powerade bottles along with a boxful of Dioralyte, which he promised is electrolyte-replacing magic in powder form. Also included in the bag was vegetable broth cubes and Camomile tea. Hey, I don't care if I sound like a 5-year-old right now. I rarely let anyone take care of me but right now I fucking need it.

Oh. Wait. I'm supposed to be writing about France. I'm not well. But anyway, Clare and I arrived in Montpellier on Tuesday afternoon, cabbed it to our hotel, and then ventured into the city centre. The centre of Montpellier is gorgeous - tons of restaurants, cafes, and shops on old-stoned squares with spectacular fountains and monuments. Although Montpellier is not huge, it's wonderfully possible to wander around the city centre aimlessly and wind up in cute squares you've not passed through before. We also wandered around the botanical gardens, the Arc de Triumph (yes, they've got one like Paris), the brand new business district, and went shopping where I spent way too much money on new shirts and, um, a swanky leather jacket (even though I already have one). Montpellier residents do not have the pretense of Parisians; everyone we met was so friendly, whether or not they spoke English. On our first night we met a group of fun Frenchies who took us on a wine bar crawl and protested when we kept buying them drinks. One of them offered to drive us to the beach the next morning. See? Crazily friendly.

This Dioralyte is kinda nasty. Oh. France. Focus. Clare and I wandered, we shopped, we even went out and played on the beach in Palavas. But what we did mostly was eat. This was perhaps the most gluttonous trip I've ever taken. And, um, I, the vegetarian, randomly decided to eat a bit of fish since Southern France ain't exactly suitable for vegetarians - especially in the gorgeous, expensive restaurants we went to. You would think that eating fish after not doing so for about seven years would have made me ill, but I was completely okay. I'm like a naughty Jew - I'll occasionally sneak some shellfish for the protein but that's about it. Normally I survive on fake meat and tofu. I mean look at this:



The gluttony was worth it. I mean, c'mon - this is what we were supposed to do in the South of France. Along with all those patisserie delights and tons of wine, this was some of the best food I've ever eaten (and I'm not someone who typically gets excited about food). Or, if you're a carnivore, be seduced with Clare's foie gras and duck dishes:


On our third day there, we grew more adventurous with our food choices. Even sharing this massive plate of raw shellfish at the beach was okay:


I know this because Clare has not been violently ill since our gluttonous holiday. Rather, I'm guessing that this immense dose of food poisoning is from the oysters I sucked down. I've not eaten oysters in about a decade. Clare refused to get involved with them, instead telling me that she thinks they're disgusting, with "the consistency of cum and the taste of salt water." Any food that serves as an aphrodisiac is usually fine by me, but I'm convinced that these little fuckers are responsible for my misery:

But see, the weird thing is that these vicious oysters did not declare war on my body until 30something hours after I slurped them down my throat. That ain't right. I'm still ill, just not violently so.

Clare just called to check on my well-being and ask if I wanted her to bring over some oysters. Two minutes later Awesome rang and described his current nausea. (Me: Oh shutup, you did that to yourself with excessive alcohol, where as I was attacked by sea creatures!) I told them both to fuck off. And now I must return to the toilet.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
My mother had morning sickness after I was born. - Rodney Dangerfield