I Heart Hydrocodone

I’m sure there are worse things than being alone in a nice hotel in the LA suburbs and getting a severe case of gastroenteritis. I think I still deserve some sympathy, though.

It started Thursday night, while my imagination was still filled with the promise of new dual-booting Apple computers. I’d thought it was food poisoning at first, but as we’ll discover later it was too severe and lasted too long for that. Incidentally, you know how basketball teams retire jerseys by raising them to the rafters? I’m building something similar with foods I can no longer eat because they’re the last thing I remember having before getting violently ill. Now, to the list of tequila (college stupidity), limes (same incident), avocados (stomach flu not long after moving to CA), and Northgate mall tofu curry (threw up on Barry Levinson), I can add hummus.

So I was violently ill in the hotel bathroom all Thursday night and much of Friday, stuff coming out of both ends of me in colors Pantone hasn’t even assigned numbers yet. I kept trying to get sleep in the meantime, and the beds in the hotel were really, really nice, so that’s at least one point in favor of being sick away from home. But I kept having these weird fever dreams and thinking I was in the bathroom when I was still in bed, and vice versa. The outcome of each is too gruesome to describe here. I think falling asleep on the bathroom floor believing I’d made it back to bed was a little bit better, because I could pretend I was Jimi Hendrix.

I left a $20 tip to the hotel cleaning staff. I don’t think it was enough.

I ended up missing hotel check-out time and then just sleeping through my flight time; I only woke up to either do something unspeakable in the bathroom, ask the housekeepers to go away, or answer the front desk’s phone call and confirm that I would be staying another night. Disney was able to reschedule my flight to Saturday afternoon, and I’d thought that 48 hours would’ve been enough time to get it out of my system and make it home safely.

Somehow I managed to return the car and take the plane and drive myself back home safely — still miserable, but at least the vomiting had stopped. Saturday night I finally had a bowl of soup, the first thing I’d eaten since Thursday, so I’d thought I was on the road to recovery.

No luck there. Even though I didn’t have to throw up any more, I sure did feel like it, and I kept having to go to the bathroom. And the stomach cramps had started — really sharp pains that had me convinced something had burst. I still had my old prescription of hydrocodone (Vicodin) from my last stomach-related incident — children reading this blog should be aware that I don’t condone taking unprescribed medicine that’s 1 year past its expiration date without seeing a physician — and while it definitely helped me sleep, it wasn’t quite enough to stop the cramping.

My parents were in a panic, and my mom had Safeway deliver a ton of groceries here. Finally on Monday afternoon, after falling asleep/passing out on the couch for three hours, I called Mac and asked him to give me a ride to the hospital. He gets 10000 karma points for taking early of work and driving me down there and sticking with me the whole time. They gave me an IV, which was kind of cool as I’d never had one before, some antibiotics and something to stop the stomach cramps, and even better, basically gave me permission to keep using the pain pills (even though they didn’t prescribe more, dammit).

So I had one last precious dose of that last night — they’re habit-forming, and although they’re awesome and I’m a huge fan of narcotics in principle, they didn’t really help with the stomach cramps, since those woke me up again at 6 this morning. And for the first time in a few days, I had real dreams instead of those weird fever dreams — in one I was on the Battlestar Galactica and had to fly a Viper back to San Francisco to catch the Olympics. That was cool.

Today’s been the first day of recovery. I’ve had an on-again off-again headache which I’m assuming is caused by the lack of caffeine, but that’s something I had planned to cut out anyway. I’m actually craving food again, although I can’t eat much other than bread and soup. I’m reluctant to say that the stomach pains have stopped, since every time I say that they come back, but it has been over 12 hours since the last one. I can actually see myself getting a good night’s sleep tonight.