Fair warning: I’m gonna talk about stomach flu issues, so if it’s your habit to partake of the blog while you partake of your morning danish, maybe wait till later…
I live in perpetual terror of giving someone food poisoning. This is reason #4 why I bring potato chips and plastic forks to pitch-ins.
(I also fear riding/driving over bridges, particularly where the overhead steel beams are held together only by rivets and a prayer and could topple down on you in a heartbeat. But hey. Toss it in the Therapy Bucket and let Couch Lady sort that longstanding mess out.)
Anyway. I don’t know if I poisoned myself a few weeks back with the worst frozen pizza on the planet or if I caught some wicked version of the stomach bug, but man, that episode rocked my world. Not the Hubs’s world—who surely would’ve felt something given his gut's state on any given day of the week. Just mine.
Which created a wave of confusion. Am I contagious? Do I need to tell people I’ve been around to maybe eat light? Or did I, in fact, incapacitate myself with bad Italian?
The agony and the need for quick access to the restroom forced me into my bedroom instead of convalescing on the couch where I normally would’ve ridden out the sick wave.
When I wasn’t lying on the bathroom floor, I would wrap myself in a pile of blankets in the bed. No brain cells at all to read or listen to audiobooks. And no screens (the movement made the nausea worse than when I got car sick on my first-and-last-ever Skyline Chili traveling the windiest roads in Indiana).
At some point, I remember thinking that one more round in the bathroom and I’ll be ready for a colonoscopy with a bonus upper GI. All cleaned out now, Doc. Have at it.
After another two rounds, unable to keep down any liquids at all, I remember thinking, I may end up in the hospital tethered to an IV pole if this doesn’t calm down.
And the weakness? Move over Covid. Though the lethargy and muscle shakes didn’t last nearly as long as that viral episode back in 2020, this bug bit hard and fast and violent.
Then, finally, things calmed down in my digestive system enough that a sip of Sprite or Drip Drops (serious, go look Drip Drops up on Amazon—I do believe they prevented an ER visit) an hour would keep me from, but my nervous system was another matter.
I texted people strange things.
I put in a ghostly grocery order. Shopped. Clicked. Then realized after I was well enough to go pick it up that I hadn’t ordered anything at all. (I suppose this is better than buying a new Mercedes online and having it delivered to the driveway. That would’ve been a lot of paperwork.)
Looking back, I had such vivid dreams that I’m convinced Little Miss Muse had something to do with it. Though I kept my writing streak alive—barely eeking out 50 words here or there and most of them in a hallucinogenic state on my phone, I did not have a single, cohesive thought to put together.
I believe this side of things was Little Miss’s way of playing without my consent but still using me as her conduit.
She’s a twisted little imp, starting texting conversations I don’t remember consenting to, something about Idris Elba (don’t judge, I was out of my mind, remember?).
But then Little Miss did this:
I wake up in a clammy sweat and untangle myself from the covers. I sit on the edge of the bed for goodness knows how long, making sure I have enough muscle strength to stand and not throw myself head-first into the wall, praying the nausea wouldn’t rage up.
Then it hit me.
Not another round of gastric distress, but a crushing guilt for how I’d treated my dear friend. I had laid into her about how she travels too much and that she shouldn’t be leaving her pregnant mini ponies during their time of need.
This friend enjoys traveling. I have no problem with that, and I join her on some of her adventures.
This friend also has two pregnant mare mini-horses. I have no problem with that either, and though horses aren’t my thing unless they happen to have a single spiral horn growing from the center of their foreheads, I am looking forward to seeing those babies.
Even if I did take umbrage with these things, who am I? To each their own.
So for me to have acted in such a harsh manner? Well, I had to apologize.
Annnd, of course, this Bestie had no idea what I was talking about. She hung with me on the phone for a bit to make sure I was oriented and not in need of an ambulance, then I crashed hard again.
But Little Miss wasn’t done horsing around inside my dehydrated brain.
The Bestie is on the phone with me again. “My husband isn’t home. The horse is about to give birth, can you come help?”
Fear grips my chest. “I can’t even walk to the front door, let alone drive to your house. And I don’t even know anything about horses.”
“That’s okay then. No worries. I’ll just bring her to you.”
And that’s what she does. She loads that laboring mare into the back of her pickup truck and drives it to my house. Brings it inside. Lays it in the Hub’s man cave—on the carpet!—and then helps me to the room so I can assist in this birth.
All three cats are present, too. You know those adorable Christmas cards depicting the barn animals all huddled in close to witness the birth of Jesus? That’s what my three cats are doing with this mare.
All three, sitting up like squirrels, wringing their front paws together in hopeful anticipation
Like it was the coming of the Messiah.
I collapse onto the floor, watching in dismay as this mini horse pops out not one, but two babies. Twins!
And my little cat Malachi, bless his special little heart, melts in adoration. He looks up at my Bestie, who looks down at him. His little cat eyes melt into black-puddles pleas
“Oh, Malachi, would you like a pony?”
His furry face lights up, and he spins circles—more like a hyperactive dog whose owner returned after a trip to the mailbox than a cat— Why yes. Yes, he would like a pony.
“No. He can’t have a pony.”
Bestie smiles at me. “Sure he can.”
She loads up the new mamma mare. She loads up one of the twins.
And leaves the other infant pony for my dear boy Malachi.
You’ve never seen such an elated cat.
Then I woke up.
Sure that I needed to make my way out to the Hub’s man cave to check for equine afterbirth stains on the carpet.
But I was too weak to go any further than the bathroom.
“You should be careful not to poison yourself again. Or catch the crud. I can’t stand being bored.” Little Miss was waiting on the nightstand when I returned to my room. I ignored her.
Malachi joined me in the bed, my steady companion through this entire sickness.
He snuggled up close to my shoulders and looked me square in the face. His eyes melted into those big, black manipulative puddles.
And he asked me for a pony.