Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The case of the thrice-warmed soup: a study in vomit

I woke up unexpectedly at 1:30 am with a vague sense that something was wrong. A persistent queasy feeling my stomach defied every change of position that I attempted in order to find comfort again. I lay there thinking: OK, at some point, I guess I should get up and go to the bathroom in case this becomes an incident.

I calmly levered up out of bed and placed one foot on the ground, immediately feeling the first wave of vomit race up my esophagous and out, into the bedroom-confined night. I briefly tried holding it in with my hands but it splashed out and past. A salmon heading upstream, inexorable force of nature.

I lunged past the futon, heading for the door when the second wave made itself felt. A second pool to match the first on the opposite side of the bed, like occasional tables. The third came in the hall way and the fourth in the entrance to the bathroom. Curse you, large house without an ensuite!

I slipped in the fouth puddle, as the vomit seeped into my woolen bedsocks, and cracked my knee on the tiles.

At last sanctuary beckoned and I heaved again and again into the toilet. Surely no more. Surely no more. Ok, that’s enough. OK… OK, what the hell is that stuff? Frothy like a milkshake, yellow like the sun…

Wifey was by now up and poking ineffectually at the vomit, retching herself. She’s 15 weeks pregnant and I knew she wouldn’t last a minute pushing back the tide in the hallway. Chivalry bloomed suddenly from the toilet bowl. Love, don’t worry [heave], I’ll [heave] clean it up [heave] you go sleep in the spare bedroom.

One of the few bad things about being relatively tall is that vomit, when delivered from such a height, will splash a deceptively long way. I imagine midgets produce nicely circumspect pools of vomit.

I spent the next hour and half cleaning the stuff off the walls and off the floor. It took ages to clean because, at such a late hour and addled by gross sickness, my brain just wouldn’t perform all the tasks asked of it. Lots of needless walking back and forth to get cleaning products one by one when I could have collected them all in one sweep of the arms.

So many walls to clean! So many floors! The brainpower required to get the quilt cover, the top sheet, my clothes, the bathmat and sundry other spattered garments into the washing machine was almost beyond me.

Wifey came through at just the right moment with clean pyjamas and socks and, after a couple more ceremonial heaves into the toilet bowl, well hello again bile-mileshake, I made my way back to bed.

Of course, the next day I discovered the patches I’d missed. The strange dried yellow rivers on the back of the door, the undiscovered pool by the bed.

Wifey opined that as I was really only sick once or twice, it was probably food poisoning rather than a touch of the hand of gastro.

She copped it sweet on behalf of her otherwise lovely pumpkin and sweet potato soup. The soup had been cooked on Friday and then allowed to cool in anticipation of the Dude’s birthday party on Sunday when it was again heated to serve to guests. The leftovers went into the fridge until on Monday I gave them their third ordeal by fire before consuming them whole.

I spent yesterday looking after the Dude and holding my wounded stomach. It was my goal never to leave the couch if possible, which is tricky when you’re looking after a two-year old. No amount of television was too much, no bribe could not be paid.

So with only about 30 or 40 trips off the couch in the space of three hours, I steadily became whole again, girding my loins for the inevitable vegemite toast…

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