Rarely does a sick dog go lie under the neighbor’s porch.
There’s a reason for that.
Being sick away from home is about as attractive as stripping buck-naked, dousing one’s self in cold turpentine, and crawling through red-hot broken glass.
We spent the first half of vacation with Cruel Wife’s family – her parents, Sister1 and her family, and Sister2 and her family. For a total of… let’s see… 8 adults and ten children. That was a story in and of itself. Eight days’ worth of story.
But then a week ago today, we drove to see my family down in Orygun.
And got sick.
Driving from Seattle to Orygun, I had a bitch-kitty of a headache. We stopped at Troglodyteville, Washington† for a pit stop. Troglodyteville is sort of the armpit of the groin of Washington and the service road that we found ourselves on was basically the poop-chute of the armpit of the groin of Washington. Now, if you’ve followed the tale of my life for the last two years you know that headaches related to my neck injury are nothing new, so I thought little of it. What I did not know was that I had a viral passenger.
We arrived in Hometownville, Orygun four hours later and I started hanging out with my family, who were engaging in reunionizing in earnest anticipation of a pit roasting of many pounds of pig.
My father asked if I wanted to help out with the BBQ preparations. I begged off, figuring that he and my brother could do it. Last year they did it with my supervision – then I had said “Gee you’ve got it too hot, it will burn up” and it turned out wonderful to my great amazement.
Sunday morning rolled around – I got up feeling pretty cruddy. I go to the kitchen were my sister says “How does well-done pork sound?”
I look at her warily and say “Mmmmph… huh?”
She says to go look at the pork.
Well, my dad and brother did the same thing they did last year – got it too hot except this year they did not fully seal the pit with dirt to choke off all oxygen.
This year, the environment inside the pit was the surface of the sun. This year, the pork was in a pit that must have climbed upwards of 700 degrees for most of the night. In fact, the pit got so hot that the sheet metal was blackened, the grass all around the pit was blackened, and smoke was billowing out of the pit. This year, we had big chunks of charcoal where the pig once lay in the pit.
I could not stop laughing. Yes, it was horrible of me. I rubbed it in. I laughed, I cried, I hooted, and I chortled.
And then I got horribly horribly ill. Little did I know that my viral passenger held an open-house and opened the doors for an infection. For four days I ran a fever of 102-103F. I was wracked with coughs, chills, shakes, sweats. By the time I finally got ahold of a doctor I had coughed so much that it felt like daggers in my chest and my ribs screamed with the strain. I was hacking up flecks of blood. Everything was coming up browns, yellows, and greens.
The doc prescribed amoxicillin, 2/day, 875mg each. I crept around like warmed-over death, with my guts torn out by the antibiotic, coughing, not sleeping, not eating. Even as of today I’ve had perhaps five light meals in the last six days. Great way to lose 15 pounds.
My grandfather used to say that he knew he was sick when Graveyard Stew sounded good. Graveyard Stew is essentially lightly toasted toast floating in warm milk (milktoast) and only is supposed to sound good when you’re in the graveyard with one foot actually in the grave. Well, I was feeling so rotten even Milquetoast didn’t sound appealing. I spent the lion’s share of the week wishing I could be here at home where I could at least feel like I was dying in my own bed.
Yesterday as we drove north to Seattle we got as far as Albany, Orygun when I said “Cruel Wife, we need to go to the hospital.” I had the shakes, my fingers were tingling/numb, and I couldn’t breathe without a huge effort and even then only half in and half out. So in the ER they determined that I did not have pneumonia (whew) but did have bad bad bronchitis (ok) and needed a nebulizer treatment to get my lungs to relax. Did the trick. I was able to draw a complete breath in and out and actually move some crap out of my lungs.
Our flight today was a tough ordeal. Can’t move fast without getting winded and I have no energy to speak of. The good news is that this is the best I’ve felt since a week ago and I think I’m going to live. Living actually sounds like a reward, not a punishment.
Cruel Wife got the cough/sick thing but no fever. My boy (Hellboy) had the fever and cough, too.
Why was he on antibiotics if we only figured out later what was wrong with him? Good question.
Because in the FIRST week of our vacation, he nearly succeeded in getting crushed by a 300lb fountain which collapsed on him and gashed his little forehead open to the bone, for a total of 16 stitches. From hairline to eyebrow went the laceration, from head to toe went the blood, and from the rental place to the hospital went the ambulance.
But that’s another story. We thought the fever was an infection from his head wound.
We’re back, and we’re happy to be back.
I miss my Zoe-pup. We pick her up tomorrow from the sitters. She’ll probably pee her little dog britches and I’ll probably pee my big Lemur King shorts when we see each other.
† Troglodyteville is not the town’s real name. A false name has been used to protect myself from the knuckle-dragging troglodytes that live there on the off chance that one of them knows how to read and comes across this blog.