Summer of My Compromised Immune System
(Post title inspired by Summer of My German Soldier, a book that 14-year-old Jive Turkey loved and re-re-re-re-read and stained with her overwrought teenage tears, because there is nothing in this world that a teenage girl loves more than a tale of star-crossed lovers, even though in this case the one lover is twelve years old and the other is a grown-ass man who is also a NAZI SOLDIER [but not really! He was forced! Feel free to fantasize about him guilt-free, teen readers!], and I might have scoped out my bedroom closet a time or two to consider where I might stash a hot P.O.W. should one come moseying up the road to my house in 1990s suburban Charleston, WV.)
My opinion of the book is a bit different now (see: twelve-year-old girl, GROWN-ASS MAN, birth of my own daughter who will not be hiding any sexy men in her closet if I can help it).
So — besides being the season for stockpiling Nazis in your bedroom — summer, it seems, is also the time for the worst cold viruses on the face of the planet to infect my tender person. After letting my guard down around a baby whose sniffly nose I foolishly chalked up to an incoming molar (wanna stick your slobbery fingers in Mama’s mouth? WELL OF COURSE, PERFECT SWEETHEART ANGEL BABY), I am in the grips of a hellacious summer cold. And although I know there is technically no difference between a cold caught in summer and one caught during any other season, I am here to tell you that HOO BOY, summer colds knock this lady on her ass in the style of margaritas on an empty stomach at a Mexican restaurant where the service is slow and by the time your food actually gets there you’re way too drunk to care and just decide to have another margarita.
Coincidentally, both scenarios involve a lot of ibuprofen.
On Saturday afternoon, I had a hair appointment to banish all blonde highlights from my head. This required a full-out hair dying back to a darker version of my natural color, which means I am pretty much brunette now, and I am kind of loving it.
[Here is where I would insert a photo of my new hair during our Saturday evening trip to an old-timey ice cream parlor at which Sadie got the cutest miniature ice cream cone EVER, but it seems those photos are still living on our camera. And I will not substitute with a shitty cameraphone pic, because I realized that I am wearing the same shirt I was wearing in the LAST shitty cameraphone pic I posted on this blog, and that is just sad. In other news, I would like some soup and a nap.]
Anyhoo, after my appointment, I noticed my throat was kind of scratchy, and a scratchy throat is how ALL my very worst colds begin. I tried to rationalize that it was just a result of all the noxious chemicals I inhaled at the salon, but in my heart I knew it was just a matter of time before I was begging for the sweet release of death with a kleenex shoved up my nostril.
Which is precisely the manner in which I watched the season premiere of True Blood last night. I enjoy juxtaposing any and all sexy TV shows with my germ-infested presence on the couch (bonus points for blowing your nose during scenes containing nudity!).
Speaking of sexy things, my sleep last night was interrupted with all kinds of incidents that sound remarkably sexy, but — I assure you — were not: waking up covered in sweat, moaning, sighing, peeling off clothes in a darkened room, dealing with errant bodily fluids. I managed to get out of bed this morning and off to work (damn you, daycare illnesses of winter, for eating up all of my sick days!), but let me tell you that I feel like julienned ASS, my friends. This summer cold has made me its bitch, and I’m beginning to wonder how long it will take for someone to find my body if I up and die in my cubicle.
I’m usually only dead on the INSIDE when I’m sitting here.
This cold does not, however, even begin to approach the worst summer cold I ever weathered. Those honors go to The Cold of August ’99, which I’m pretty sure was actually some horrendous flu or strep or pneumonia, but seeing as how I’d just graduated from college and they wouldn’t take me at Student Health anymore, I just had to guess at what virus was attempting to kill me softly with its song while I languished in my off-campus apartment, shoving myself full of zinc tablets and orange juice.
I’m pretty sure I picked up this particular funk at the restaurant (I use the term loosely) in which I’d been waiting tables all summer. Another server had been out for a week with some terrible illness, and when it became apparent he would live to serve amaretto sours once again, he returned to work and — presumably — shared his sunshine with me. I remember it starting with a very mild sore throat, which I of course totally ignored. I continued to to keep up with my social schedule of drinking and smoking in various outdoor locations, even though at the end of each evening I felt more and more like I wanted to — oh, I don’t know — barf up my shoes and sleep for the next 6 months or so. Eventually, I woke up one morning with throat pain so intense I wondered at what point during the previous evening I had swallowed a chain saw coated in angry killer bees. To add insult to injury, my dear CFoST was leaving that morning to make her big post-grad move to Chicago, so after I said a very sad goodbye to her (while attempting to keep any and all germs to myself), I sat in my living room and cried the most excruciating cry I’ve ever cried, because apparently crying involves a lot of, uh, throat activity.
Anyway, it was at that point I finally surrendered to being sick, and for the next full week my condition hovered between DEATHBED and SOMEONE PLEASE PUT MY HEAD IN THE PATH OF AN ONCOMING CITY BUS. My eyes hurt. My skin hurt. My hair hurt. Food was outright disgusting, and OMG, to even step foot outside in the humid Kentucky summer air was absolutely unbearable.
That same week, one of my roommates purchased a tiny and criminally adorable chihuahua puppy named Scout. Scout loved running, cuddling, and taking massive poops on my bedroom floor. She was not a fan of doing her business outside, you see, and so it took a team effort from all three roommates to try to show Scout the joy of peeing in an environment that did not contain throw pillows.
This is not Scout, but she looked very much like this, and AWWWW. OK, fine, go pee on my bedspread, you little snookums, you!
I had already quit my summer job by the time my cold had reached epic proportions, and this meant I was the only non-chihuahua home during the day while my other two roomies were at work. Therefore, all SCOUT DON’T POOP ON THE CARPET! training was up to me between the hours of 8 and 5. And oh, Scout was as stubborn as she was cute, my friends, and I had never owned — let alone house-trained — a dog before. So I spent a very torturous couple of afternoons standing in the blazing August sun, shuddering with fever chills, waiting for something — ANYTHING! — to come out of that dog’s ass. I remember the one afternoon that my fever finally broke after nearly an hour of standing out in the sun-bleached yard. Drenched in sweat, I scooped Scout up and came inside to cool off. The worst was finally over. And Scout — after 45 minutes spent in nature’s biggest toilet — ran into my room and peed in my closet.
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been sick for a really long time and unable to eat, once my appetite comes back, I have really strong cravings for really specific foods. It’s usually something like meat or peanut butter — a sign that I’m craving protein, I guess — but when I finally got my appetite back from The Cold of the Century, I wanted two very, very specific foodstuffs: GLAZED DONUTS AND LEMONADE.
I am not a big sugary-drink-alongside-sugary-treat person (Coke and pretzels? YES. Coke and cookies? BLERGH), but apparently this particular illness had robbed my body of all the necessary refined sugars it needs to survive. And I was more than happy to provide replenishment.
I can’t even remember my summer colds between then and now, and I’m sure that this one will fade away from my memory once the FUCKING MISERY of today is over, but my dread of the summer illness will stay. Having to go home and crawl under the covers while the rest of the world enjoys alcoholic beverages on porches and indulges in ice cream cones the size of housecats is just unnatural.
Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!.