I Exorcised The Peruvian Demon Inside Of Me

For the past 9+ days I’ve had a demon inside of me. That’s how it has felt for the last week. Hi, my name is Michael, and I am not any good at being sick. Not even a little.

See I usually avoid getting sick. Because I’m a considered “a very vulnerable adult” – that’s what doctors say anyway. Of course my response would be, “Say that to my face and I’ll show you who’s vulnerable…” But I never actually say this because when they say it, I’m sick. And when I’m sick – I’m out. Done. That’s all folks.

When my husband gets sick I take care of him. But I treat any sniffles or “It’s just allergies” as Ebola. No, I’m serious. EBOLA. Picture a hazmat suit, and I have created my own lighter version. I don’t let my hands touch anything in case there are germs there. Sanitation wipes are abundant. I won’t get in the car with him, but to my credit I still sleep in the same bed as him. (But I won’t touch him or let him touch me.) I won’t let him help out around the house, not out of being nice but out of “Don’t contaminate anything! STOP! FREEZE! Go to bed!” (He is an awful patient, he is actually worse than me, and I’m pretty bad!)

My immune system has been extra “special” since my year of chemo. I used to never get sick. It was what I considered to be balance in the universe since I have had dozens of brain surgeries, broken bones and a few heart surgeries. It was like, “You have all of this chronic crap that sends you to the hospital so much it’s like your vacation home. So as a fair trade, you won’t get sick. No colds or strep or a flu for you. I’ve got you covered.”

Of course the whole reason I had to go on chemo was because my immune system got cocky and then staged a mutiny and here I find myself. (Hey when my own immune system tries to cause my kidneys and lungs to fail by attacking the organ lining and causing me to bleed from the inside out – I call that a mutiny. Hell, it was probably a full-fledged revolution.) So anyway, my husband caught a nasty bug from someone he saw for less than twenty minutes and didn’t know he was sick, until he infected me too. The bastard…

So he got sick and I was playing nurse and not letting him touch anything in the house. If someone was nearby while our windows were open they probably heard, “EBOLA!” several times. Because my husband can be just as stubborn as I can be (don’t deny it Roy, it’s totally true) and he’ll try to do the dishes or pick up and I’m just like, “Nope. Nope. Nope.” He got sick on Thursday and by Friday night I felt iffy while by Saturday there was no doubt in anyone’s mind. I was infected too.

This was more than a week ago and I’m still dealing with the lingering demon, but now I can say that I have nearly vanquished it. Why do I call it a demon? Because this bug was nasty. Roy had a marketing consultant come into a work-related orientation and give a presentation – for twenty minutes. And then he was gone. And in those twenty minutes he managed to infect four out of twelve people. That’s right – twenty minutes and one third of those in attendance got sick! Even the trainers and bosses called in (but not Roy, no he likes to go to work and pass his germs on, which I am against in principle but in instances when I have managed to avoid it, I admit I breathe a slight sigh of relief from whatever mask I have over my mouth).

This bug was so bad I was actually able to sleep an average of sixteen hours a day for several days. Why is that a big deal? Yeah, my body doesn’t even let me do that after heart or brain surgery. Nope, the most it will give me is ten hours. Yes, I know I need more sleep and my body wants more sleep but it won’t actually let me sleep. My body is a bitch or hates me or (in my humble opinion) – BOTH. So I felt that this bug should be upgraded from illness/scourge/bug/virus to DEMON. And the guy who got everyone sick had just returned from Peru after a few weeks there, so it was a Peruvian demon. As I said on day three, which was by far my WORST sick day fighting this thing, “at least I’ll die from something exotic.”

You might think I am being a drama queen. I mean the demon in question was “just a cold” but I can’t take anything when I get sick. Between my heart and my kidneys I am seriously not allowed to take a damn thing. No Sudafed or Nyquil, nothing to give me sinus relief. I can’t even take Aspirin or any other anti-inflammatory. How about a cough drop? Nope! That’s right, I’m not even allowed a single cough drop. So when I get sick I get to feel EVERYTHING, undiluted. It’s super fun! And on top of that my body usually doesn’t let me sleep it off because I must have done something horrific in a past life.

My husband makes fun of how I act in trying to avoid getting sick and then once I am sick he’s like, “Take a nap,” as if it were so easy. (It is for him and I know love does not envy, but I am seriously jealous of his ability to sleep wherever, whenever.) And then when he’s better he’ll make jokes about how “I’m not good at being sick” and I think, “Please, I am the BEST at being sick. Stop taking your meds and see how well you handle it!”

I know it could have been worse. The last few times I’ve been sick I’ve actually ended up in the emergency room, twice it resulted in brain surgery because my “illness” aggravated a preexisting condition, so again I must stress – it could have been worse. (And also I think this validates my EBOLA stance.)

So the first two days were awful but I slept more than usual. Day THREE was hell. Like I am pretty sure that is exactly what hell is like if it exists. The fourth day I actually slept all day. As in I slept from the night before until the following night, only getting up to take Tylenol and pee. I knew this was a special kind of demon for that to happen as it has NEVER happened before. (But please can it happen every time I get sick in the future? I like sleep, I do.) Days five and six were not great but each day was a step in the right direction. Same with days seven and eight. But after day eight, I have remained in this “almost better, but not quite” stage. And I’m ready to be better – completely, without strings or fine print.

My husband is better; it just seems to be staying with me a little longer. (And for the record, even when I was sick I still took care of the animals and house so he could take advantage of his sleeping ability and made sure he had fluids, protein etc). So for all my “drama queen, boy this bitch is bad at being sick” I still took care of him. Yes, I want credit for that at least in karmic points or whatever score we should be keeping as married folks but don’t. 😛

So now that this demon has been banished from my body it’s time to catch up on all the things I love: Coffee, chocolate, writing, getting sh*t done.

“I wouldn’t even mind feeling this way if I could at least still be productive.” – Me on day five.

So I guess it’s time for that! 🙂



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