I immediately berate that mental voice with an appropriately mental scoffing. Pah! That's absurd. I do not throw up! Why, it has been years since I've last thrown up! Besides, it would be far too ironic, as just this past Christmas break I was laughing proudly with my wife and mom about how long it has been since I've thrown up. Ridiculous!"
About thirty seconds later I threw up. Just a couple of mouth/nosefuls, but throwing up nonetheless. I told you so. Stupid little voice.
Miraculously, no one was in the bathroom at work as my body did what it needed to. I don't know why, but I really don't want strangers to see me throw up. Why? Who knows, but I bet it's the same for most people. For some reason or another, it's embarrassing to throw up in front of others.
Ahh, I thought. That feels much better. And I meant it. I figured if that's all I had in me, I was all set. I went back to my office, took a couple sips of water, and got back to work.
About forty-five minutes later, that familiar rumbling and skin-flushing came back with a vengeance, and I pretty much sprinted back to the bathroom. I proceeded to watch as my stomach pumped all of that morning's Captain Crunch, coffee, and about half a work-day's worth of water into the public toilet. It was terrible. I remembered what it was like to throw up, and it was never as bad as that.
To top things off, this time there was someone in the bathroom when I started. By the time I was done, he had left without saying anything. I could take this one of two ways. One: he didn't care one bit how I was doing. Two: he knows that it's embarrassing to vomit in front of other people. I choose to believe the latter, even though I know that it is less likely, because I think he's a pretty nice guy. I was very glad to have no one to confront when I was finished. I held out for about another hour, then went home a bit early.
On Wednesday morning, my wife found that she didn't know how to behave when I threw up at home. She assumed that I would not want her around during the act. Whenever I got sick growing up, one of my parents would always be there to offer comfort and support until I was feeling better. For some reason, this is still a comfort, provided that I know the person well. I didn't anticipate needing or wanting that from my wife, but now we both know that I appreciate her presence, even during such an embarrassing event such as this.
After learning that I still couldn't keep anything down, I called in sick and had my wife drive me to the doctor. It was extra interesting this time around, as I hadn't been to see a doctor (or any health care professional, in this case a nurse practitioner) since my wife began her training to be a nurse, nor since I made the decision to become a doctor. I paid more attention to everything, from the blood pressure reading to when she listened to my chest with a stethoscope, to taking my pulse. She did a great job and was very professional.
In the end, I was given an injection of Phenergan (generically: promethazine) in the "hip." FYI: when a health care professional says they are going to give you an injection in your "hip," they mean your butt. Also, they are most likely doing it there because the needle is extra big. At least, that's the way it felt with this injection. I have a high pain tolerance, but this puppy hurt. Way more than any other shot I've had. It felt like the needle expanded to open up a golfball-sized hole in my flesh after she'd stuck it in. Then the hole began to burn like an ice-cold inferno. Right now, more than 24 hours later, it STILL feels like a grown man just punched me as hard as he could in my right "hip." Very, very sore. Riding my bike to work today was not the most fun I've had all week...
And that is the story of the past few days. Lots of excitement, headaches, dehydration, and sleep. That's right - I slept twelve hours Tuesday night, four hours Wednesday afternoon, and twelve hours Wednesday night. Very nice.