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Tuesday, 12 April
The Revenge Effects Of Denver

So I went to Denver with dire plans to completely bag on the city like I've done before to others . . . but alas, I cannot. I just don't have the heart to do it. Mainly because I only left the hotel one fucking time during my entire stay there. There were a lot of reasons why: a vicious windstorm, for one; intense laziness, for another (room service? Or trudging around an unknown city at night?); and, oh yeah, a fairly packed-in work schedule.

All of which is incredibly boring to even think about, much less write about, so I'll just mention some high points. One was hearing someone use the neologism "dynamical," which caused me to instantly become dyspeptical and stop-listenic.

I've been sitting here about three or four minutes trying to think of another high point, but I've got nothing.

Oh, wait! One night (the one time I left the hotel), a couple co-workers wanted to go out, specifically to the Hard Rock Cafe (NOT MY CHOICE! NOT MY CHOICE!), so we did, but it was a laughable little hole, so we left and went somewhere else that was also terrible. Seriously, this is how exciting it was.

So after all that nothing, I came home, which has been great, except for the really electrifying stomach flu I immediately came down with.

Yes, yesterday morning, I was sleeping happily with the wife, when suddenly at 6:00 AM, I woke up--unusual enough--with an urgent thought: "Say! I'm going to vomit!" And so I ran to the bathroom and did just that, heaving enthusiastically, and thinking, "Wow, this was unexpected." Then I sat on the bathroom floor and sighed for a bit, winded by my exertions, and wondered what the hell that was. Then I was seized by another revelation that rang in my brain: "Wow! I need to get up off this floor and sit on this awful toilet! Right now!" Groaning, I hauled myself up onto the throne and gripped the seat while my ass provided nearly enough thrust to achieve escape velocity.

The whole thing was really unpleasant, even more so, maybe, than it is to read about. Anyway, as I sat there, gastrointestinal turbines screaming, I came to realize something else: "You know . . . I feel terrible! I do believe I'm having chills!" The attendant uncontrollable shaking lent the whole flight-simulator thing some real verisimilitude.

At length, my spasm seemed to subside, and I unsteadily rose to my feet. My mouth tasted, well, like vomit, and I figured fluid replacement was important now, so I took a few sips of water--not gulps, as I figured greedy slurping right now would not be tolerated. I returned to bed.

I lasted maybe ten minutes before dashing back into the bathroom to once again helplessly yell down into my toilet, disgorging the meager tablespoons of water as if it were the worst poison in the world. Then, just to mix things up again, my bowels starting groaning, and I assumed the other position once more, and sat morosely for a while. When I was able to get up again, I was lucky enough to be able to flush and walk two steps away. Then I turned back and spent some time vomiting up nothing; I had nothing, so I just gasped wordlessly at my hated commode, like an outraged fish.

After a while--three or four times--I stopped going back to bed, because there's no reason my wife shouldn't get some fucking sleep. I retired to the couch, and took a few more trips to the bathroom for more of the same, each time trying to take in a few drops of water in the vain hopes that I would keep it down. Or in. Or in the same building. It never worked. I decided I might as well experiment. (The elements of the experiment were obtained by my wife, who purchased them at the store for me after waking up wondering what the gutteral beastlike noises emanating from the bathroom were.)

So began OPERATION: HYDRATION, because I was getting a little worried about the old electrolytes, which are useful for things like thinking and living. I really didn't think anything would stay down better than good old H2O, but fuck it. Plus, puking up water was getting a little dreary, so I could also see if anything was remotely more pleasant to bring up.

Flat 7-UP: Not a success. It lasted only about fifteen minutes. On the other hand, flat 7-UP is pretty much the same flowing either way: sickly sweet. It also had the unfortunate side effect of intensifying the diarrhea. Quite fortunately, I couldn't taste that.

Club Soda: Also not really a success, but longer in the gut. I think it stayed there for about 35 minutes before rushing up. I had also put a bunch of ice into it, so it was very startling to experience really cold vomit zooming up my throat. It felt like an Alpine bullet train.

Gatorade: An unmitigated disaster, not only in terms of time tolerated (around eight minutes), but also in aesthetic terms: it is, under the best of circumstances (whatever those are), really alarming to vomit unearthly neon yellow-green liquid. I wondered if my bile ducts had simply disintegrated under the force of my abdominal attack.

Cranberry Juice: I was really worried about this one, because if yellow-green is an unsettling color to see in one's output, then red is just frightening. I really didn't want to give this stuff up. Plus, for Christ's sake, I was thirsty. It was getting pretty old. But it stayed down, mercifully, though there were a couple nervy moments where my guts rumbled ominously. Fortunately--and there are very few situations where that word is useful in this context--it was only some more by-now routine diarrhea. What a relief.

A final observation: I couldn't help but notice what a nonsmoking aid the stomach flu can be. Not only was I rid of nearly every urge to smoke, the one time I tried resulted in me dashing with shocking velocity to the bathroom to, yes, violently throw up. The shits 'n' pukes also gave me a literally visceral aversion to things like pizza commercials. I hope that one day modern science can use this knowledge to address our country's problem with smoking and processed foods, possibly by giving everyone the stomach flu, forever. Only then, maybe, will we be healthy.

Summary | Skot | 12 Apr, 2005 |

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


I feel for you Skot. About six months ago I was afflicted by a similar bout of gut bug. Being a studious sort, I used my spare time between toilet sprints to find out as much as possible about the ailment in question but only learned one interesting and useful fact. It turns out that Australians simply call it ‘gastro’.

In the end the only pleasure I got while lying in bed and nursing my formula one alimentary canal was saying:

‘Streuth, I’ve only gone and got m’self a dose of the ol’ gastro’ in an thick Australian accent.
It actually helped a bit. Maybe you should try it.

Comment number: 005687   Posted by: Lung the Younger on April 12, 2005 01:18 AM from IP:

Only you could make a detailed account of gastro (yes, I am Australian) compelling reading.

Comment number: 005688   Posted by: Kate on April 12, 2005 06:42 AM from IP:

yup. I had exactly the same thing last month in Washington DC. lasted for one and a half day (the puking and sickness) or one week (the diarrhea).

first time I had something like this. get well soon!

Comment number: 005689   Posted by: co-sick on April 12, 2005 07:22 AM from IP:

A very sage piece of advice was given to me once on this very subject. Given that sometimes the pukes-n-shits happen simultaneously, best option is to shit on the throne and puke in the tub. Assuming there is no tub nearby, hope for projectile.

Comment number: 005690   Posted by: KJ on April 12, 2005 08:10 AM from IP:

the world thanks you for your sacrifice to science.

Comment number: 005691   Posted by: beige on April 12, 2005 09:41 AM from IP:

Three things:
" an outraged fish" was absolutely the BEST.

This reminds me of the South Park episode where Kenny's mom is pregnant, and Kenny doesn't want a baby brother or sister, so he keeps trying to poison his mom or make her lose the baby, but every single time the Dad comes along and becomes the victim, and he's got "gastro". I think it was the NAMBLA episode.

My co-worker was just telling us this morning, her Dad would always make them (the kids) the same thing when they were sick when they were young. Milk toast - you know it? Wonder Bread - toasted - in a bowl with milk poured on it. But Dad's healthy bonus? A hard boiled egg sitting on top. Yup, just take a spoon to the whole thing. It made them vomit, and now she's not quite sure if that's what he was trying to do, or if it really was his idea of comfort food.

Hope you feel better!

Comment number: 005692   Posted by: dayment on April 12, 2005 10:25 AM from IP:

The Mrs. caught the same thing when we were in Seattle Christmas '03. She gave it to me, but it didn't hit until I was at a New Year's party. That was fun. Nothing like having your intestines fall out your ass in someone else's bathroom.

Comment number: 005693   Posted by: Joe on April 12, 2005 01:10 PM from IP:

You may be the only writer in existence who can make such an unpleasant sluice-opening experience worth reading.

Not to be on the Oneupman Ship (because really, who'd want to have a worse experience to describe?), I had the honorable task of comforting my girlfriend during a nasty bout of food poisoning, through which she seemed unable to hold in either floodgate *at the same time.*

There were times when I was so drunk that I cursed my luck at having an iron-lined stomach. That night, I took it all back.

Comment number: 005694   Posted by: steelbuddha on April 12, 2005 01:32 PM from IP:

wow, that'll be the first account of the stomach flu that I've felt compelled to share with friends.

my husband doesn't read blogs, but I grab the parts of yours I think he'll like (often huge chunks, or the entire post if baseball-related). I send them under the subject "more from the seattle misanthrope". that should make you feel better!

Comment number: 005695   Posted by: patita on April 13, 2005 10:38 AM from IP:

"...if yellow-green is an unsettling color to see in one's output, then red is just frightening."

Shudder. One night, a well-meaning boyfriend offered me a capsule of activated charcoal to settle my stomach before tucking me in. As disconcerting as it is to awaken suddenly in order to vomit, it is even more so when the gush of escaping matter is suffused with hellish blackness. For twenty seconds or so, I was equally convinced that I was a) dying and b) in a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

Comment number: 005696   Posted by: Elsa on April 13, 2005 03:43 PM from IP:

Try activated carbon for gastro. Heck, one million Odor-Eaters can't be wrong!

Comment number: 005697   Posted by: Lung the Younger on April 14, 2005 12:34 AM from IP:

My condolences on your ass pyrotechnics.

Comment number: 005698   Posted by: galetea on April 14, 2005 04:45 AM from IP:

Oh it's just hilarious following this flu bug around from one Seattle blog to another. Who will be the next victim? Heh heh heh.

Comment number: 005699   Posted by: girlhacker on April 14, 2005 10:43 PM from IP:

Beautiful. I lost it completely around "outraged fish". Just beautiful.

Comment number: 005700   Posted by: wulffeld on April 20, 2005 03:38 PM from IP:

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